Question over safety in holiday cottages

Hi all

I was just wondering if anyone knows anything about any H&S regulations covering holiday cottages? And/or the owners of holiday lets being obliged to inform guests/renters of any H&S 'issues' in their lets?

My OH rented a cottage in the south-west for a week. The owners had the cottage on a holiday website and AirBnB, and the OH rented it through AirBnB.

There were several issues with 'safety' in the cottage, including the stairs being very dangerous in our opinion, electrics issues, the cooker had problems, some doors jammed, etc, but the most 'severe' (for me) was the height of the doorways.

None of the doorways in the cottage were over 5'11'', some were around 5'5'' and one was only 5' high.

The kitchen ceiling was only 6'2'' high and a 'step' in the ceiling brought it down to 5'11' as did a ventilator fan that seemed to be redundant.

Being a person of 6'1'', I cracked my head several times, once severely enough to stun me for several minutes possibly causing a mild concussion (I base that on past medical experience and past concussions).

I'm NOT looking for compensation or anything like that, but I am annoyed that there was no mention of any 'height restrictions' in the cottage, no mention that the stairs might be difficult to negotiate for anyone with impaired mobility, etc.

When I looked around the internet to see what H&S covered such places, I was a bit surprised to find very little, and in AirBnB's case it appears there's absolutely nothing.

Anyone know anything about such issues...? :)
The atmosphere is currently filled with hypocrisy so thick that it could be sliced, wrapped, and sold in supermarkets for a decent price and labeled, 'Wholegrain Left-Wing, Middle-Class, Politically-Correct Organic Hypocrisy'.
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Comments

  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Posts: 5,665 Forumite
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    edited 10 September 2018 at 10:46AM
    I'm pretty sure they have to be safe and comply with relevant legislation. However your opinion of what is dangerous and what is considered dangerous by any regulations can be different. As far as I'm aware there is nothing considered dangerous about low ceilings or doorways. Otherwise every old building and pub would be considered unsafe. Cottages are known for being small and difficult for tall people.

    Taking a look I would expect rentals to have public liability insurance, have only soft furnishings complying with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 unless antique, have safe electrics, and have completed a fire risk assessment. As with standard rentals I would expect a holiday rental to require an annual gas safety certificate but don't know for sure if that's the case. I also don't know if a smoke alarm and CO alarm are legally required but would be recommended and risky not to have. Generally I'd expect the owners to assess the property and try to remove potential hazards but anything can be a potential hazard to someone so it's not an exact science.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • Kynthia wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure they have to be safe and comply with relevant legislation. However your opinion of what is dangerous and what is considered dangerous by any regulations can be different. As far as I'm aware there is nothing considered dangerous about low ceilings or doorways. Otherwise every old building and pub would be considered unsafe. Cottages are known for being small and difficult for tall people.

    Taking a look I would expect rentals to have public liability insurance, have only soft furnishings complying with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 unless antique, have safe electrics, and have completed a fire risk assessment. As with standard rentals I would expect a holiday rental to require an annual gas safety certificate but don't know for sure if that's the case. I also don't know if a smoke alarm and CO alarm are legally required but would be recommended and risky not to have. Generally I'd expect the owners to assess the property and try to remove potential hazards but anything can be a potential hazard to someone so it's not an exact science.
    Ta, and I take your points, but it is the first cottage I've stayed in where every doorway was below 6'. Normally one or maybe two were, but not all.
    The atmosphere is currently filled with hypocrisy so thick that it could be sliced, wrapped, and sold in supermarkets for a decent price and labeled, 'Wholegrain Left-Wing, Middle-Class, Politically-Correct Organic Hypocrisy'.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    Kynthia wrote: »
    As far as I'm aware there is nothing considered dangerous about low ceilings or doorways. Otherwise every old building and pub would be considered unsafe. Cottages are known for being small and difficult for tall people.

    I would expect information like this to be in the details.

    I've seen things like "staircase very steep so may be difficult for some people" - it wouldn't be very different to mention the low ceilings and doorways.

    If you're renting out and want to have happy customers who give good reviews, it makes sense to mention anything that might spoil people's holiday.
  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Posts: 5,665 Forumite
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    edited 10 September 2018 at 2:44PM
    Mojisola wrote: »
    I would expect information like this to be in the details.

    I've seen things like "staircase very steep so may be difficult for some people" - it wouldn't be very different to mention the low ceilings and doorways.

    If you're renting out and want to have happy customers who give good reviews, it makes sense to mention anything that might spoil people's holiday.

    It might make sense to do so, and reduce the chance of unhappy visitors, but these types of disclaimers are usually done around accessibility for those with disabilities. Also I doubt many would agree that low doorways in a cottage were a health and safety issue that should be dealt with somehow which seemed to be the point being made.

    OP if you think anything was genuinely against regulations, such as unsafe electrics, or could potentially cause harm, such as an obstruction preventing escape in a fire, no smoke alarm, a dangerous cooker, non-safety glass doors, etc then write to the owner with your concerns. They might not be aware of the problem or might not have realised the potential harm that could be caused, and they might make some changes or arrange repairs. You could also feedback about including information about the doorways too, as you would not have rented otherwise. If they are fairly short or have not been to the property much it might not have occurred to them how much of an issue it could be.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • Kynthia wrote: »
    It might make sense to do so, and reduce the chance of unhappy visitors, but these types of disclaimers are usually done around accessibility for those with disabilities. Also I doubt many would agree that low doorways in a cottage were a health and safety issue that should be dealt with somehow which seemed to be the point being made.

    When you say, 'should be dealt with somehow' did you think I mean should be modified in some way?

    All I meant was that potential renters should be aware of something that might have an adverse affect on them, like walking into one. It's slightly too late to find out such things when you arrive at the place imo, and that tends to make me think of being 'misled' somehow.

    In addition, if a fire did break out in such a property and smoke was present, getting out could be positively dangerous imo as you could easily run into one of the doorways.

    I'm just curious why H&S or building standards that apply generally, don't apply to holiday lets, although I can see the exceptions for historical/listed properties and when someone is forewarned of the conditions.
    The atmosphere is currently filled with hypocrisy so thick that it could be sliced, wrapped, and sold in supermarkets for a decent price and labeled, 'Wholegrain Left-Wing, Middle-Class, Politically-Correct Organic Hypocrisy'.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    -taff wrote: »
    All the definitions of 'cottage' that I have read include the word 'small' in them. This suggests to me that everything in them is going to be small, including stairways and door heights.
    Common sense would tell you that there is the disintct possibility that the door frames are going to be small.

    That's not the way it's used on holiday sites.

    Maybe "holiday houses" just doesn't sound as good as "holiday cottages".

    We've rented "cottages" that were recently-built modern houses.
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,465 Forumite
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    And do you look at a picture of these houses on the sites or are they a complete construction surprise?
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Posts: 5,665 Forumite
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    edited 14 September 2018 at 11:23AM

    I'm just curious why H&S or building standards that apply generally, don't apply to holiday lets, although I can see the exceptions for historical/listed properties and when someone is forewarned of the conditions.

    What H&S or building standards do you think don't apply to holiday lets? What is it exactly you think they are exempt from?

    Building standards only apply when a building is being built or modified and aren't applied retrospectively. So this would be the same for holiday lets or private residences. So rather than holidays lets being exempt from certain regulations, is it that you think there are regulations in existence which aren't?

    I agree it would make sense to describe a property so that people can make an informed choice. That doesn't make low doorways considered unsafe though.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • Gloomendoom
    Gloomendoom Posts: 16,550 Forumite
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    The problem is you are only six one. If you were taller, you would have developed an enhanced spacial awareness to enable you to duck when necessary.
  • f the owner won't mention it in the standard blurb, make sure you complete review sections of AirBnb or holiday cottage websites - I always read through these looking for additional info.
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    :) Proud Parents to an Aut-some son :)
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