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Landlord given suspended prison sentence after putting lives at risk

A buy-to-let landlord in Plymouth put the lives of his tenants at risk of a gas explosion after carrying out gas work at their home even though he was unqualified to do so.

Paul Perry, aged 65, attempted to repair a pipe leading to the cooker in the rental property, but when a qualified engineer later inspected the work, he detected a gas leak and called the Health and Safety Executive, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

It also emerged that Perry, of Clarence Place, Morice Town, had not brought in an engineer to carry out a safety check at the property in St Levan Road which is rented out to a young family for seven years, despite it being a legal requirement to have one done annually. 

Perry pleaded guilty to doing work at his tenanted properties without being a member of the Gas Safety Register.

Will Willden, who represented Perry, said that the landlord had been ignorant of his legal obligations.

“He is devastated to find himself in this situation. He reports to me that it was never his intention to put anyone at risk,” he said.

Judge Ian Lawrie sentenced Perry to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

Handing him a suspended prison sentence, Judge Lawrie said: “Last year 24 people died it would seem as a result of faulty gas appliances at home. If you want to let out properties, you have to be sure that you do not put people at risk.”

HSE Inspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, told the press: “Landlords have a legal duty to carry out annual gas safety checks which are there to protect their tenants from death or injury.

“In this case, Mr Perry ignored a request from his tenant to carry out the checks and to provide a copy of the safety record.

“He compounded the matter by undertaking gas work himself which he was neither trained nor registered to undertake and which resulted in a gas leak which could have caused a fatal gas explosion”

Further information about landlords’ responsibilities for gas supply can be found by clicking here

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