If you are thinking of renting out your holiday home there are lots of things to think about, from planning your décor to what to charge for a weekend break.
One of the most important aspects though is often overlooked – Health and Safety. You’ll have certain responsibilities as a holiday home owner and the consequences for getting things wrong can be stiff.
Here are 5 tips for ensuring you are meeting Health and Safety requirements in your holiday cottage:
Tip 1: Get the right insurance in place
This one is absolutely vital and you shouldn’t have any paying guests in your holiday cottage until insurance is sorted. It’s essential to have Public Liability insurance (with minimum cover of £2,000,000) . After all your holiday home is now a business welcoming members of the general public.
You also need to make sure that your holiday home and all of your contents are protected with specific holiday home insurance. Accidents can happen and can end up being very costly if you don’t have the right cover in place.
We would strongly recommend choosing an insurance provider that deals specifically with the insurance needs of holiday cottages (for example Boshers) to ensure everything is fully covered should the worst happen. Find out more.
Tip 2: Do a general risk assessment
A comprehensive risk assessment will list any potential issues both inside and outside the holiday cottage and what you have done to minimise the risk to guests. This is something you can do yourself, but make sure you are objective. Walk round your property and list anything that could be an issue.
You’ll then need to make sure any hazards are eliminated or made safe. Examples include:
- Making sure any access paths to the property are clear
- Checking handrails are secure
- Balconies having proper railings in place
- Identifying (and rectifying) any slip and trip hazards
If your property is child-friendly then you should also identify and minimise specific risks to children. Examples include having stair-guards on steep staircases, non-slip mats in bathrooms, and child-proof locks on cupboards.
Tip 3: Take gas and electric safety seriously
It’s always best to consult an expert when it comes to gas and electric safety. You’ll need to have the right certifications in place such as PAT tests for electrical appliances and Gas Safety Certificates which should be annually renewed. Check the credentials of any engineers that you use and make sure they are fully accredited with the relevant bodies.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a necessity and it’s a legal requirement that they are audible and in full working order. You’ll also need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to show how efficiently your property uses energy.
Tip 4: Think about putting together an Access Statement
We have an ageing population so it is likely that a large proportion of potential guests could have some form of mobility issue. Putting together an honest Access Statement means guests can decide if your property will meet their needs.
There are also lots of things you can do to make your holiday home suitable for reduced mobility. This can range from having a downstairs bedroom and wet room to simple handrails. The Visit England website has lots of information on accessible tourism.
Tip 5: Hot Tubs need special care and attention
There are lots of reasons to think about getting a hot tub. They generate both higher rates and increased occupancy levels thoughout the year. However you must check with insurers whether you need an increased level of cover and ensure they are properly cleaned and maintained at all times.
The exact maintenance requirements will depend on the type of hot tub you have but they must be carefully followed to avoid any health issues.
Want to find out more?
Gorgeous Cottages have put together a useful document covering Health and Safety requirements in more detail. If you would like a copy of Holiday Letting and the Law please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gorgeous Cottages are the booking agents for around 175 of the finest Yorkshire holiday cottages.
Find out more about becoming a Gorgeous Cottages owner and give us a call on 01642 263 249 to discuss your requirements.