Letting agency ignored need for property’s gas safety checks

A Birmingham lettings agency has been fined after failing to ensure gas safety checks were made on a property it managed, potentially putting tenants’ lives at risk.

MT Properties Central Ltd, based in Small Heath, failed to arrange the statutory landlord gas safety check on the property it leased to tenants in Stechford, and subsequently failed to produce any confirmation the checks had been carried out.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was made aware of concerns over the existence of a gas safety record for the property and tried several times to get a response from the company. After hearing nothing from them, HSE issued an Improvement Notice on the company on 16 August 2013.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard today (15 August) that the Notice required MT Properties to employ a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out the necessary checks by 6 September 2013 and produce evidence that the Notice had been complied with.

However, the company failed to comply with the notice or to request an extension. The notice remains open today and HSE is awaiting evidence of compliance.

MT Properties Central Ltd of Green Lane, Small Heath, pleaded guilty to breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £957.

Speaking after the hearing an HSE inspector said: “MT Properties Central Ltd had plenty of time to comply with HSE’s enforcement notice so there was no excuse for failing to do so, particularly for a property management and letting business. A gas safety check by a registered engineer can be organised quickly and easily and cost as little as £60.

“By not carrying out their duty as a landlord, MT Properties Central Ltd potentially put lives and property in danger by flouting the laws that are designed to protect people in their homes while using gas appliances.”

Chief executive of Gas Safe Register added: “When it comes to rented property, it is vital that landlords know their duties and tenants know their rights. A landlord must be able to provide a gas safety record for the property to show that the gas appliances have been safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer in the last 12 months.