Published: Friday, 14th September 2018
A landlord has been sentenced for failing to maintain gas appliances at a rental property in King's Lynn and for repeatedly failing to provide tenants with a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard how inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Gas Safe Register inspected a property in King's Lynn, Norfolk in 2017 where they found a gas oven to be ‘at risk’ and the gas central heating boiler to be unsafe to use.
The King's Lynn property was originally inspected, by the Housing Standards team at the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, following a complaint from a tenant concerning a faulty gas boiler and gas oven. Both were found to be in a poor state of repair and considered unsafe. No documentation was available from the landlord to demonstrate routine safety checks and servicing as required under legislation. The matter was reported to the Health and Safety Executive who are responsible for the enforcement of the various regulations concerning the appliances.
The subsequent HSE investigation found the landlord, Mr Steven Ladell, had failed in his duty to have the gas appliances regularly inspected or maintained, and failed to provide a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate for a number of years, all of which are legal requirements. In addition, Mr Ladell failed to comply with an Improvement Notice issued on 13 July 2017 which required he take action to deal with these issues.
Mr Steven Ladell of Great Harwood, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to breaching an Improvement Notice served by the HSE under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as well as two regulations of the of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
He received a 20-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work and to pay full costs of £4,146.34.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Unwin said: “Landlords must ensure gas appliances at their tenanted properties are checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer at least every 12 months, and are maintained in a safe condition.
“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.
The Housing Standards team at the borough council reports all incidences where landlords cannot provide paperwork to demonstrate the maintenance of gas appliances to the HSE and supports their actions with witness statements when cases are taken to court.
Cllr Adrian Lawrence stated " "The various regulations concerning the private rented sector are there to ensure tenants' safety in their homes. This case very clearly demonstrates the seriousness of the breaches and is a reminder to private sector landlords of their obligation to ensure gas appliances they provide are checked and inspected on an annual basis. A copy of the Landlords Gas Safety Certificate should be handed to the tenant and copies kept for a minimum of two years".