Landlady fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,209 for gas safety failings

A Staffordshire woman has been fined for failing to provide evidence that a gas safety check had been carried out at one of her tenanted properties.

Liane Dewsbury was originally asked by Lichfield District Council to produce Landlord’s gas safety certificates for boilers at two properties she owned in Queen Street, Burntwood. When they were not forthcoming the council referred the matter to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The certificates are required to confirm that gas appliances, installation and flues at a property have been checked annually for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

South Walls Magistrates’ Court was told today (12 Sept) that despite numerous requests the certificates were not produced. On 4 October 2011 HSE served two Improvement Notices requiring Mrs Dewsbury to arrange for a competent gas fitter to carry out an inspection of the gas appliances in the two premises and produce a certificate for both. She was given until 11 November 2011 to comply.

The court heard she complied with one of the Notices but despite several more requests by the HSE, she failed to provide a certificate for the second property until 15 February 2012.

Liane Dewsbury, of Main Road, Milford, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. She was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,209.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

“Liane Dewsbury chose to put the health of her tenants potentially at risk and also chose to ignore for many months the repeated requests to produce the gas safety records.

“On average 20 people each year die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that are faulty. Many more people suffer serious health effects from breathing in carbon monoxide. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can result from prolonged exposure.

“Unchecked gas appliances do become unsafe over time, exposing tenants to possible serious injuries or even fatality. It is important that landlords fulfil their legal gas safety obligations to their tenants. This means ensuring an annual gas safety check is carried out by a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. It also means being able to provide tenants with an up-to-date gas safety record.”