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Sheffield landlords put tenant’s life at risk

August 17, 2012
Housing

Two Sheffield landlords have been handed suspended jail sentences after dangerous defects were found on every gas appliance at a house they rented out to a young woman.

During the prosecution of landlords Waheed Ahmid and Farhat Basharat, his wife, Sheffield Magistrates heard the defects were discovered after a council housing officer visiting the property in Gleadless Road noticed a gas fire’s flame burning yellow.

A Gas Safe Register Investigator was called in and found a range of serious faults with appliances and fittings throughout the property. He decommissioned the boiler, cooker and gas fires in the lounge and dining room after classifying them ‘immediately dangerous’. He also found evidence of carbon monoxide fumes.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought today’s (6 August) prosecution, found the appliances and flues had not been checked annually by a registered gas engineer, they had not been maintained in a safe condition as required by law, and the tenant had never been given a copy of the gas safety record.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Denise Fotheringham described the condition of the gas appliances as “shocking” and said the landlords had put their tenant at risk of serious injury or even death. She said:

“It is totally unacceptable to have a property where a tenant’s life is threatened because the gas appliances haven’t been properly installed or looked after.

“Although there was no injury the appliances were in a shocking condition. Some were spilling carbon monoxide into the rooms where they were sited. It is pure luck no one was made ill or even died.

“This was not an isolated incident by Waheed Ahmid and Farhat Basharat. None of the appliances had been checked for safety since the tenancy began in September 2009. All landlords should be aware of the duty to maintain and check the safety of gas appliances supplied with the properties they rent.

“This case was a good example of how HSE worked together with Sheffield Council’s private rented section and Gas Safe Register Investigators to ensure that landlords who do not fulfil their duties are brought before the courts and punished.”

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, commented:

“Some landlords may think that that failing to do an annual check on gas appliances, or having a landlord’s gas safety record isn’t that important, or may save them some money. What they fail to realise is that these checks are legal requirements and are in place to save lives. If you are a landlord, make sure you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to gas and always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

Waheed Ahmid, of Albert Road, Sheffield S8, and Farhat Basharat of Violet Bank Road, Sheffield, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three charges under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations carried out between 3 December 2009 and 2 December 2010.

Both were handed three month jail sentences, suspended for 12 months. Ahmid was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of community service and pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs. Basharat was ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service and pay £5,000 in costs.

HSE has a one-stop-shop website to give landlords all the information they need to meet their legal duties on domestic gas. Go to www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords for more information.