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Suspended sentences for landlords who ignored gas safety

Two Sheffield landlords have been handed suspended jail sentences after dangerous defects were found on every single gas appliance at a house they rented out to a young woman.

During the prosecution of landlords Waheed Ahmid and his wife Farhat Basharat, Sheffield magistrates heard that the defects were discovered after a council housing officer visiting the property noticed a gas fire’s flame burning yellow.

A Gas Safe Register investigator was called in and decommissioned the boiler and cooker and gas fires in the lounge and dining room after classifying them ‘immediately dangerous’. He also found evidence of carbon monoxide fumes.

The Health and Safety Executive found the appliances and flues had not been checked annually by a registered gas engineer and had not been maintained in a safe condition as required by law, and the tenant had never been given a copy of the gas safety record.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham described the condition of the gas appliances as shocking and said the landlords had put their tenant at risk of serious injury or even death.

She said: “It is totally unacceptable to have a property where a tenant’s life is threatened because the gas appliances haven’t been properly installed or looked after.

“Although there was no injury the appliances were in a shocking condition. Some were spilling carbon monoxide into the rooms where they were sited. It is pure luck no one was made ill or even died.

“This was not an isolated incident by Waheed Ahmid and Farhat Basharat. None of the appliances had been checked for safety since the tenancy began in September 2009.

“All landlords should be aware of the duty to maintain and check the safety of gas appliances supplied with the properties they rent.”

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Some landlords may think that failing to do an annual check on gas appliances, or having a landlord’s gas safety record isn’t that important, or may save them some money. What they fail to realise is that these checks are legal requirements.”

Waheed Ahmid and Farhat Basharat had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three charges under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.

Both were handed three-month jail sentences suspended for 12 months. Ahmid was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of community service and pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs. Basharat was ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service and pay £5,000 in costs.

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