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Dangerous neglect by landlord leads to court

Date:
25 March 2013

A private landlord has been fined for a series of safety breaches that left a Sheffield family at serious risk from a dangerous boiler fitted by an unregistered gas fitter.

Sima Yaqub, of Crescent Road, Sheffield, appeared before the city’s Magistrates (25 March) charged with five breaches of the gas safety regulations following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE told the court that Ms Yaqub, who owned a property in City Road, had demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of the family who rented the house.

HSE’s investigation found that Ms Yaqub:

  • never provided her tenant with a landlord’s gas safety record
  • used an unregistered gas fitter to install a boiler, leaving it in a dangerous condition
  • ignored a warning notice from the National Grid after they capped the gas supply to the appliance
  • sent the same unregistered fitter back to reconnect the boiler without fixing the faults
  • allowed the family to use the boiler for several weeks after it was illegally reconnected until it was capped off for a second time and again classed as dangerous
  • ignored repeated warnings from HSE to check the safety of the boiler
  • failed to provide information to HSE to identify the unregistered fitter despite numerous requests

Magistrates heard that Ms Yaqub did not have a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record for the boiler when the tenant moved into the City Road house in July 2011. After the boiler broke down several times, she had replaced it with a used one just before Christmas that year using an unregistered fitter.

In early January a National Grid engineer visited the house and classed the boiler as immediately dangerous and advised the tenant it needed to be repaired by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The tenant phoned the landlord to inform her while the engineer was still there.

Ms Yaqub, however, failed to rectify the dangerous faults and didn’t respond to contact and letters from HSE. A Gas Safe Registered Investigator examined the boiler following a request from HSE in March and found that it had been reconnected to the gas supply but it was still in an immediately dangerous condition. He again capped the supply to the boiler.

Sima Yaqub was fined a total of £17,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,916 in costs after pleading guilty to five offences under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 committed between 15 July 2011 and 15 March 2012.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Denise Fotheringham said:

"Sima Yaqub has shown a wilful and consistent disregard for the welfare and safety of the tenant and her family and has neglected her duty of care as a landlord over many months.

"She did not provide a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record from the outset of her tenancy to show that appliances had had an annual safety check. She used an unregistered fitter to install a boiler and later, in the full knowledge it had been left in a dangerous condition, then went on to use him again to reconnect it, leaving it still a danger to her tenants.

"Landlords have clear duties to ensure that gas appliances in properties are maintained in a safe condition and to use Gas Safe registered engineers.

"She failed in all respects and exposed a family to a dangerous appliance that could have resulted in serious injury or death. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute landlord who fall so seriously short of acceptable standards."

For information on gas safety visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas or www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 34(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 states: The responsible person for any premises shall not use a gas appliance or permit a gas appliance to be used if at any time he knows or has reason to suspect that it cannot be used without constituting a danger to any person.
  3. Regulation 36(2)(a) states: Every landlord shall ensure that there is maintained in a safe condition any relevant gas fitting so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person in lawful occupation or relevant premises.
  4. Regulation36(3)(a) states: A landlord shall ensure that each appliance and flue to which that duty extends is checked for safety within 12 months of being installed and at intervals of not more than 12 months since it was last checked for safety (whether such check was made pursuant to these Regulations or not)
  5. Regulation 36(4) states: Every landlord shall ensure that any work in relation to a relevant gas fitting or any check of a gas appliance or flue is carried out by, or by an employee of, a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of regulation 3(3) of these Regulations.
  6. Regulation 36(6)(b) states: Every landlord shall ensure that a copy of the last record made in respect of each appliance or flue is given to any new tenant of premises to which the record relates before that tenant occupies those premises save that, in respect of a tenant whose right to occupy those premises is for a period not exceeding 28 days, a copy of the record may instead be prominently displayed within those premises.

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