A worrying number of bogus plumbers and gas engineers are issuing safety compliance certificates to landlords, according to safety watchdogs.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – the government agency responsible for monitoring gas safety – has prosecuted several contractors and firms for shoddy work at buy to let properties that have left tenants lives in danger.
The latest to go before the court is Matthew Congdon, 33, a director of Coastal Plumbing and Heating Ltd, based in Bude, Devon.
The firm claimed to be on the Gas Safe register and issued compliance certificates to landlords when its Gas Safe registration has expired.
Bodmin magistrates heard the HSE found 33 examples of poor workmanship that failed to meet manufacturer and legal specifications on the installation of two boilers and a gas fire in rented homes.
Congdon was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £418 after admitting four breaches of gas safety rules. He must also pay £700 compensation.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “It is a legal requirement for landlords and managing agents to undertake annual gas safety checks at properties and it is a legal requirement for them to use a member of Gas Safe Register.”
The HSE recommends landlords should check a plumber or gas engineer online or by telephone with the Gas Safe register before letting the start work.
The Gas Safe web site allows property owners to search for their nearest qualified Gas Safe engineers by post code.
The engineer or company should also have an identification code that can be entered into search boxes on the web site to return whether the registration is current.
“In several recent cases, the engineer or firm has displayed Gas Safe logos on paperwork and vehicles but has either never been registered or had a registration that has lapsed,” said the HSE.
“This means they may not be up to date with the latest compliance measures and their work could be potentially dangerous.”