The Government’s indicative roadmap out of lockdown has prompted a boom in both UK and foreign holiday bookings, with the BBC reporting earlier this year that enquiries for UK holiday cottages were up by 300%. However, many still suspect that booking a UK holiday this summer might be a safer bet than an overseas trip.
News that self-catering holiday accommodation in the UK is in short supply might prompt those who own second homes, or farms and estates with cottages, to speed up plans to enter the holiday accommodation market.
If you’re thinking about letting a property as a holiday rental, what should you consider?
Check the terms of any mortgage over the property and whether the lender’s consent is required for the property to be let as holiday accommodation. If such use is prohibited you may need to re-mortgage.
Health and safety
Before your property can be rented, there are multiple health-and-safety compliance issues to consider, such as ensuring fire safety compliance (including a fire-risk assessment and appropriate smoke-alarm systems), ensuring gas and electrical safety compliance and making sure the furniture is fire-retardant. Some high-risk items, such as climbing-frames, trampolines, canoes or ponds, may need to be fenced off and made inaccessible rather than left available for use, which could risk a personal injury claim.
More than ever, guests will be concerned about cleanliness, therefore careful thought needs to be given to coronavirus deep-cleaning procedures.
You’ll need to get speciality insurance because a domestic insurance policy isn’t sufficient for a holiday let. You may also need employer’s liability insurance to cover gardeners or cleaning staff.
Generally speaking, if a property is let for more than 20 weeks or 140 days per year, it will be subject to business rates rather than domestic council tax.
Planning and title
Check there are no restrictions in the planning permission for your property or its title, restricting or prohibiting holiday accommodation use.
Consider appointing a professional letting agent to advertise the property on your behalf and manage the bookings.
Terms and conditions
Properties with a regular turnover of holidaymakers are likely to suffer more wear and tear than those let to a longer-term tenant. Consider money you need to put aside for maintenance and repair.
If you’re considering letting a property and would like advice, please do get in touch with our property solicitors. Meanwhile, fingers crossed for holidays with friends and family this summer!