Providing a safe, hazard-free environment for your family is a parent’s greatest responsibility. But it’s not your responsibility alone.
Tenants cannot engage in repairs or modifications on their own. It’s the landlords responsibility to ensure the property is safe for use and free of any health hazards. On the other hand, they rely on their tenants to monitor the condition of the property and keep them informed.
Therefore it is important to have a good relationship with your landlord, and that you know your rights regarding the health and safety of your family. Requesting any changes to the property can be challenging, especially if its expensive.
In this article we’ll explore what childproofing solutions you can try out on your own and give you some tips on how to communicate with your landlord for more serious hazards.
Serious issues in rented properties
One common problem in rented properties is mould and damp, which can be harmful to children’s health. We have a dedicated guide on on treating mould in the home, and also on when to contact your landlord if there are repairs or maintenance that could help reduce the problem.
Try and keep your home ventilated and avoid keeping laundry indoors.
Get in touch with your landlord if you think there is a serious problem like penetrating damp or rising damp. Sometimes the problem can alleviated by filling any holes on the exterior of the property and resealing windows and doors.
If there are any exposed wires, leaks or unsafe sockets, you need to ask your landlord to repair these, as it is your right to have a safe property in a good state of repair. Take photos of the issues for evidence with timestamps too, just in case you need to prove that the issue exists.
Make sure all gas appliances are in good functioning order by checking the gas safety certificate. It shouldn’t be older than 12 months or your landlord is in breach of their obligations.
Check and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every week to ensure they are in excellent condition. Gas poisoning is especially dangerous to small children, so stay vigilant.
Be aware of special risks for children
Make sure you are aware of the latest baby and toddler safety advice, and incorporate this guidance into your home. Risks to babies and children can include:
- Exposed wires and unsecured power sockets
- Burns on various cooking and heating appliances and hot water
- Poisoning from household chemicals
- Falling from unsecured staircases
- Chocking small household objects like button batteries
Some of these come down to developing safety habits at home. Read up on any potential hazards and make sure anything that could harm your child is stored out of reach.
Childproofing you can do on your own
If there are plug sockets in reach of children, there are now many effective, childproof socket covers on the market that will solve this problem. You can finish this task on your own, since you’re modifying anything that’s already there.
Another great way to childproof your home is to invest in magnetic locks or childproof locks for your cupboards. These have no lasting damage, and are very effective at preventing children from opening things they shouldn’t. Store your cleaning solutions, matches, and other potentially hazardous materials in locked cupboards to avoid trouble.
Negotiating with your landlord for more serious issues
Stairs can be a big hazard when it comes to child safety, so install a stair gate. Long loops and cords on window blinds could be a strangulation hazard.
Sticking nails, sharp metal corners and rough wooden edges can result in cuts and tears. Children can’t be expected to pay attention and act safely around such obstructions, so the landlord should take measures to secure them.
Speak to your landlord about these concerns as soon as possible. Get their approval to make changes.
If a landlord is unresponsive, try to negotiate and offer to handle the work and discount the cost of materials and tools from the rent. Be polite, but firm.
If they show no intention of improving the safety of your property, make a record of the problem areas and contact the local council. You have a right to rent a hazard-free home. The Environmental Health department at your local council can inspect your property and issue fines to your landlord as well as an improvement notice. Your landlord will be more likely to remedy the issues than deal with all the hassle.
Another important aspect of making your home safe for children is ensuring that you have the a proper home security system. Advances in security technology now mean that home security systems have a range of handy features, like cameras, motion sensors and wireless connection to your smart phone.
With smart positioning they can serve a double purpose. For example, you can keep an eye on your baby while you’re in the other room. And, keep the doors locked to prevent your toddler from accidentally running outside while you’re busy with chores.
Connected smart cameras and door locks make that hassle free.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our category.
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