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Blackburn landlord in court over gas safety

Date:
16 May 2014

A Blackburn landlord has been fined after she ignored repeated warnings about arranging an annual gas safety check at a property with five gas appliances.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council made numerous attempts to contact Samera Hussain between October 2012 and April 2013, but she failed to provide proof of a gas safety record for a property on Cumberland Street.

Blackburn Magistrates’ Court heard today (16 May 2014) that a tenant had lived in the house for nearly two years but a gas engineer only visited the property to carry out a safety check just before she moved out in June 2013.

The court was told that there were four gas fires and one gas boiler in the house which, under UK law, should have been checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Blackburn Council first wrote to Mrs Hussain in October 2012 requesting proof of a gas safety check. This was followed up by four letters from the council and HSE, and a visit to the property where one of Mrs Hussain’s relatives lived as a further attempt to contact her.

HSE also issued an Improvement Notice on 30 April 2013 giving Mrs Hussain 26 days to arrange a gas safety check but she failed to meet the deadline for this.

Samera Hussain pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to arrange an annual gas safety check and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice.

Mrs Hussain, of Shakeshaft Street in Blackburn, was fined £260 and ordered to pay £207 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Richard Clarke said:

“Mrs Hussain potentially put her tenant’s life at risk by failing to arrange a gas safety check for nearly two years.

“We gave her several chances to organise an inspection, but she ignored all of these. As a result, we had no choice but to take legal action against her.

“Dozens of people are killed or badly harmed every year from carbon monoxide poisoning so it is vital that landlords take the risks seriously. We will continue to prosecute landlords who think the law doesn’t apply to them.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, commented:

“When it comes to rented property, it is important that landlords know their duties and tenants know their rights. A landlord must be able to provide a gas safety record for the property, showing that the gas appliances have been safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer in the last 12 months.

“Tenants can also sign up to a free reminder service at staygassafe.co.uk to make sure their landlord or managing agent is carrying out their duties of getting an annual gas safety check.”

Homeowners can check a gas engineer is Gas Safe registered by asking for their Gas Safe ID card, calling 0800 408 5500 or visiting 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 36(3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 said: “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.”
  3. Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It is an offence for a person to contravene any requirement or prohibition imposed by an improvement notice or a prohibition notice.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk.

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