EVICTION orders and legal notices could be served to Bromsgrove householders refusing to let workmen access their homes due to social distancing concerns.

Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) issued the warning as it revealed it had been forced to take legal action to gain access to some homes and, 'in extreme cases', had to threaten 'serial offenders' with eviction.

Barry Stevens, director of asset management and development at bdht, said workmen need to access properties to carry out 'vital' safety checks and stressed that they would follow strict social distancing measures to the letter to ensure residents' safety.

He added: “It should be a straightforward process and legal action really is a last resort for us, as it can be distressing and often costly for customers.

"Our experienced team is happy to work with each customer individually to find the best time to pop in and make the checks we need to.

"We’re not looking at how tidy the house is or what colour they’ve painted the kitchen.

"We simply want to keep all of our tenants safe by completing the required checks as swiftly as possible. That’s why we’re urging everyone to work with us."

The social housing provider says it has carried out almost 900 boiler and gas safety checks since April 1, just over a week after the government put the coronavirus lockdown in place.

But Mr Stevens added bdht was still struggling to get some customers to allow them into their homes to carry out the legally-required checks

"This is concerning," he added. "These health and safety checks are a legal requirement not only for bdht, but for our customers too, as they form part of their signed tenancy agreement.

"With some customers not allowing us to make those checks, they are not only putting themselves, their family and their neighbours at risk, but they are also breaching their tenancy agreement.

“We would like to reassure our customers that we have carefully considered safety and have social distancing measures in place to allow us to carefully carry out these vital health and safety checks, whilst continuing to closely monitor the updated government guidance.”

The trust owns more than 4,000 properties and is responsible for managing approximately ten per cent of the properties in the Bromsgrove district.