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Lee3183  
#1 Posted : 16 January 2020 12:31:03(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Lee3183

The Organisation I work for own a number of commercial properties that are let out as Holiday Cottages. I was recently asked if there is a legal requirement to provide stair gates, as the properties are often let out to families with small children. I'm struggling to find any legislation or guidance that could provide the answer. 

I could argue the case on the basis of our moral duty of care, also financial reasons for and against the provision of stair gates. If they were provided it opens up another can of worms, we would need to ensure they are fit for purpose which would require them to be permanently fixed in place and regularly inspected. Customers that do not have children, Im sure would be displeased to have permanently fix stairgates getting in their way, and could introduce an additional hazard for other customers e.g. reduced mobility. 

I'm currently considering the suitability of amending the T&C's to make customers aware of the hazard and that if they require stairgates they should be taken with them.

Could anyone shed some light?  

Dazzling Puddock  
#2 Posted : 16 January 2020 12:48:17(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Dazzling Puddock

"I'm currently considering the suitability of amending the T&C's to make customers aware of the hazard and that if they require stairgates they should be taken with them."

This is the route I would take, either that or advertise the Holiday lets as not suitable for toddlers.

Do you have window restrictors fitted to accessible upstairs windows?

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Lee3183 on 16/01/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 16 January 2020 13:45:39(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

You can advise prospective occupants in the adverts, at time of booking, and in your T&C's HOWEVER this would not remove or disperse any liability in the event of death or injury.

In not providing such protections you are giving implied permission for renters to use their own equipment which could be detrimental to the fabric of the property when installed (screws in to walls / woodwork).

As a rental property you need to review any provision against the requirements set by the local authority as they would be the enforcing agent in the event of any incident.

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Lee3183 on 16/01/2020(UTC)
CptBeaky  
#4 Posted : 16 January 2020 13:51:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
CptBeaky

Anecdotally - I stay in holiday cottages 2 or 3 times per year. I have never been into one that has a stair gate installed. I am thankful for this as trying to carry a suitcase about a stairway through a stairgate I had never used before would probably lead to much swearing.

Doesn't mean this is right, they might all be wrong!

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Lee3183 on 16/01/2020(UTC)
Lee3183  
#5 Posted : 16 January 2020 13:54:08(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Lee3183

Originally Posted by: Dazzling Puddock Go to Quoted Post

This is the route I would take, either that or advertise the Holiday lets as not suitable for toddlers.

Do you have window restrictors fitted to accessible upstairs windows?

Thank you for the reply and advice. 

If we were to advertise as not suitable for toddlers this may have an impact on revenue. The properties are all on the coast, so prove very popular for families with young children. 

The properties are also Grade 2 Listed, so we are very careful in relation to what modifications are made. Window restrictors are not fitted due to concerns that they may cause irreversible damage to the original windows. In addition, a lot of the properties do not have a secondary emergency escape, therefore some of the large windows are used with emergency escape ladders. There are very few properties where fitting window restrictors is an option. 

Roundtuit  
#6 Posted : 16 January 2020 14:16:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: Lee3183 Go to Quoted Post
a lot of the properties do not have a secondary emergency escape, therefore some of the large windows are used with emergency escape ladders.

Last year I rented a property at the coast which had an "emergency escape ladder" as there was only one entrance / exit except:

1) One of our party had arthritis so would be unable to use such a device

2) Some smart arse informed the owner they needed window restrictors so the local handy man had screwed wooden stops in to the sash windows making escape impossible without a screw driver.

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Lee3183 on 16/01/2020(UTC)
Gasman  
#7 Posted : 16 January 2020 15:35:42(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Gasman

Whenever myself and family go on holiday we specifically only book ground floor apartments/rooms. This is because chldren and balconies dont end well and also because ofstairs. The compnay you work for isn't required to install stair gates, the same as landowners aren't required to fence off every pond or lake that the public have access to. Parents are responsible for their children.

I think I am stretching my anaolgy above a litte, but yes in my opinion argue against stair gates as you mentioned the can of worms will be a large one.

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Lee3183 on 16/01/2020(UTC)
Dazzling Puddock  
#8 Posted : 16 January 2020 16:25:16(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Dazzling Puddock

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Lee3183 Go to Quoted Post
a lot of the properties do not have a secondary emergency escape, therefore some of the large windows are used with emergency escape ladders.

Last year I rented a property at the coast which had an "emergency escape ladder" as there was only one entrance / exit except:

1) One of our party had arthritis so would be unable to use such a device

2) Some smart arse informed the owner they needed window restrictors so the local handy man had screwed wooden stops in to the sash windows making escape impossible without a screw driver.

The smart arse was probably right though, any window which a person could fall from and sustain serious injury should be fitted with a restrictor and that restrictor should not be easily defeated.

Windows with low cill heights and rooms which are used by children or those with dementia require special attention.

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Lee3183 on 17/01/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#9 Posted : 16 January 2020 17:42:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: Dazzling Puddock Go to Quoted Post
The smart arse was probably right though, any window which a person could fall from and sustain serious injury should be fitted with a restrictor and that restrictor should not be easily defeated.

Can't seem to find any reference to validate such an assertion in the Building Regulations 2010. But then the point was about a lack of joined up thinking - the "owners" assessed fire risk, being able bodied mistakenly determined a window ladder was a good alternative escape route and then promptly defeated the device by rendering it inoperable (Bit like fitting a crash bar fire exit door then adding a padlock).

No problem with your observation for hospitals, schools, sheltered accomodation or similar.

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Lee3183 on 17/01/2020(UTC)
grim72  
#10 Posted : 17 January 2020 08:32:31(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
grim72

Been a while since used stairgates but when we did have them they were just a portable version that fitted into place by screw grips (search for no screws stairgate or pressure fit stairgate). That way if someone wants to use them they can just fit it themselves? Could you just not provide these complete with the instruction manual and then leave it to the individual to decide? 

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Lee3183 on 17/01/2020(UTC)
SBH  
#11 Posted : 17 January 2020 09:13:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SBH

I would ensure that the lighting is upto standard regarding the lux value and possibly use motion sensor lighting on staircases. In the T & Cs I would alter them if the stairs are steep and provide a warning that small children should be monitored when using the staircase.

I have stayed in a cottage with stairgates and they were a trip hazard as they were at the top of the stairs so made the situation worse!

SBH

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Lee3183 on 17/01/2020(UTC)
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