Sheffield landlords put tenant's life at risk

A Sheffield husband and wife have been handed suspended jail sentences after dangerous defects were found on every gas appliance at a house they rented out to a young woman.

Waheed Ahmid, of Albert Road, Sheffield and Farhat Basharat of Violet Bank Road, Sheffield, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three charges under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations carried out between 3 December 2009 and 2 December 2010.

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

A Gas Safe Register investigator found a range of serious faults with appliances and fittings throughout the property. The investigator also found evidence of carbon monoxide fumes.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought prosecution, found the appliances and flues had not been checked annually by a registered gas engineer, they 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.

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.

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.

“It is pure luck no one was made ill or even died.

“This was not an isolated incident by Waheed Ahmid and Farhat Basharat.

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Some landlords may think that 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 and are in place to save lives. If you are a landlord, make sure you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to gas and always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

HSE has a one-stop-shop website to give landlords all the information they need to meet their legal duties on domestic gas. Visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords [1] for more information.