Dangerous neglect by landlord leads to court

Published:  26 March, 2013

A private landlord has been fined for a series of safety breaches that left a Sheffield family at serious risk from a dangerous boiler.

Sima Yaqub of Crescent Road, Sheffield appeared before the city's Magistrates (25 March) charged with five breaches of the Gas Safety Regulations following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE told the court that Yaqub had demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of the family who rented the house.

Its investigation found that Yaqub:

Magistrates heard that Yaqub did not have a Landlord's Gas Safety Record for the boiler when the tenant moved into the City Road house in July 2011. After the boiler broke down several times, she replaced it with a used boiler just before Christmas that year using an unregistered fitter.

In early January, a National Grid engineer visited the house and classed the boiler as immediately dangerous and advised the tenant it needed to be repaired by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The tenant phoned the landlord to inform her while the engineer was still there.

Yaqub, however, failed to rectify the dangerous faults and didn't respond to contact and letters from HSE. A Gas Safe registered investigator examined the boiler following a request from HSE in March and found that it had been reconnected to the gas supply but it was still in an immediately dangerous condition. He again capped the supply to the boiler.

Yaqub was fined a total of £17,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,916 after pleading guilty to five offences under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 committed between 15 July 2011 and 15 March 2012.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: "Sima Yaqub has shown a wilful and consistent disregard for the welfare and safety of the tenant and her family and has neglected her duty of care as a landlord over many months.

"She did not provide a Landlord's Gas Safety Record from the outset of her tenancy to show that appliances had had an annual safety check. She used an unregistered fitter to install a boiler and later, in the full knowledge it had been left in a dangerous condition, then went on to use him again to reconnect it, leaving it still a danger to her tenants. Landlords have clear duties to ensure that gas appliances in properties are maintained in a safe condition and to use Gas Safe registered engineers.

"She failed in all respects and exposed a family to a dangerous appliance that could have resulted in serious injury or death. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who fall so seriously short of acceptable standards."