Landlord prosecuted for putting students at risk

A Glasgow GP has been fined after failing to maintain a gas boiler at a student flat he owned in Oxford.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Dr Tariq Mahmood for breaching Gas Safety Regulations in December 2010.

Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that on 17 December 2010, a gas installer was called by the landlord to repair a boiler at Laurel Court, Nye Bevan Close, Oxford. He refused to service the appliance and called an emergency gas engineer, who immediately condemned the boiler and flue. He then reported it to the HSE.

The HSE investigation revealed that Dr Mahmood had failed to maintain the flat’s boiler and flue for two years between January 2009 and December 2010. This action endangered the lives of the students who lived there, exposing them to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

After the hearing, HSE’s Inspector Dozie Azubike said:

“Dr Mahmood’s lack of care could have had very serious consequences for his Oxford University student tenants. Every year approximately 20 people die and many others suffer ill health from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Unchecked gas appliances can become unsafe over time, exposing tenants to possible serious injuries or even fatality. It is therefore vitally important that landlords fulfil their gas safety obligations to their tenants.”

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“Landlords have a legal duty to ensure gas appliances in any property they rent are safety checked once a year and that they provide a copy of the gas safety record to their tenants.  It is also a requirement that they use a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out the work.

“Tenants should also be aware that it is their right to ask to see a copy of the gas safety record if one has not already been provided.”

Dr Tariq Mahmood, of Broompark Drive, Newton Mearns, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to regulations 36(2)(a) and 36(2)(b) and two counts of 36(3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was given a Conditional Discharge for a period of two years and ordered to pay costs of £4,928.