Harpal Singh, 53, attempted to repair his faulty handiwork at the Tottenham Hale property on three occasions before a concerned tenant phoned National Grid for help. A qualified technician then immediately disconnected the gas supply.
A subsequent investigation revealed six faults with his installation, and clear evidence that he had failed to appoint a Gas Safe registered engineer to do the work, as the law requires.
Westminster Magistrates Court was told today (22 November) that Mr Singh installed the boiler and associated pipework at a three-bedroomed house on Montague Road in January 2013. His tenants immediately complained of a strong smell of gas throughout the property, and continued to do so despite a number of visits to rectify the problem.
It wasn’t until 8 May that National Grid intervened to disconnect the supply. A Gas Safe investigation then highlighted clear faults with the work, and with Mr Singh’s legal duty of care as a landlord.
There was nothing to suggest he had appointed a competent person to do the work, and no certification to show that another gas appliance at the property had been annually checked, as the law also states.
The matter was passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who prosecuted him for three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Harpal Singh, of Higham Road, London, N17, was jailed for a total of 26 weeks and ordered to pay £1,852 in costs after pleading guilty to all three breaches.
The judge ruled that imprisonment was justified to reflect his high culpability and the fact he acted “fast and loose” with the lives of his tenants.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Lisa Chappell said:
“The regulations covering landlords’ duties relating to gas appliances in their properties are unambiguous, and clearly state that only qualified engineers are permitted to undertake gas installations, checks and maintenance.
“Mr Singh should have known this, and his negligence could have cost lives. Faulty installations can cause fires, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, and that is why only Gas Safe registered engineers should be used.
“There are many instances where landlords fail to fulfil their duties, and I hope today’s case serves as a reminder that we will prosecute when that is the case.”