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Slough tenants left in gas danger for four years

Date:
22 August 2014

A Slough landlord has been fined for serious safety breaches after he left a young family in potential danger for nearly four years by repeatedly failing to check the gas appliances in a property he rented to them.

Mohammed Nawaz, 25, was prosecuted for two offences of breaching gas safety regulations and a further offence of failing to comply with an enforcement notice after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE told Slough Magistrates’ Court (21 Aug) that its investigation revealed that the gas appliances had not been maintained and checked so the family could be provided with a Landlord’s Gas Safety record for the property.

The court heard that as a landlord, Mr Nawaz had a legal duty to ensure the gas appliances in any properties he rented were checked every 12 months by a competent gas engineer. However, between June 2010 and February 2014, no such checks were carried out and no record was ever provided to the tenants at any point in four years’ tenancy.

When a Gas Safe Register engineer visited the property, a boiler was classed as ‘At Risk’ because of an inadequate seal around the flue and incorrectly-sized gas supply pipes to the boiler.

Despite warnings and an enforcement notice from HSE, plus an abatement notice from the local council requiring him to comply with the law, Mr Nawaz failed to respond, continuing to expose the family to potential health risks.

Mohammed Nawaz, of Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, was fined a total of £9,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,941after admitting two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and a further charge of non-compliance with a HSE Improvement Notice.

After the case, HSE Inspector Karen Morris said:

“Mohammed Nawaz failed to take seriously his duties and responsibilities as a landlord and the result was to put a family – including two children – at risk of significant harm.

“There is no excuse for landlords failing to ensure that gas appliances in rented properties are properly maintained and subject to annual safety checks. These are simple and inexpensive measures, but they are vital for the safety of the people living in the premises.

“HSE takes gas safety issues very seriously and we will take enforcement action when necessary.”

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.”

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 36(2) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “Every landlord shall ensure that there is maintained in a safe condition (a)any relevant gas fitting; and (b)any flue which serves any relevant gas fitting, so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person in lawful occupation or relevant premises.”
  4. 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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