Landlords have been warned to only ever use qualified, registered engineers to carry out work on gas appliances - or face an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The organisation has reminded landlords of their responsibilities when it comes to gas safety following the prosecution of a Basildon landlord who failed to make sure gas appliances at her properties were in safe working order.
Onyemauche Peel was given 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 costs after it was found she had not been ensuring gas safety checks were routinely carried out in at least four properties between 2003 and 2010.
Some safety checks had been done but were carried out by unregistered engineers, while the landlord also used an unregistered engineer to install a gas boiler in one property.
"Owning properties and renting them out can be very profitable. But it also comes with responsibilities," said HSE inspector Sue Matthews.
"It is illegal for landlords and unregistered engineers to carry out gas work. Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous.Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it."
Landlords should make sure only workmen who are Gas Safe registered are used to carry out repairs or install gas appliances.
A Gas Safe registered engineer should also be used to carry out an annual safety inspection of gas appliances at rented properties.
Property owners may also want to consider taking out landlord emergency cover. This can ensure that in an emergency, such as a boiler breakdown, a properly qualified engineer arrives at the property promptly to carry out the necessary repairs.
"HSE will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who use unregistered gas engineers. Landlords can easily check whether gas engineers are registered by telephoning Gas Safe or checking on the Gas Safe website," added Ms Matthews.
Posted by Megan Statham