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How much care do landlords owe their tenants?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by grumpydogwoman, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Just heard that there's more news on the drowning of those twins in Wales.

    Radio 4 says the family was living in a rented property and the twins drowned in a pond which the owner/landlord had previously used to stock fish for his koi carp business.

    So the landlord may be investigated and prosecuted (under which law I don't know) for allowing the family to rent an unsuitable property.

    Would this be fair?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Well i would have thought it the landlord's responsibility to ensure the property was 'safe' and therefore yes he could well be prosecuted.
    After all they've done it with landlords who have faulty boilers and caused deaths through CO2 inhalation.
  3. cosmosinfrance

    cosmosinfrance Star commenter

    There's a big difference between a pond and invisible carbon monoxide

    Allowing the tenants to rent an unsuitable property? Did the tenants not see the pond when they moved in? Did they ask for it to be filled in? My heart breaks for their loss but I can't quite see why it's the landlord's fault.
    InkyP, Lascarina, wanet and 2 others like this.
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    That seems different to me. A large fish tank has obvious risks that the tenant should have been aware of and taken action to avoid - supervision, asking for a cover or for it to be drained. Should the landlord have acted before renting the property - part of me says I would have done so he/she is guilty; part of me says the parents should take responsibility to keep their children safe as in putting up a stair gate or supervising children by a road.
    sabrinakat, wanet and grumpydogwoman like this.
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    The sad death of the twins was in Scotland, not Wales. Landlords have a responsibility for the safety of electric and gas installations, to check that soft furnishings are fire retardant and (in some circumstances) to install fire alarms.

    Beyond that, the Housing Act 2004 introduced a Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which allowslocal authorities to assess the condition of the property and any potential hazards. I don't think its compulsory and I don't know that it applies in Scotland.

    I feel desperately sorry for the parents, but the pictures show a very deep fish tank which really should have been filled in or at least securely covered given the age of the children.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  6. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    By whom is the real question
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  7. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    The landlord is selling a service that so far as he is concerned, must be free from foreseeable risks to his clients. Knowing that the property had a pond which presented a risk to young children he is remiss in letting it to them without taking precautions to make it safe.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  8. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Taking that to its logical conclusion then no landlord should ever rent a terraced house which opens directly onto a street to a family with small children.
  9. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I agree. I'm a bereaved parent but know that the care and safety of my children is my responsibility, not that of a landlord be they private or state.

    My heart goes out to those parents.
  10. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    And mine
    lindenlea and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Surely stairs are inherently dangerous. All windows ought to have limiters so that nobody could ever fall out. Should all rental properties have a fire escape?

    If there's any kind of fire must the landlord supply fireguards? That's a genuine question btw.

    Oh, and sorry. Yes, Scotland.

    I think that the provisions of the Housing Act as detailed by @florian gassmann seem reasonable but do you think there are any obvious omissions?
  12. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    I believe from experience that the answer to that is yes. At least for open fires.

    But I have no idea which particular bit of legislation covers it
  13. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I think that all rental properties are supposed to have some sort of fire escape window. OH used to sell replacement windows and one customer wanted all the windows to look the same but they should have had one window which could be used as a fire escape. They didn't want one so OH refused to sell them any windows.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    At least one has to be. (can be more depending on size of property)
    Usually these come without interior locks so whilst they can be closed and secured they cannot be locked and the key removed and lost.
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  15. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    It is beyond my comprehension how the parents could have allowed two tiny children anywhere near this water on their own. It is tragic that they have lost their little ones and that the little ones have lost their lives. But surely it was the parents' responsibility to supervise the children and they failed to do this.
  16. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I second Lascarina's thoughts. How and why were two 2 year olds outside without supervision? I have a 4 year old and we have live in a rented property with childproof locks on the windows. I've also turned down rental properties if I thought unsafe for a toddler/small child. That lake should have been covered by either the owner or tenants or both.....
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  17. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    If you rent a property with an open fire, you surely would ask for a fire guard.
    If you rent a property with a large fish tank in the garden, surely you would ask for it to be drained/covered/removed.
    If you have young children you wouldn't let them into the garden on their own.

    Things like fire retardant fabrics, carbon dioxide, safe boilers etc are not immediately visible, although the landlord must ensure there is regular certification.

    The landlord should have offered to remove or cover the tank, but the parents should not have allowed young children anywhere in the house unsupervised.
    wanet, sabrinakat and Lalad like this.
  18. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I don't know the details and it's unfair to speculate or judge but I read the parents thought the children were in their bedroom - it was early morning. I don't think they were playing out unsupervised.
    Just heartbreaking.
    ValentinoRossi and Dragonlady30 like this.
  19. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    When my children were little, we stayed in a holiday cottage with a swimming pool in France. OH went outside with the children - I thought they had all gone with him, but he thought the two-year-old had stayed with me. We only realised he was missing when we heard a shout from outside: two French workmen had found him at the bottom of the drive on the side of the busy road and brought him back.

    We were so, so lucky - but things could have been very different, and yes, we should have been supervising him more closely. If anything had happened to him, would it have been the fault of the cottage owner for not fitting a gate?
    foxtail3 and Dragonlady30 like this.
  20. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    There, but for the grace of God...
    You have to have eyes in the back of your head.

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