The successful prosecution of two landlords for failing to arrange mandatory annual safety checks on gas appliances in their rented property is a reminder that landlords that flout the law will not go unpunished. Two landlords, Husband and wife Mehboob and Suraiya Bobat of Bolton, Lancashire, have been fined and each sentenced to 80 hours of community service after a four-month-old baby and both his parents were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Over a period of time the young family had experienced some of the classic symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning including severe headaches, fainting, dizziness and difficulty breathing. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found four unsafe appliances in the Bolton property they rented from Mr & Mrs Bobat.
Roderick Pettigrew, Chief Executive of B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association (who operate the Heating Helpline) comments, “The Courts have just served a timely reminder that landlords that flout the law by failing to ensure the safe condition of tenants’ gas appliances will not escape punishment. This could easily have ended in a terribly tragedy and thankfully it didn’t. Poorly maintained or defective gas appliances can leak potentially lethal quantities of carbon monoxide (CO) and around 40 people still die every year from CO poisoning, with thousands more made ill. Gas appliances in all rented accommodation should be serviced annually in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions by a Gas Safe Registered installer in addition to having annual gas safety checks carried out on them – that is the law. Tenants can ask the landlord or letting agent to see a copy of the gas safety certificate issued following the annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer and they should not hesitate to contact the Health & Safety Executive (T: 0300 003 1747) if the landlord cannot provide this.”
Heating Helpline has produced a guide called ‘Gas safety in a rented property – information for landlords & tenants’ – download a copy from the home page or call the Helpline and a printed version will be posted to you.