Sash windows

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    Sash windows

    My three bed property that I am about to rent out is above another dwelling so basically to the rear of the house it is three storeys. The property has the original sash windows that open upwards and I am concerned that if anyone fell out of the windows ie. a child, that I would be held responsible. Does anyone know my legal position on this matter. I do not want to replace the windows as they add to the character of the house.

    Maybe you could fasten a wooden batten in the running track above the lower sash so it will only open four inches or so?
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


      I agree. And window locks operable by the tenant would be a good idea.

      Ensure the windows work properly (ie both halves of the sash open), then the parents can control which bit's open. Any open window can be a danger if the child is very inquisitive - the parents have to be responsible and not leave the kid alone in a room with open windows if there's any danger of them falling out, or fit window bars etc.
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


        I would suggest a sash window stop, which double as window locks.

        You fit them to the top left and top right of the upper transom of the inner sash and the lower L/H and lower R/H of the outer one. You drill through both timber sections and a rebated "nut" is put in the outer frame and a "bolt" put in the inner sash. When aligned you turn the bolt with a key , it crosses the gap and secures the windows.

        You then fit a second "nut" in the outer frame at the point you want to have the window opened up to, say 2 inches.

        The advantage is that unlike a batten as suggested, is that you can still open and close the window freely for clanging painting etc, while it is very secure. It would also take a very talented child to find the key and open the "screw".
        Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


          I doubt you would be liable in the event of the type of accident you describe when the windows are of a completely standard and traditional type. If you are concerned, however, then the best way to be sure is to seek the opinion of a barrister specialist in landlord and tenant law.


            I have taken advice on this in the past.

            As a first principle whether you are ultimately liable is one thing, going through the process of litigation is however expensive and wearing.

            A morning's DIY and £30 to £50 of bits and a box of digestives and PG tips is often the cheaper and rest easy option. As is liability and legal expenses insurance.

            In case of liability the court would consider the repair and use of the property, it's suitability for let, and the actions and behaviour of a reasonable tenant.

            So take a hob, the landlord would have to ensure it is enclosed at any exposed side, except the front, and a tenant would have to ensure a child did not reach up for a pot handle.

            A tenant however would be expected to fit their own plug covers or a child gate on stairs.

            Windows however as standard do pose a risk where the prevention of an incident involves an alteration that a landlord would be responsible for or at the very least require their consent were a tenant to propose it. It is reasonably foreseeable that a window is a potential fall, and an open door like wise.

            A reasonable parent would take steps to secure their windows where required but as tenants, might not. A prudent landlord would seek to avoid risks to themselves, then their tenant's, and the marketing benefits of being "child friendly".

            Window locks and burglary chains, and even good locks on gates etc, benefit all and in some cases lower insurance premiums.
            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


              Dear Norma,

              It is totally understandable in this day and age of litigation and blame to be conscious of
              everything, and in this respect Leaseholdanswers is quite right.
              We have recently advised the English Language Centre of a similarissue. Sash stops, or vent locks, in this case are a quick and safe way to prevent the sash
              window from opening higher than you would wish. Glad you are maintaining the heritage by keeping your windows, too. Good Luck.


                Just to be clear, as a LL you cannot be held liable, rather than going through all the arguments again, please see this thread, although relating to safety glass, the arguments are the same:

                So, you can only be held liable for accidents that are due to disrepair or your own negligence in installing or supplying a product - unless there is a statutory duty to supply something. For this reason if you install a safety lock yourself and it fails, then you could be liable for that, so unless the install is easy and you are very competent, it might pay to get a window co to install a safety device.

                So while you don't have a duty, it will still pay to do it to open up your property to family tenants.
                caveat emptor
                If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.


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