Gas engineer convicted of fraud after falsifying landlord gas safety certificates
A Waltham Forest landlord and his Gas Safe Registered engineer have both pleaded guilty to falsifying gas safety certificates at Thames Magistrates Court and Snaresbrook Crown Court in landmark prosecutions.
Mr Tariq Hussain, of Chigwell, had induced gas engineer Mr Muhammad Waseem, of Manor Park, to falsify four gas safety certificates for four rental flats in a property in Chingford. The certificates would have been presented to prospective tenants as a document that guaranteed the boiler had been passed as safe, and provided to the council as part of the process for obtaining property licences. In fact, the boilers had not been adequately serviced and the situation could have endangered the tenants’ safety.
Mr Waseem, the gas engineer, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Fraud Act at Thames Magistrates Court. He was fined £200 for each offence, plus £200 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
While it seems likely Mr Waseem will be removed from the Gas Safe Register, investigations by London Property Licensing have found he is still listed on the Gas Safe Register website (as of 13 July 2018) under registration number 561544 and is authorised to carry out work on domestic premises. We understand Gas Safe Register are aware of the situation and have the matter under review.
Mr Hussain, the landlord, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 29 June 2018. He was fined £250 for each offence plus costs of £500 and £100 victim surcharge.
The case follows on from the prosecution of Tariq Hussain’s wife, Nasim Hussain, who pleaded guilty on Friday 12 May 2017 to four offences under the Housing Act 2004 for supplying false or misleading information after she stated that the four flats did not have any gas appliances. She was fined £40,000, plus costs of £1,839.64.
In sentencing Nasim Hussain, the judge commented that: “You were motivated by greed and used blatant dishonesty. You are a woman of great experience in property management; it was your company, and your responsibility. You and your husband made huge amounts of money out of this – the government and people in general rightly take a very dim view of such offending.”
Mr and Mrs Hussain own approximately 30 addresses in Waltham Forest. Following these convictions, we understand their existing property licences will be reviewed and could be revoked.
Cllr Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing, London Borough of Waltham Forest said:
“This is a great result for tenants in Waltham Forest. This needless fraud could have cost Mr Hussain’s tenants far more than the price of a safety certificate – it could have cost them their lives.
“If you are a landlord we expect you to meet basic obligations to ensure your tenants’ safety, and if you are not prepared to meet them we will find out and we will press for the maximum penalty available under the law. This prosecution shows that we are serious about ensuring the safety of private rental tenants in Waltham Forest. The message is clear: do not be tempted to cut corners when lives are at stake.“
A free guide to gas safety in private rented homes is available here.
More information about the property licensing rules in Waltham Forest is available here.
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