Landlord Prosecuted For Gas Risk Offence

Plymouth Landlord Sentenced Over Unsafe Oven

04.09.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A landlord has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after supplying tenants with an unsafe oven that put their health in danger.

Giles Boardman supplied a young mother and her child at a property he owned in Plymouth with an oven that turned out on investigation to be flawed.

The alarm was originally raised when Plymouth City Council contacted the HSE to note that the property did not have a gas safety certificate - despite several requests from them to Mr Boardman to provide one.

As a result, the HSE served him with an improvement notice and required him to carry out a gas safety check, but this had not been done by the deadline.

Matters became more serious when the oven was supplied, with an engineer called in by Mr Boardman establishing that there were problems with the mechanisms that controlled the flow of gas. The engineer immediately marked this down as dangerous and contacted the HSE.

While the oven has been replaced, the HSE took action to prosecute the landlord and he pleaded guilty in the hearing at Plymouth Magistrates Court to two gas safety regulation breaches and one of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was fined £4,050 and had to pay costs of £513.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: "Landlords have a legal duty to carry out gas safety checks, which are there to protect their tenants from death or injury.

"In this case, Mr Boardman ignored repeated requests to carry out the checks and as a result, a serious fault with the oven went undetected until discovered by an engineer."

HSE guidance for landlords on compliance with Gas Safety laws notes that they bear the burden of legal responsibility for safety and this means ensuring the maintenance of appliances, along with pipework and flues. There should also be an annual safety check on each appliance and flue, with a record kept of this.

Tenants will have their own responsibilities to follow, but the landlords must keep them informed about these.

Expert Opinion
This is a troubling case and it is welcome that the outcome was not much worse and the tenants were not injured in any way. This incident must act as a reminder to landlords that they have a duty to keep their tenants safe.

“It is vital regular checks of gas appliances are carried out and that gas safety certificates are kept up-to-date as part of standard property maintenance, as carrying out these checks could make an important difference when it comes to the identification of potentially harmful faults.

“It is crucial lessons are learnt from such cases to ensure the same issues are not repeated in the future and tenants are reassured that appliances in their homes are safe to use.”
Stephen Nye, Partner