A landlord narrowly avoided jail after trying to fix a gas problem in his rental property himself.
David John Wallman was told by the judge that he took a “very stupid risk” when he attempted to fix the leak. As a result, the property was left in a state that could have caused serious harm or death to its tenants.
When one of the people who lived in Wallman’s property, noticed a smell of gas, they called an emergency gas engineer who capped the supply and displayed warning notices. On learning of this, Mr Wallman came over and tried to repair the leak. As a health and safety inspector explained to the court, “Mr Wallman uncapped and reconnected a supply which had been marked up by Northern Gas Networks as ‘immediately dangerous’. He left the installation in a dangerous state thereby creating a high risk situation. According to the tenant he reported that all was well, and told them that if they had any more concerns they should not under any circumstance contact Northern Gas but come straight back to him.”
The next morning, when the tenant again smelled gas, they called a Gas Safe-registered fitter who re-capped the supply, before another engineer came to fix the leak.
Wallman, who was previously a Corgi-registered gas fitter and owns 10 properties, was spared jail because the incident was not part of a wider pattern of irresponsible behaviour. “He has acted responsibly other than with this action before you. This was an isolated incident and a huge misjudgment. He has no previous convictions. You are dealing here with a normal, respectable family man.” his solicitor told the judge.
Wallman received a sentence of 26 weeks, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay costs of over £700.
The case highlights the importance of making sure that you are not only aware of your legal responsibilities regarding your tenant’s health and safety, but that you comply with them.
Landlords – if you are unsure of your legal obligations, or just want advice, contact our landlord support team on 01302 320621.