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Landlord fined £40,000 over gas safety failure

A Staffordshire landlord who rented out a property where a tenant died from carbon monoxide poisoning has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £44,500.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered a catalogue of problems at properties managed by Shahid Hussain after the death at one of the flats he rented out in Burton-on-Trent in February 2006.

Hussain must now pay the fine by January 31 next year or face an 18 month prison sentence following the hearing at Stafford Crown Court.

Inspectors visited a total of 12 properties rented out by Hussain and found only two had up to date Landlord Gas Safety Certificates. They also discovered that a number of gas appliances in
the properties were either ‘immediately dangerous’ or ‘at risk’

Hussain pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and failing to maintain appliances or to keep a record of safety checks in properties in Byrkley Street, Waterloo Street and Needwood Street.

HSE investigating inspector Christia Killen said: “Wherever it is appropriate, HSE will continue to take action against landlords who disregard their tenants’ safety.

“Hussain’s failure to manage the gas appliances in his properties put at least 18 tenants at risk from both carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosion over a significant period of time and the youngest of those at risk was only six months old.

“Landlords must ensure that gas appliances installed in their rented properties are maintained and provided with a current Landlord Gas Safety Certificate.

“I urge Landlords everywhere, if they have not already done so, to contact a registered gas fitter to make sure their gas appliances are safe. This case has highlighted that; if gas appliances are not maintained, people die.”

She said tenants also needed to check landlords were fulfilling their responsibilities: “HSE would urge any private tenant, in a property with a gas appliance installed, to ensure that their landlord has provided them with a current gas safety certificate.”