The accidental landlord
AFTER years of letting to students, young professionals and childfree couples, I’m quite nervous about letting to a family with two small children. This toddler and his infant sister might look innocent with their big brown eyes and adorable smiles, but they can’t fool me. I’m a mum and I know how destructive children can be.
As their mother proudly introduces me to her two bundles of joy, all I can see are four sticky hands that are going to smear gunk all over the walls of my flat, and four little feet that will tread mashed banana and Play-Doh into the carpets.
However, it’s not the mess they are bound to make that’s really bothering me. What worries me most is that these two little kids might sustain an injury in my flat, which wasn’t really designed with families in mind.
It’s a long time since my own children were small, so I can’t remember exactly what you need to do to childproof a home. As a parent, I didn’t rely on safety devices such as stair gates and socket covers, preferring instead to train my brood not to throw themselves headfirst down the stairs or poke their fingers into electrical sockets. But as a landlord, I am responsible for making sure the property is safe for all occupants, including children.
So before the family arrives, I walk through the flat looking for potential hazards. All the windows are high and they all have locks, so no worries there, and the only glass door is safety glass, so should withstand a flung rattle or plastic toy, or a child slamming into it.
However, I notice for the first time that the Venetian blinds covering all of the windows have cords that dangle to the floor. I wonder if these are a hazard, and when I Google “are blinds dangerous” I discover that yes, they are potentially deadly, as small children can get the cords tangled