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Local authority fined for gas safety failings
Published:  18 July, 2012

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham was fined £83,600 last week for failing to arrange annual safety checks on gas appliances in tenant accommodation.

The local authority is required by law to arrange annual checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer and keep and maintain gas safety records for all the properties it provides in its capacity as a landlord.

However, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed it failed to provide adequate certification for appliances in scores of properties under its control between April 2008 and July 2010.

HSE inspector Nicola Maisuria said: "As a landlord, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is legally responsible for the safety of its tenants in relation to gas safety. In failing to carry out the required annual gas safety checks on appliances in its properties, and maintain records of each safety check, the authority could have exposed tenants to additional potential risks of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.”

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that HSE uncovered the failings after a tenant at a multi-occupancy emergency hostel complained that a gas safety certificate wasn't available.

Checks at the hostel found that a gas safety record for the property, which contained several gas cookers and other appliances, had expired 15 months previously.

Twenty were subsequently investigated by HSE and all were found to contain gas cookers or boilers that should have been checked at least every 12 months.

The local authority pleaded guilty to nine breaches in relation to lapsed checks and was fined a total of £83,600 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,553.

"The Council has now instigated a new monitoring and control regime to improve safety and to meet its legal obligations as a landlord. I welcome this improvement, and I hope today's prosecution sends a clear message to other local authorities and all landlords that they must ensure they carry out all necessary gas safety checks," added Maisuria.