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Kirklees Council and HSE enforce landlord obligations

10/10/11: A landlord from Huddersfield who failed to safety check the gas appliances at the property has been fined for putting his tenant and her daughter’s life at risk.

Between Mid 2010 and early 2011, both the HSE and the local council told Anthony Brownson that he needed to have all the appliances in the rented property checked and to produce a landlord’s safety record. He ignored all requests and did not respond to the HSE serving him with an improvement notice; he also failed to attend an interview that would have been carried out under caution with a HSE inspector.

Meanwhile, Mr Brownson’s lessee and her daughter were living in a house where the boiler system wasn’t working correctly and the gas fire was dangerous throughout the extremely cold winter of 2010/2011, they were eventually forced to move out of the house.

In March 2011, Kirklees Council again ordered the safety work be completed following the failure of Mr Brownson to fulfil his responsibilities as landlord.

Mr Brownson, currently of Dukinfield in Cheshire, pleaded guilty to a breaching
safety regulations in regard to gas and failing to complete a regular safety check on the relevant appliances between 2007 and 2011. He also accepted that he had failed to comply with an Improvement Notice between December 2010 and March 2011.

The court fined Mr Brownson £3,000 and issued a cost order for £2,089.25.

A HSE Inspector commented that the prosecution was successful as a result of a close collaboration between the HSE and Kirklees Council.

Quite apart from the risk of explosion and/or fires from faulty gas appliances, many people become sick and approximately 20 die from the toxic fumes of carbon monoxide on an annual basis, simply as a result of poorly-maintained gas appliances.

The duties of landlord’s are clear enough, each gas appliance must be checked by a registered engineer and then a copy of the certificate be provided to each tenant to show that each appliance and flue were safe on that date. The HSE are committed to bringing landlords who fail to comply or who risk tenant’s safety to gain financially in front of the court.

A Gas Safe Register executive said that it is vital that landlords fulfil their responsibilities and that tenants are aware of their gas safety rights. All appliances in any rented property must be safely and properly maintained by a registered engineer on an annual basis. If the tenant is not provided with a gas record, they should ask the landlord for a copy to be provided to them.