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‘Negligent’ landlord fined over gas safety

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An Oxfordshire landlord has been prosecuted and fined more than £10,000 after failing to ensure gas appliances in his property were safe and fit for purpose.

Kidlington landlord Graham Barnes was investigated and fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after inspectors discovered that a wealth of electrical and gas issues meant his property was unsafe to rent.

In February last year, a gas installer warned Mr Barnes that several of the property’s appliances had defects but the landlord ignored the advice. But, in June that year, the house’s boiler was condemned after leaking carbon monoxide into the kitchen.

Didcot Magistrates Court this week heard that between January 2009 and July 2009 Mr Barnes failed to arrange the annual safety checks to be carried out on gas appliances and flues at a residential property he owned; and also failed to maintain gas appliances at the same property.

All landlords are subject to the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Mr Barnes was charged after pleading guilty to not ensuring gas appliances at his residential property had annual safety checks. He was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,957 in costs, with £15 victim’s surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Dozie Azubike accused Mr Barnes of “ignoring his responsibilities” and seriously endangering the lives of others.

And the HSE is keen to stress the importance of gas safety checks after a separate incident saw an uregistered gas fitter risk the lives of 700 residents in Hertfordshire.

“Badly fitted gas appliances can be highly dangerous, if not fatal. There is the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes, as well as the potential for fire and explosion if leaking gas is exposed to a naked flame or a spark,” added Inspector Luke Messenger.

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

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