07 August 2012
Sheffield landlords prosecuted for safety failings
Compensation may be sought by a Sheffield resident whose safety was put at risk when two landlords failed to notice dangerous defects on every gas appliance in a house they rented out.
Property owners Waheed Ahmid and his wife Farhat Basharat were handed 12-month suspended jail sentences and ordered to undertake 150 hours of community service after a council housing officer visiting the home in Gleadless Road noticed a gas fire's flame was burning yellow.
A subsequent investigation carried out by a Gas Safe Register official found a number of serious faults with fittings and appliances throughout the home before decommissioning the boiler, cooker and fires, while classifying them as "immediately dangerous".
In addition, the inspector highlighted evidence of carbon monoxide fumes in the property, which could have proved fatal to the resident if left unnoticed.
A hearing at Sheffield Magistrates Court revealed the appliances and flues had not been checked every year by a registered engineer, while they were also not being kept in a suitable condition as required by law.
Furthermore, the tenant had not been not been given a copy of the property's gas safety record.
Speaking after the legal proceedings, Denise Fotheringham, an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stated that this was not an isolated incident by Mr Ahmid - who was ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service and pay £5,000 in costs - and Mrs Basharat.
She added: "This case was a good example of how HSE worked together with Sheffield Council's private rented section and Gas Safe Register Investigators to ensure that landlords who do not fulfil their duties are brought before the courts and punished."
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register - noted some landlords may think failing to do an annual check on appliances - or owning a gas safety record - is not important or may save them some time and money, but stressed that these are legal requirements.
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Posted by Francesca Witney