London borough charged for gas safety failings
A London council has been fined nearly £100,000 after failing to carry out annual gas safety checks, localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk reports.
The London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham was handed the fine by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it was found that 21 privately leased properties had no gas safety certificates.
It is a legal requirement that any property being advertised for let has to have a valid and in date gas safety certificate before tenants can move in. These have to be undertaken by a certified Gas Safe engineer.
Following an investigation by the HSE - which began after a tenant reported that a certificate wasn't available - a case was brought against the London borough on account of 21 properties which contained appliances which needed annual checks but did not have them. This happened between April 2008 - July 2010.
Furthermore, a "lapse table" was created of all the properties where annual checks has slipped, containing a total of 297 properties.
In the resulting court case, the council pleaded guilty to all nine breaches and was fined £83,600. It was also ordered to pay £15,553 in costs.
Speaking to rman.co.uk after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Maisuria explained: "Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning and approximately 20 people die each year as a result of has appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained or that are poorly ventilated.
"As a landlord, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is legally responsible for the safety of its tenants in relation to gas safety. I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to other local authorities and all landlords that they must ensure they carry out all necessary gas safety checks."