Landlord may face jail after failing to conduct gas safety checks

Published:  04 March, 2013

A private landlord in Hull is facing the threat of jail after ignoring repeated warnings about gas safety and exposing tenants to a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hull Magistrates recently heard that Colin Hanson (55) of Goddard Avenue had “blatantly and deliberately disregarded” a law designed to protect tenants from the potentially fatal consequences of defective gas work.

The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after Hanson failed to respond to several requests to provide a landlord's gas safety certificate for a house he rented out in Alliance Avenue. He then ignored an enforcement notice served by HSE giving him three weeks to have the gas check done. When an Inspector phoned him before the Improvement Notice expired in June 2011, he refused to have the work carried out.

A subsequent visit to the tenant's home by a Gas Safe Register engineer found an immediately dangerous defect on the gas fire in the lounge. HSE discovered the tenant had not been given a landlord's gas safety record in more than two years, nor had any work or servicing been carried out by a registered engineer.

Hanson pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 between 23 August 2011 and 23 August 2012 and a charge of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice. He was handed a 16-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to undertake 260 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £500 towards the prosecution costs. He also received a court order giving him 28 days to carry out a gas safety check for the Alliance Avenue property.

Speaking after the court case, HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said: "There is no doubt that Mr Hanson, despite being given several opportunities over many weeks to fulfil his legal duties toward the tenant, intentionally chose to ignore them all.

"All landlords are legally required to ensure that gas appliances installed in their rented properties are properly maintained and have a gas safety check carried out by a registered engineer every 12 months. A copy of the gas certificate should then go to the tenant.

"Lack of such a check can mean dangerous defects are not identified, defects that can lead to carbon monoxide exposure or even explosions. Mr Hanson's reckless attitude toward people's safety in a property rented by him persisted despite several warnings and HSE will not hesitate to bring such offences before a court."

All gas engineers have to be Gas Safe registered by law. You can check an engineer is registered by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or calling 0800 408 5500.