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HSE finds landlord guilty of faulty gas appliance

A man who rented out his Huddersfield home left his tenant at risk by ignoring repeated warnings to have the gas appliances in the property safety-checked.

Anthony Brownson, who now lives in Cheshire, was contacted by Kirklees Council and then by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) several times between May 2010 and March 2011.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court was told he persistently ignored requests by the council and HSE to produce a landlord’s Gas Safety Record for his former home in Lane Top, Linthwaite. He also failed to respond when HSE served him with an Improvement Notice and did not attend a scheduled interview with an inspector under caution.

In the meantime, Mr Brownson’s tenant and her daughter had been left with a faulty boiler system and without a safely working gas fire during one of the coldest winters in recent times. They eventually left the property. Finally in March this year, Kirklees Council ordered safety work to be carried out, again after Mr Brownson failed to fulfil his landlord’s responsibilities.

Mr Brownson, of Boyds Walk, Dukinfield, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of gas safety regulations by failing to carry out an annual safety check on gas appliances between April 2007 and March 2011. He also admitted an offence of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice between December 2010 and March 2011. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,089.25 in costs.

HSE Inspector Dr Angus Robbins, who investigated the case, said the successful prosecution was a result of close collaboration with colleagues at Kirklees Council.

“In addition to the risks of fires and explosions from faulty gas appliances, many people are made ill, and some 20 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year owing to poorly-maintained gas appliances.

“Landlords’ duties are very clear – they must ensure gas appliances are checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer and provide their tenants with a copy showing that the appliances and flues were operating safely at that time. HSE will not hesitate to bring landlords before the courts when they are prepared to risk their tenants’ safety for financial gain.”

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “It is important for landlords to meet their responsibilities and for tenants to know their rights when it comes to gas safety. If there are gas appliances in a property they need to be maintained properly by a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer and have an annual safety check. An up-to-date Gas Safety Record should always be available and tenants should ask to see if it they do not have a copy.”