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Gas safety neglect lands property company in court

Date:
11 December 2014

A property firm in Richmond has been prosecuted after it put lives at risk by repeatedly failing to make sure the gas boilers in the homes it rented were safe and free of dangerous defects.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated Barclay Ltd, of south west London, after a complaint from a registered gas engineer who discovered that a gas boiler in a rental in Hampstead had not been properly maintained.

HSE found that Barclay Ltd, the landlord, had failed to have the boiler checked for safety – as is legally required every year – between 2004 and 2013.

Westminster Magistrates heard yesterday (10 Dec) that an improvement notice was served by HSE on the firm requiring it to complete the statutory landlord safety checks, but the work was not done until two weeks after the notice had expired.

During the investigation, HSE also identified another Barclay property in Hampstead where there had also been no safety inspection of the gas boiler carried out within 12 months.

Barclay Ltd of Kings Road, near Richmond Park, was fined a total of £6,500 and ordered to pay £1,822 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a charge of non-compliance with an enforcement notice. Company director Mr Jonathan Silver appeared in court to enter the guilty pleas.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Anne Gloor said:

“We found that Barclay Limited owned more than 10 properties in Richmond, Hampstead and Willesden, which involved around 50 tenants. The firm failed to maintain and check the gas appliances in all these properties.

“As a result, it put the lives of the residents, their neighbours, and their own properties in danger and chose to ignore the warnings and enforcement action from HSE.

“Landlords have a statutory duty to carry out annual safety inspections on the gas appliances in their properties to ensure they remain safe to use. A tenant should be provided with a copy of the landlord’s gas safety record to show that this has been done.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, commented: “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.”

See http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/index.htm for further information.

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.”

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