A landlord from north London has been given a suspended prison sentence, ordered to carry out 150 hours of community work and fined £5000 with additional costs of £9814 for endangering a family with young children after he authorised illegal gas work at a Luton home.
This landlord installed a new boiler at an address in Luton but did not use gas fitters registered with Gas Safe Register – as the law requires. When the tenants suspected that gas was leaking they wisely called the National Grid and visiting technicians immediately turned off the gas supply finding the installation to be dangerous.
Roderick Pettigrew, Chief Executive of B&ES, who operate the Heating Helpline, comments, “As this case demonstrates, the Courts can impose heavy fines and prison sentences on landlords that fail to ensure the safe condition of tenants’ gas appliances, but apart from the financial consequences of breaching gas safety legislation, landlords are putting tenants’ lives at risk – poorly maintained or defective gas appliances can leak potentially lethal quantities of carbon monoxide (CO) and around 40 people still needlessly die every year from CO poisoning and hundreds more are made seriously ill. Of course there is temptation for landlords to use the ‘lowest quote’ from tradesmen and in most cases the outcome might be little worse than an unsatisfactory job but when it comes to any work that related to gas safety in a rental property, going for the cheapest quote from bogus gas installers can have potentially fatal consequences.”
B&ES say that if you are living in rented accommodation your landlord must issue you with a copy of the gas safety certificate following the annual safety check by a Gas Safe Registered engineer and you should not hesitate to contact the Health & Safety Executive (0845 300 9923) if the landlord does not provide this. The gas safety certificate must also be provided to tenants when moving in to a new property. Gas safety checks often pick up a range of problems, including faulty boilers, and are vital in stopping gas leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Heating Helpline has a free leaflet on gas safety for landlords and tenant – you download a copy from this website (see home page) or get a printed copy sent to you calling 0800 810 8303.