Wording in Lodger contract covering guests, particularly safety of children

I am a live in landlord taking in 2 lodgers. I have addressed the safety measures required for adult tenants (and discussed whether the arrangement makes this an HMO with the local council)

I have an application from a potential lodger who mentioned a 3 year old relation who lives locally and may visit quite regularly. As I was looking for adult tenants I have not thought in detail about children in the house, though shelf units etc. are being secured to the walls. I’m thinking about what to include in the contract relating to potential child guests and whether there is anything I need to do in advance as a landlord.

Below is my first draft of the wording, which may be very far off the mark, inappropriate, or not??

While thinking about this I was also considering whether to put something about the proportion of time a lodger may have guests to stay overnight.

Has anyone already looked into these situations for lodgers or have any thoughts on approach?
Thank you

Draft wording:

c. The Lodger acknowledges that the house has been set up for adult tenants. If the Lodger intends to invite guests who are children or otherwise require additional safety measures, it is the Lodger’s responsibility to supervise their guests as required for their age and abilities. If the Lodger expects guests who may need additional safety measures, it is the Lodger’s responsibility to raise safety considerations with the Landlord so that suitable solutions can be agreed. Considerations include but are not limited to:
i. As a Victorian terrace, the Property has long, steep stairs and may require stairgates fitting.
ii. As a cat friendly home, there is a cat flap, which may need to be blocked.
iii. There is a fireplace in the living room where a fixed fireguard may be required.
iv. The balcony has railings which may require safety netting or boarding if young children will be present.
v. No furniture or objects that can be climbed on should be accessible from the balcony if young children are present.
vi. The balcony has stairs that may require a safety gate to prevent falls.

I’m afraid you cannot palm off these responsibilities on to your lodger. This is your legal requirement to deal with it as part of the housing act. Even more so if it is classed as an HMO.
It is not the tenants/ lodgers responsibility to be au fait with HSRS or fire safety. That is your job as a landlord.
There have been safety posts regarding this issue posted on the forum. I would advise you to read them.
We have had a child die in our borough after falling through an egress window fitted without a fire hinge. The landlord was culpable. I’m afraid you shall have to take precautions if you think there are risks.
You may want to speak to your local authority and see what they advise. If you do have to make adjustments you may want to reflect the cost in the lodger’s rent. Landlord’s do charge extra for children.

Thanks for your reply A_A Regular. I have already spoken with the council and met the requirements such as a linked fire alarm, window locks… etc. My concern relates more to things like stair gates and fire surrounds in the situation where none of my tenants are children. I’m not trying to palm responsibility off but rather make certain that I understand my responsibilities. For example, as I am renting to adults only, I have not planned to install stair gates. It was a passing comment that a potential tenant made about a sister and her young daughter coming to visit. This got me thinking, what is a landlord’s responsibility to guests of a lodger. If I was planning to rent to a family I would install child safety kit and yes, potentially charge more to compensate. But my question relates specifically to non-resident children that may visit.

there are simple retro fit child proof. catches for opening windows where the opening window has a cill height of less than 800 mm .As for gates up the stairs I do not feel that this is a landlord fix… Officer at council will advise.

Also regarding HMO, it is not one as I am a resident landlord taking in 2 lodgers. The council has confirmed this in writing. However I am setting the house up in line with most HMO requirements as I feel that if they make sense from a safety point of view, I would rather have them in place. But the fact it is not an HMO is part of why I am also interested in the impact of lodgers having guests stay over night. I imagine that if their guests were to stay more than a minimal amount, this could impact on the non-HMO status.

Sorry, I did not mean to sound derogatory.
I would speak to the NRLA in the morning or your solicitor and see what they advise. You need to know about worst case scenario.
As far as I am aware this is the landlord responsibility. The child that died was a guest and our LA said it was our responsibility.
There is a lecture by David Princep on the the Landlord Course from this year where he discusses HSRS and the legal requirements. The way it is calculated is based upon a vulnerable person 12 months from now not the current tenants in situ. Hence why the LA have said it is the landlord responsibility.

If two lodgers are from separate households in total that would be three people from separate households which is an HMO. Unless the two lodgers are related.

The council confirmed to me in writing that it is not an HMO as it is slightly different when the landlord is a resident landlord renting to lodgers

If it was me I would take legal council. People are very quick to blame and we live in an ‘ambulance chaser’ culture.

Thank you. I will call NRLA and hopefully the window child proof locks should be an easy solution to that part of it. I am very sorry for the landlord who had to deal with the death of a child - this is the nightmare scenario.

There is an exemption to the HMO regulations in the Housing Act 2004 for taking 2 lodgers, but it is only available to owner occupiers, not just landlords who are themselves renting.

Thanks, yes that’s how I’ve understood it