Spring is around the corner signalling the arrival of one of the most popular times of year to market or buy a property.  But whilst time might be spent boosting the house’s ‘kerb appeal’ and promoting its ‘spacious living accommodation’ or ‘generous garden’ to achieve a sale; causing potential buyers to wax lyrical about finding their dream home, all parties may be forgetting a serious safety issue that exists when buying or selling a property …

The initial response to either buying or selling a property that features automated gates is a positive one, in terms of the added security (as well as prestige) they are deemed to offer. But did you know, whether you are the home owner or the estate agent, that there is a duty – both legal and moral –  to take the appropriate steps to ensure the SAFETY of these devices? The very gates that are supposed to keep a family protected can, if not fitted and maintained correctly, be capable of killing or inflicting serious injury.  Prospective buyers, home owners and estate agents need to be aware that as many as 90% of automated gates in the UK are dangerous, meaning that there is a very strong possibility that any home which features automated gates may easily represent a significant threat.

Automated gates are machines and as such, should be installed in line with the correct protocol to ensure they do not represent a safety hazard, for either the new owners or anyone using the gates.  In addition to this, all automated gates should be regularly maintained – just as you would a car – to make sure that they continue to operate safely and that there are no obvious signs of wear and tear, or changes to the environment where the gate is sited, that could influence the overall safety of the installation.

As a homeowner, you should seek out a Gate Safe Aware installer (visit  http://gate-safe.org/find-installers to find your nearest installer)to have them check the gates before you agree terms with the estate agent.  As the estate agent Gate Safe’s advice would be to avoid the risk of being in breach of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), by always requesting sight of evidence of a recent maintenance check, ideally one undertaken by a Gate Safe Aware installer.  And as a buyer, always ask to see documentation to evidence the fact that the gate has been properly installed and regularly maintained by a suitably trained Gate Safe Aware installer.

Don’t be guilty of buying or selling a property with a hidden killer!  For more information on safe automated gates visit www.gate-safe.org.