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GAS FITTER JAILED OVER DANGEROUS INSTALLATION

Landlord installed and repaired boiler despite lack of Gas Safe registration

A London landlord has been jailed for endangering his tenants after he illegally installed a boiler and repeatedly attempted to repair the boiler after it developed a leak.

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

Subsequent investigation revealed six faults with the installation and clear evidence that Mr Singh failed to appoint a Gas Safe registered engineer to do the work.

Westminster Magistrates heard (22 November) that Mr Singh installed the boiler and associated pipework at a three-bedroomed house on in January 2013. The 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.

In May 2013 National Grid intervened to disconnect the supply and a Gas Safe investigation highlighted clear faults with the work, and with Mr Singh’s legal duty of care as a landlord.

There was nothing to suggest he had appointed a competent person to do the work, and no certification to show that another gas appliance at the property had been annually checked.

Imprisonment justified by “fast and loose” behaviour

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

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.

After the hearing HSE 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.

Mr 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.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, commented:

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas work they are qualified to do.

You can check if your engineer is legal and safe by asking for the card and if you have any concerns, contact us by calling 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk

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