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Yet another landlord falls foul of the law

Our first two blogs for this month are focussing on landlord gas safety. In last week’s blog we heard of a landlord who put his tenants at risk, through failing to have a gas boiler in one of his rented properties checked for safety by a suitably qualified engineer. Unfortunately this week’s blog also tells the tail of a dodgy landlord and an even more dodgy plumber.

Earlier this month, landlord Gary Lynch was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each offence (suspended for 18 months) and was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Mr Lynch, a landlord of several properties, had previously been warned by HSE about undertaking gas work whilst not registered. He arranged for plumber Neil Walker, to complete the landlord’s gas safety check at his tenanted properties, after meeting him in a pub. Neil Walker was not registered to undertake the works and issued gas safety records under a false Gas Safe registration number and a false address (see last week’s blog about viewing an ID card).

Mr Walker undertook 14 checks between February 2013 and May 2015, on one occasion leaving a gas boiler in such a dangerous state, it was later condemned by Wales and West Utilities as ‘Immediately Dangerous’. The tenants of the property had contacted the utility company after suffering from headaches and dizziness; symptoms of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. The HSE found that Mr Lynch had not thought to check to see if Neil Walker was Gas Safe registered. No information was forthcoming on contact details for the plumber himself, who to date has avoided prosecution.

While we all know that most landlords are honest people, just like dodgy plumbers there are always a minority of rogues who put the industry into disrepute. Did you know that landlords are obliged to do the following under UK law?

  • Ensure that pipework, appliances and flue’s are regularly maintained and in a safe condition. It’s recommended that appliances are serviced annually unless stipulated otherwise by manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Have an annual Gas Safety Check carried out by a registered professional on every gas appliance/flue in the property (including boilers and gas ovens).
  • Give the tenant a copy of the annual gas safety check record within 28 days of the check being completed (or to new tenants before they move in). Landlords have to keep copies of gas safety records for two years.

 

So the advice to landlords and tenants alike is to always make sure your professional heating engineer is registered to the correct bodies to undertake the work. Ask for ID before they start the work and double check that they are members of the correct organisations – Gas Safe for work on gas appliances and OFTEC for work on oil. You can search for a registered heating professional here: http://www.ciphe.org.uk/consumer/find-a-plumber/