Landlord jailed for gas safety failings

 

A London landlord has been jailed for endangering his tenants after illegally installing a boiler that he then repeatedly tried to fix after it developed a leak.

Harpal Singh, 53, attempted to repair his faulty handiwork at the Tottenham Hale property on three occasions before a concerned tenant phoned National Grid for help. A qualified technician then immediately disconnected the gas supply.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard on 22 November that a subsequent investigation revealed six faults with his installation, and clear evidence that he had failed to appoint a Gas Safe registered engineer to do the work.

Singh installed the boiler and associated pipework at a three-bedroomed house on Montague Road in January 2013. His tenants immediately complained of a strong smell of gas throughout the property, and continued to do so despite a number of visits to rectify the problem.

It wasn’t until 8 May that National Grid intervened to disconnect the supply.

Harpal Singh, of Higham Road, London, pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and was jailed for a total of 26 weeks and ordered to pay £1,852 in costs.

The judge ruled that imprisonment was justified to reflect his high culpability and the fact he acted “fast and loose” with the lives of his tenants.

Health & Safety Executive inspector Lisa Chappell said: “The regulations covering landlords’ duties relating to gas appliances in their properties are unambiguous, and clearly state that only qualified engineers are permitted to undertake gas installations, checks and maintenance.

“Singh should have known this, and his negligence could have cost lives. Faulty installations can cause fires, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, and that is why only Gas Safe registered engineers should be used.

“There are many instances where landlords fail to fulfil their duties, and I hope today’s case serves as a reminder that we will prosecute when that is the case.”

Further information on gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas