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A Waltham Forest landlord and his Gas Safety 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 Walthamstow, had induced 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 therefore the safety of Mr Hussain’s tenants would not have been ensured.
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. For his part in the fraud, Muhammad Waseem will be removed from the register of certified Gas Safe engineers.
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 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 £1839.64.
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.”