A Gas Safe registered engineer and a landlord have been fined after falsifying landlords’ gas safety records, in prosecutions at Thames Magistrates’ Court and Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Landlord Tariq Hussain, of Walthamstow in London, had induced engineer Muhammad Waseem, of Manor Park, to falsify gas safety records for four rental flats in a property in Chingford, east London. The records are intended to prove to prospective tenants that the gas appliances in a property are safe, and provided to the council as part of the process for obtaining property licences. In fact, the boilers had not been checked.
Mr Waseem 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.
Mr Hussain pleaded guilty to four charges under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act at Snaresbrook Crown Court. He was fined £250 for each offence, plus costs of £500 and £100 victim surcharge.
The case follows the prosecution of Mr Hussain’s wife, Nasim Hussain, who pleaded guilty on 12 May 2017 to four offences under the Housing Act 2004, for supplying false or misleading information. She had stated that the four flats did not have any gas appliances. She was fined £40,000, plus costs of £1839.64.
In sentencing Mrs Hussain, the judge said: “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, existing property licences will be reviewed.
Cllr Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing, 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.”