Helping to Make Sure You Comply
Holiday letting, as you can probably imagine is much like any other property-related industry and there are various rules and regulations that govern all sorts of aspects of running a holiday property as a business. However, don't let that worry you as we are one of the leading holiday letting agents in West Wales with over 300 owners already trusting us to get them the best return, we have years of experience and can support you from the very start.
Health & Safety
When you're letting out a holiday home, there are several things you'll need to consider with regards to the health and safety of your guests.
From checking the electrics and gas to ensuring child safety measures are met, and following the health and safety guidelines around any swimming pools or hot tubs at your holiday property. This may seem daunting, but with our years of experience, whatever you need, we're certain that we will have helped a property owner before with exactly the same concerns.
We'll also make recommendations to help make your life easier, such as keeping a record of any services and repairs in your holiday home and conducting ongoing checks throughout the year. What's more, as a flexible agent, we'll advise the best time to block out dates for maintenance, so you can keep on top of everything.
We're here to help smooth out the process, so if you have any further queries about holiday letting then please get in touch with our property experts, they'll go through everything with you and help you get the best out of your property.
Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment will need to be carried out for any property serving as a holiday let accommodation for paying guests.
There will be other things you might have to consider when it comes to fire safety in your property, however part of the reason why thousands of owners trust us to take the hassle out of holiday letting is that we can provide clear and simple information. We'll run you through the steps of how to reduce any potential risk in your home and guide you on what to expect.
If you would like any advice or further information on ways in which you can reduce the risk of fire in your holiday property then speak with us today, we'd be happy to help, and we will put you in touch with the right people to make sure you're properly covered.
Gas Safety Certificate
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords to ensure gas appliances, fittings and chimneys/flues provided for tenants are safe.
Your responsibilities if you let a property equipped with gas appliances are:
- Maintenance: pipework, appliances and chimney/flues need to be maintained safely. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, you should ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to service them annually.
- Gas safety checks: An annual gas safety check should be carried out on each gas appliance/flue. This will ensure gas appliances and fittings are safe to use. There is a legal requirement on you to have all gas appliances safety checked by a registered engineer annually and you also need to maintain gas pipework and flues in a safe condition. This is UK law.
- Records: A record of the annual gas safety check should be provided to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion, or to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy. If the rental period is less than 28 days at a time you may display a copy of the record in a prominent position within the dwelling. You’ll need to keep copies of the record for at least 2 years.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure anyone carrying out gas work on your property is Gas Safe registered – this is not only the law but the most important step to ensuring the safety of your tenants.
For more key information on short-term lets, you can also check out the download from the Gas Safe Register website here.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
Furniture has to comply with the The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Fire resistant labels are required on sofas, easy chairs, beds, mattresses, headboards and any piece of furniture that has foam interior. The purpose of the act is to encourage and set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. Display labelling is required to indicate the ignition resistance of each item of furniture and needs to be attached to all new furniture at the point of sale. Some items are excluded, but it's always worth checking which items need to have the correct labelling and thus making sure they conform. The regulations apply only to upholstered furniture supplied for domestic use, a type of use that implies a low fire hazard. Most holiday lets are regarded as constituting domestic use and, therefore, are covered by the regulations.
If you provide self-catering accommodation that contains upholstered furniture, the legislation applies to you. All furniture (new and second-hand) in your self-catering accommodation that is covered by the regulations must comply with certain safety tests.
Different types of accommodation require different levels of conformity. Hotels, for example, where furniture designed to cope with a greater fire hazard (e.g. hotel beds and chairs) is available and may be offered to you by some retailers. When re-equipping your self-catering property, it will normally be for you to decide whether or not you require the new furniture to meet these higher fire resistance standards. If in any doubt, check with your local fire authority.
Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
Although desirable, a swimming pool has to be assessed and treated as a danger area, especially with young children who could tragically drown or sustain a life-changing injury and leave you open to legal action. You need to ensure that you take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents because in the event of a serious incident investigations will focus on whether you were responsible.
What you can do to reduce swimming pool risks:
- Install a fence with a self-locking gate around the pool. The majority of drownings that occur in private pools could be avoided if pools were fenced off.
- Display signage around the pool stating that guests should not dive, run, indicate the depth of the water and that parental supervision is required.
- Set clear guidelines for the pool’s use in your welcome pack.
- Provide safety equipment such as a life hook, ring and a ladder/steps in the pool.
- A risk assessment should be carried out for guests and anyone working near the pool, for example, cleaners.
- Many accidents happen from slips and trips around the pool, a non-slip surface can help prevent this.
- Keep a record of any pool maintenance.
- Swimming pool legislation will differ depending on the country, so holiday homeowners should familiarise themselves with local regulations e.g. France.
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a useful guide that is available to download from their website. Managing health and safety in swimming pools, and it is worth checking this out as some swimming pools can be shared-use or communal depending on where the property is located.
- Check bunk beds, high chairs, and cots for sharp edges and signs of wear or damage
- All children’s furniture should be kept clean and well-maintained
- Cots and high chairs should include locking devices if wheels are present
- Bunk beds should be fitted with ladders suitable for a child’s use and should be checked regularly for flaws or damage
- When a bed base is more than 800mm above the floor, there must not be a gap in the base itself of more than 75mm
- Adequate barriers should be in place at the top of beds or bunk beds (at least 10cm from the top of a mattress) to prevent children falling
- High chairs should be free-standing and include a well-maintained 3-point harness at the very minimum
- A warning notice should be included on high chairs saying the harness must be used at all times, and that a child should not be left unattended whilst in the chair
- For clip-on high chairs, age and weight limitations should be clearly marked
A hot tub is a desirable addition to your holiday home’s garden, however, owners have a duty to assess hot tub health risks and comply with the Health and Safety Executive “guidance” on how to clean and maintain a hot tub. This post explains further with a link to the guidance.
Slips and trips
Have you taken safeguards to limit the risk of slips and trips in your holiday home? Fatal accidents happen, especially when guests are in unfamiliar surroundings.
You have a responsibility to ensure the safety of holidaymakers and employees. Regularly inspect your floors, rugs, mats, carpets and check for trip hazards. Check handrails are securely fitted, lighting is adequate and water spillages are minimised on bathroom floors.
Not forgetting external paths, the driveway, patios, steps, and decking are free of defects and slip hazards.
Your changeover checklist should have a procedure to identify hazards, so they can be rectified as soon as possible and be prevented from happening again.
(Bunk beds, high chairs and cots)
Do I need a special licence?
If you offer short-stay accommodation to overnight visitors, whether in serviced or self-catering accommodation, and you provide a device on which your guests can view TV programmes, you need to apply for a 'Hotel and Mobile Units Television Licence' (hotel licence). It should be noted that a licence is required regardless of whether the TV programmes are viewed through a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device.
Despite its name, the hotel licence encompasses accommodation ranging from hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and inns to holiday cottages, flats and chalets through to camping and caravan sites and narrowboats.
The TV Licensing Authority says that you should always take out a hotel licence if you are providing televisions for the use of paying guests. While staying on your property, guests are not covered by their home licence, with one exception: long-term hotel residents.
We have a dedicated network of tradespeople who we regularly contract out to.
No matter what your need, we will have someone on hand to help you out, and fix issues or provide a service at your property, whether it be routine or emergency.
We've built up this network for the benefit of our owners and if you let your holiday property with us, then you will immediately benefit from any and all of this expertise. You never know when you might need it.
Get the most from your holiday home and help your property reach its true booking potential.