Portsmouth landlord fined for failing to meet basic gas safety regulations

A Portsmouth landlord has been fined for endangering lives after consistently failing to provide safety records for gas appliances at a property he rented out to a family.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today prosecuted Peter Brown for breaching two counts of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and one count of failing to comply with the requirements of an Improvement Notice served on him in August 2010.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Brown, of Cavendish Drive, Waterlooville, Hampshire, rented out a property at Queens Road, Portsmouth. In July 2006 a mother and her children moved into the residence with the support of Portsmouth City Council.

An inspection of the property in February 2009 by the council uncovered various defects, including damp and mould caused by leaks in the kitchen, which Mr Brown was required to remedy. The council was forced to take formal enforcement action against Mr Brown on 29 June 2009 when he did not action the improvements.

In addition, the council requested a copy of the Landlord’s annual Gas Safety Check Record, which he had failed to provide for over two years. At this stage the Health and Safety Executive was informed to ensure his compliance with Gas Safety Legislation.

Mr Brown pleaded guilty to three charges relating to his safety breaches. He was fined £11,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500. He was also ordered by the court to provide a Gas Safety Check Record for the property within two months.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Dozie Azubike commented:

“Mr Brown flagrantly disregarded his duties as a landlord, putting at risk the health and safety of his tenant and her children. He has received a significant fine and now has two months, in line with the Court Order, to provide a Gas Safety Check Record for the property. It is potentially an imprisonable offence to neglect gas safety and this should serve as a warning to other landlords.

“Every year approximately 20 people die and many others suffer ill health from carbon monoxide poisoning. It is common knowledge that unchecked gas appliances can become unsafe over time, exposing tenants to possible serious injuries or even fatality. Landlords have a legal obligation to provide tenants with an annual Gas Safety Check Record, verifying that gas appliances have been checked and comply with regulations.”

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register said:

“Landlords have a legal responsibility to keep all gas appliances working safely and efficiently by having an annual gas safety check and ensuring that only a Gas Safe registered engineer carries out the gas work, no matter how big or small the job. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it’s important that you understand the laws about gas safety otherwise you could be putting your life or the life of others in danger.”

Information gained from HSE