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Landlords' Gas Safety Failings Put Young Family At Risk

By Kevin Burke
23rd February, 2015

A young family were put in unnecessary danger after their landlord failed to arrange annual landlord gas safety checks, Truro Magistrates Court was told.

In the hearing on February 12th, landlords Deborah and Andrew Hopkinson, of Cubert's Chynowen Lane, each admitted to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and were each fined £7,000 with costs of £209.

The court heard that a mother, her partner and a young child moved into a property in Newquay's Polwhele Road in July 2013, but did not receive a landlords' gas safety record. Around a year later, the tenants enquired about the boiler service and safety inspection, but this still did not occur.

Finally, in June 2014, the family smelled gas. They contacted Wales and West Utilities, and their gas boiler was isolated. When a Gas Safe engineer inspected the boiler, they discovered it was 'immediately dangerous' and that it was producing high amounts of carbon monoxide.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) then launched an investigation and led the prosecution of Mr and Mrs Hopkinson.

The HSE discovered that landlords' gas safety checks had not occurred within the legally-required 12 month period on six separate occasions, and while some checks were five days late, others were as much as 15 months overdue.

The boiler in question, which may have been more than 11 years old, had last been serviced on December 19th, 2012, and although the manual recommends that the boiler should be serviced annually, a boiler service had not taken place in the 18 months before the appliance was isolated.

Following the hearing, Simon Jones, HSE Inspector, remarked that it was fortunate the incident did not injure or kill the tenant or her family.

He said landlords ought to ensure that their gas appliances receive annual safety checks and are maintained and serviced to keep them in good working order.

 

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