Offering living spaces and second homes for rent, presents economic opportunities; yet property owners should check if they are overlooking some special laws. In many European countries including Great Britain, there are special laws prescribed as standards for window treatment. Landlords should have awareness of such laws to ensure safe accommodation for renters, especially for families with young children.

Brief Background about Special Laws Prescribed as Standards for Window Treatments

As 28 fatal accidents involving toddlers and young children that took place in the UK since 1999, were due to entanglement with looped cords and chains of internal blinds the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) petitioned for a law that would ban the use of such items in window treatments .

The new law was introduced in 2014 as new standards that manufacturers, sellers, and installers of new blinds must strictly follow. The provisions of the new standard were developed in consultation with the British Standards Institute, the British Blind and Shutter Association as well as with the RoSPA.

However, since many homeowners had already installed Roman blinds or curtains with looped ropes or chains, those who offer such homes for rent should pay heed to the requirements of this special EU ruling. As home rentals are quite in demand during the holidays and especially for families with young children, landlords should see to it that all looped ropes and chains of already installed window treatments be retrofitted with safety devices.

The ruling had taken into consideration that at the time of implementation there were already about 200 million Roman blinds installed in UK homes throughout the country.

Homeowners became highly aware of the dangers that came with Roman blinds, and therefore took the initiative of replacing their window treatments with curtains instead. Manufacturers on the other hand, replaced the looped ropes and chains with a wand-like device for opening and closing the blinds.

Most rental accommodation offered for holiday letting are second homes that owners have given little attention to as far interior decors and window treatments are concerned. Today’s landlords should have awareness that they could be held liable if a repeat of similar accidents resulting to the entanglement and strangulation of children, takes place in a rented living space that they own.

What Are the Current Standards that Must Be Observed in the Manufacture or Use of Blinds

  • Blinds purchased prior to the new standards must be retrofitted with safety contraptions that prevent ropes, cords or chains from posing as safety hazards.
  • Manufacturers, sellers and installers must test all safety features of blinds used for internal purposes.
  • Manufacturers, sellers and installers must also test the efficiency of safety devices offered as retrofits for older blinds already installed as window treatments.
  • Blinds that still require the use of cords or chains must come with a measure that ends at a distance of 1.5 metres above the floor.
  • Packaging for all manufactured blinds must come with instructions and warnings as information provided at point-of-sale.

In the UK, providers of bespoke curtains make sure that their in-house designers and curtain makers are aware of the potential dangers posed by cords and chains. If requested as features of window treatments, their staff can give proper advice to homeowners, as the latter may be unaware of the standards prescribed by UK and EU laws.