Landlords warned not to ignore gas safety

Gas safety watchdogs and insurers are urging landlords to comply with the law after property investor Nahida Hashim was ordered to pay nearly £1,500 in fines and costs after ignoring warnings about gas safety at a home she privately rented to tenants.

Hashim, 28, ignored repeated requests from the local council and Health & Safety Executive (HSE) about providing gas safety certificates for the property.

At Chester Magistrates Court, she admitted breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by failing to arrange an annual gas safety check and disregarding the HSE’s Improvement Notice.

Magistrates heard Hashim was contacted in May, twice in July and September 2011, with requests to see her gas safety certificates. She did not respond to any of the letters or calls.

She was fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

The court was told she could not produce a safety certificate for October 2009 until October 2011.

HSE inspector Martin Paren said that unsafe gas appliances led to dozens of deaths in the UK every year through carbon monoxide poisoning, and this is why safetychecks are mandatory for landlords.

“This case should act as a warning to landlords that if they ignore the law then they may find themselves in court,” he said.

Gas safety laws require landlords to check all gas appliances and flues within a year of installation and at least once every year after that.

Insurer Aviva echoed the HSE message and warned landlords that failing to comply with the law could invalidate their property insurance.

Gas Safe registered engineers must carry out any work on gas appliances or the supply – to find a qualified engineer in your area, go to the Gas Safe web site.