Tenby landlord sentenced for gas safety failings fined £8500

A Tenby landlord has been fined for failing to maintain a gas fire safely within one of his properties.

David Ian Douglas-Law of Penally, Tenby, was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court following a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard Mr Douglas-Law’s tenant had originally raised a complaint with Pembrokeshire County Council environmental health officers over cold and damp conditions at the property.

On viewing the conditions at the property, council officers served Mr Douglas-Law an Improvements Notice under the Housing Act and reported concerns about the condition of the gas appliances to the HSE.

A HSE investigation discovered he had failed to maintain the gas fire in a safe condition, as well as failing, over a period of six years, to ensure the appliance was checked for safety every 12 months.

While no injuries were sustained, Mr Douglas-Law’s tenant and her son were prompted to visit the hospital to check for exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) after an alarm at the property indicated a high CO reading.

In summing up today, the magistrate said Mr Douglas-Law had been extremely lucky that no harm had come to his tenants.

David Ian Douglas-Law, 63, of Penally, Tenby, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 36 (2), 36 (3) (a), 36 (3) (b) and 36 (4) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined a total of £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500, plus a £15 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Stephen Jones said:

“Landlords must ensure that gas appliances are maintained in a safe condition and tenants must not be exposed to the risk of carbon monoxide. Work on gas appliances may only be carried out by a competent person such as a gas safe registered person.

“Where the evidence indicates that landlords such as Mr Douglas-Law have failed to meet their important safety responsibilities, HSE will take enforcement action including prosecution in the courts.”

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 of their rights when it comes to gas appliances and ask to see a copy of the gas safety record if one has not already been provided.”