Legal and Setting Up
Our guide to ensuring your guests are safe and well looked after
Looking after your guests is paramount to ensure not only their safety but their quiet enjoyment of your home. The legal and regulatory environment for renting your property to guests can be a bit of a minefield so we’ve provided a guide to your major obligations and as an owner and operator of a holiday let. We hope this guide puts your mind at ease but if you have any questions then please get in touch with one of the team.
WHAT INSURANCE COVER DO I NEED?
If you’re renting out your home to paying guests you will need to take out public liability insurance. This will typically cover you for legal costs and expenses if anyone is injured whilst staying at the property. You may also want to get enhanced cover for loss of rental income for a fire or flood at your holiday home as well as to cover damage from guests.
We recommend that holiday let owners get specialist insurance to cover their holiday home when renting it out to third parties. Not only does this ensure you are covered for all eventualities it will also give you peace of mind when renting out your property.
WHAT LAWS AND REGULATIONS DO I NEED TO COMPLY WITH?
There are a number of laws relating to health and safety that you will need to observe when letting out your property as a holiday let or short-term rental:
- BUILDINGS REGULATIONS: if you are making any modifications to your home you should check whether you need buildings regulations approval. For new build properties you should obtain a compliance certificate from the builder.
- GAS SAFETY: all your property’s gas appliances need to be tested at least one per year by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Carbon monoxide alarms also need to be fitted in any room in which there are gas or fossil fuel burning appliances. These should be checked regularly, and batteries replaced where necessary.
- FIRE SAFETY: you should conduct a fire safety assessment ahead of renting your property out to guests. The following is a list of recommended steps:
- Install smoke alarms in the kitchen, hallways and any rooms with an open fire or log burner
- Provide wall-mounted fire blankets in any kitchens along with fire extinguishers
- Open fires and log burners should have guards fitted
- Doors should open from the inside and be free from any potential obstructions
- Furniture should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
- ELECTRICAL SAFETY: your holiday let must have appliances PAT tested at least once a year and pass an electrical safety inspection every five years including an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
- CHILD SAFETY: if you are welcoming small children into your holiday let you will need some equipment such as highchairs, cots and stair guards. In addition, we recommend the following:
- Check that all furniture is free from sharp edges
- Bunk beds should have an adequate ladder and guard to prevent a child from falling out
- Highchairs should be stable and free-standing with a lock
- Windows should have adequate child proof locks and shouldn’t be left open and unattended
- Access to unsupervised water bodies should be restricted by a gate
- WATER SAFETY: you are advised to inform guests where bodies of water might a present potential hazard:
- Swimming pools that are not supervised at all times should have an adequate warning and your pool should have depth markings and a no-diving sign to indicate depths of 1.5 metres and below
- If you own a hot tub the water should be changed and pH tested regularly
- Guests should be warned not to submerge their heads in the hot tub
- Guests should not spend excessive amounts of time in the water, be unsupervised or drink alcoholic beverages in the pool or hot tub
- All chemicals should be stored in a lockable cupboard
- OUTDOOR AREAS: outdoor areas can be hazardous, particularly in the dark, rain or snow so we recommend the following actions:
- Provide automatic motion-sensor lighting that lights up as your guests approach
- Keep paths and steps clear from debris and ice and snow in the winter
- Ensure all steps have railings and all areas where a there is a potential fall hazard are adequately protected
- GENERAL HEALTH & SAFETY: the above is a non-exhaustive list and you should always use due care and attention in providing your holiday accommodation:
- Ensure carpets are secure to floors and there are no trip hazards
- Replace broken kitchen and bathroom floor tiles
- Replace all broken lightbulbs and regularly check outdoor lighting
- Provide non slip mats in bath and shower rooms
- Place warning signs on low ceilings or door frames
- Ensure shower drainage is adequate and water does not pool
- Instructions should be provided for use of saunas and spa facilities including warnings against use by pregnant women or those with heart problems
- An adequate warning alarm should be provided nearby
- Any floor to ceiling windows should be made of safety glass
Please note that we aim to keep this information as up to date as possible and regularly check the relevant laws and regulations but please do not consider this an exhaustive list and seek your own advice from a health and safety professional if you have any concerns.
Please get in touch with the team if you would like further information.