Sheffield couple ‘put lives of tenants at risk’

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AN ESTRANGED couple are facing jail for putting the lives of their tenants at risk through a string of failings in gas safety.

A judge has warned landlords Farhat Basharat and her husband Waheed Ahmid, both 34, they could be sent to prison for exposing a family to risk of carbon monoxide poisoning while they were renting a home belonging to the pair.

Sheffield Council stepped in after officers were called out to the Gleadless Road property in November 2010.

After noticing gas burning with a yellow flame, they called in experts.

Gas safety inspectors cut off the supply to the cooker, boiler and fire in the house just days later, labelling them an ‘immediate danger’ to life or property.

The tenant, a Latvian woman with three children between the ages of four and 17, had been living at the address for more than a year when the inspection was carried out.

Bahsarat and Ahmid, who are now separated, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court to three charges of breaching gas safety regulations and failing to maintain appliances and records.

Fiona Carter, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said: “This case is a risk of serious injury or even death relating to one family. The appliances were considered so dangerous they were deemed an immediate threat.

“On average 20 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning and many more fall seriously ill. Prolonged exposure can cause paralysis and brain damage.”

The court heard that, when Health and Safety Executive officers first visited the couple, who have five children together, their young offspring were playing with £20 notes. During interview, balti restaurant director Basharat said she owned the property but it was her husband who oversaw the day-to-day running of the business.

Basharat, of Violet Bank Road, Nether Edge, and Ahmid, of Albert Road, Heeley, will be sentenced by magistrates later this month.

District judge Antony Brown said: “It is shocking that innocent members of the public reliant on landlords carrying out their statutory duties were subjected to this risk.

“All too frequently we see reports of tenants who have gone to bed and been found the next day as a result of failings like these.

“The court is considering all options - including custody.”