23 March, 2010
In March 2010, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that it had prosecuted a landlord from Dewsbury who was found to have been breaching the laws relating to gas safety in residential properties.
Mr Mahmud Bulbulia of Dewsbury (who owned and rented out a property in the town) was ordered to carry out 250 hours of community service and pay costs of £250 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974.
The HSE began the prosecution after the landlord did not ensure that the cooker and boiler at the property were regularly checked and certified by an accredited Gas Safe engineer. The court heard that in August 2008, Mr Bulbulia had been served with an Improvement Notice which required him to carry out such work. By August 2009, he had still not had the checks carried out.
All providers of housing are under a legal duty to arrange maintenance of all gas pipe work, appliances and flues which are used by tenants by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords also must arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. When such a check is carried out, a record of the inspection must be held for two years and a copy must be provided to each tenant within 28 days of the check being completed. A copy must also be issued before a new tenant moves into a property.
From April 2009, the Capita Gas Safe Register is the only gas installer registration scheme approved by HSE under the 1998 Regulations and replaced the previous CORGI registration. All installers (including those used by landlords) wanting to undertake domestic gas work will need to be registered with the Gas Safe scheme in order to be able to lawfully carry out any work on both gas fittings and appliances in a property.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste which makes identifying its presence very difficult. It can kill people without warning. In order to avoid this happening, it is advised that all residential gas appliances are properly maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out. It may also be beneficial to install carbon monoxide detectors in the property as a precautionary measure.
Cases such as these serve as a warning to all providers of housing, including private landlords, to ensure that they comply with all their obligations under the law. A failure to do so could lead to criminal prosecutions.
The HSE has stated that every year around 20-30 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with domestic gas appliances incorrectly installed or maintained. The importance of also using registered gas engineers cannot be underestimated because of this.