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Family poisoned in gas danger house

5 November 2014

Husband and wife landlords Mehboob and Suraiya Bobat are the latest property investors to go before the courts for flouting gas safety rules and putting tenants lives at risk.

The couple, from Bolton, Lancashire, were each ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service and to pay costs of £780 after admitting to breaking two gas safety laws by Trafford Magistrates, Manchester.

They were prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found four gas appliances at a buy to let property were unsafe and that they had failed to arrange an annual gas safety check.

The tenants – a young couple who asked not to be identified – complained after the woman, who was pregnant, suffered headaches, palpitations and had difficulty breathing.

Their four-month old son also felt unwell.

A few weeks later, the father collapsed and the family was taken to hospital and found to be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Engineers inspected their home and found a gas water heater in the kitchen should only have been used for a maximum of five minutes at a time as it did not have a flue. However, it was connected to the washing machine as well as the kitchen sink and had put out high levels of carbon monoxide due to overuse.

The heater was classified as ‘immediately dangerous’ by a gas engineer, along with a gas heater in the front bedroom. A gas fire in the lounge and gas boiler in the kitchen were also found to be ‘at risk’ of causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

The court heard the Bobats were asked to provide a valid gas safety certificate, but admitted they did not have one.

HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian said: “A young couple and their baby son were needlessly made ill for several months because the landlords failed to arrange an annual gas safety check.

“It’s shocking that all four of the gas appliances in the property had the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If the baby’s father hadn’t acted quickly to call an ambulance when he wife collapsed then the effects could easily have been fatal.”