Landlords in dark about window blind regulations
A large number of private landlords remain in the dark about British Standards Institution rules aimed at addressing child safety risks posed by blinds and curtains.
The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says that its members are frequently receiving queries about new industry regulations, particularly those regarding carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and window blinds.
It has been mandatory for a smoke alarm to be installed on every floor of a rental property where someone is living, partially living or is deemed as a habitable area since October 2015.
Landlords or their agents must also install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance, including wood burners and open fires.
The AIIC says that landlords and agents’ most common queries regarding these regulations are the required location and type of alarm as well as when they need to be tested.
The association says its members have also reported receiving queries from letting agents and landlords relating to safety requirements for blinds and curtains.
The BSI published new standards in February 2014 (based on the European Standards on safety requirements) to address risks posed to children by internal blinds and corded window coverings.
The rules apply to blinds that have cords or chains fitted with a loop that could create a hazard in premises where there are children aged between 0 and 42 months who are likely to have access or be present.
If a landlord purchases a new blind or curtain track then it should contain a label regarding safety and compliance with the Standard together with a safety device installed to prevent strangulation of a young child by a dangerous loop made of cord material or ball bearings.
Existing rental properties where blinds or tracks with cords are already fitted should be checked and if there is a long or loose loop landlords should arrange the fitting of a cleat or snap connector.
Failure to comply with the BSI standards could mean landlords face prosecution by Trading Standards should an accident occur.
Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC, comments: “There is no excuse for anyone in our industry to ignore regulations.”
“Landlords and letting agents must strive to ensure that they are clear on all their legal obligations and the AICC has urged other trade bodies to publicise as much helpful information as possible,” she adds.
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