It is being reported in the press more and more frequently that landlords are being prosecuted for shortcomings in relation to their responsibilities to tenants and abiding by the law. One of the prerequisites for both is to have adequate landlord property insurance.
On Thursday, 24th October 2013, Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Claire Sherwood had a boiler fitted at her home in Lexden Rd. Colchester, Essex, in March last year. The gas fitters she employed to carry out the work were not registered with the Gas Safe Register, a legal requirement for anyone undertaking such work.
She subsequently employed the same crew to install a boiler at a property she owned and let out on Sovereign Crescent, Colchester a month later on 23rd April. After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, it was found that she had not checked that the gas fitters were competent, therefore putting the lives of her tenants at risk. She was subsequently fined £950 and ordered to pay £4,000 costs after being found guilty of breaching regulation 36(4) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The fitters who carried out the work were also prosecuted separately for their part in various safety failings.
After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Toni Drury said: “Every year people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained, or that are poorly ventilated. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can also cause fires, explosions or gas leaks. Unregistered gas fitters do not have the training, knowledge or experience to work on gas fittings safely. They endanger the lives of the public for financial gain, fraudulently avoiding the time and expense of becoming competent and registered. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who put lives at risk.”
This case highlights the fact that being a landlord carries with it many responsibilities, and one of those is to ensure that you have the correct landlord property insurance which includes landlord liability cover.