This category is for articles relevant to owners of Self-Catering Cottage Complexes in the UK. It contains posts, articles and tips on many areas of managing Holiday Cottage Complexes, including maintenance, guest facilities, business rates and insurance.  Check out these posts, Guide to outdoor play equipment for holiday cottages, Specialist Insurance for Holiday Cottage Complexes, Business Rates for Holiday Cottage Complexes

self-catering cottage businessHaving the right insurance cover will help you run your self-catering cottage business with confidence. As a holiday letting insurance specialist we have pulled together a few pointers to consider when insuring your cottage complex:

  • Don’t forget however many bookings you take, you are running a self-catering cottage business

There are a wide range of properties being made available for holiday letting. You may holiday let an annexe of your main home, stable or barn conversions, a gate house, or even shepherd’s huts that you intend to holiday let. If they are within the grounds of your home, be sure to make your home insurers aware, as they often do not like businesses being run from the premises and you risk invalidating your cover. Seeking advice from a holiday letting insurance specialist will help you ensure you get the right cover for both the holiday cottage business and your home.

  • Make sure you have the right liability cover for holiday letting

Inviting paying guests into holiday accommodation will inevitably see the occasional slip, trip or injury. It’s vital that you have sufficient Public Liability cover and if you have a hot tub or swimming pool there is a greater risk of Legionellosis so check you also have cover for this. You may employ gardeners, maintenance and housekeeping staff for changeovers. If you do, it is a legal requirement for you to have Employers Liability insurance. Remember, even if you are directing the work of self-employed contractors or employing friends to work on your property, you’ll still need this cover.

  • Protect your income, not just your assets

Loss of income whilst a cottage is unavailable following a claim is often overlooked. Make sure your policy covers all potential bookings lost, not just pre-booked holidays. Your property may be unavailable for a sustained period in the event of a major loss such as a fire, flood or burst pipe, ensure your self-catering cottage business income is fully protected.

  • Heed guidance if you are providing facilities to your guests

Many owners provide additional facilities to help attract guests and secure increased occupancy levels. This may be outdoor play equipment, a swimming pool, sauna or hot tubs. Equally we see pets’ corners, fishing lakes and wedding venues. To protect yourself and your guests, risk assess your additional facilities, provide instruction leaflets and refer to RoSPA safety guidelines. Remember to inspect equipment regularly. Declare all facilities to your insurers and be aware that your policy may contain conditions that you need to follow.

Get the right insurance advice for your self-catering cottage business

The team here at Boshers devote their time to advising owners across the UK on insurance for their self-catering cottages. We’ve been arranging this specialist type of insurance for 30 years. We understand that each self-catering cottage business is unique. We’ll take time to understand your needs and provide you with insurance advice and the right cover.

For additional tips and information on holiday letting visit boshers.co.uk/blog. If you would like an insurance quote for an individual holiday home or cottage or for your self-catering cottage business, give the team a call on 01237 429444.

business rates
business rates for holiday cottage complexes

Business rates are a burden for many businesses across the country.  With the recent emergence of the ‘sharing economy’ and an explosion of listings onto platforms such as AirBnB in recent years (there are more than 60,000 in London alone), many holiday cottage complex owners have been left looking over the fence at those offering accommodation free from the taxation they face in running their own tourism businesses.

Professional Association of Self Caterers (PASC UK) lobbying on business rates

In January 2019, the Professional Association of Self Caterers (PASC UK), who are the only association dedicated to lobbying on behalf of the sector across the UK, secured a change to the way that rateable values are calculated for some self-catering businesses throughout England and Wales after more than a decade of urging for adjustments to be made.

The alteration effects the percentages the Valuation Office uses in order to arrive at the businesses’ rateable value, with the result meaning a potential reduction of approximately one-third for many holiday cottage complex owners with five holiday letting units or above. 

As the owners’ input into the business is now taken into consideration, it’s set to potentially benefit those small businesses that manage both the bookings and the guest welcome themselves, and where the self-catering business is a primary income stream for the owners.

Further information on ratable values

You can find further information on how rateable values have been reduced and the potential impact on your own business rates here:  https://www.pascuk.co.uk/business-rates

Businesses should be able to apply for the reduction directly, with those successful able to claim back any overcharge to April 2017, when the current revaluation became effective.

Alistair Handyside MBE, who leads PASC and has been in the self-catering industry for more than 15 years said “Although this is a major breakthrough, it still leaves business rates too high for those self-catering businesses that do not benefit from the £12,000 threshold.  PASC UK continues to get futher change from the Valuation Office and the organisation is part of a wide group lobbying for fundamental change to business rates.” PASC UK is also working on a number of other areas that directly effect holiday home and complex owners including the reinstatement of inheritance tax relief for genuine tourism businesses and ensuring the sector is safe and legal. For more information about them please visit: https://www.pascuk.co.uk/

Guidance on insurance for holiday cottage complexes and quotes are available from the Boshers friendly team on 01237 429444.

electric-vehicle-charging-point-holiday-home

electric-vehicle-charging-pointHave you considered how installing an electric vehicle charging point could help attract more guests? The government announced it would ban the sale of new (non-hybrid) petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Many felt that this was such a long time into the future that the likelihood of it altering car buying patterns in the mid to short term were relatively remote.

Key developments from companies such as Volvo, who will no longer offer cars with only an internal combustion engine after 2019, have this week been followed by Oxford Town Council, who have indicated plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from their city centre from 2019 onwards.

With the tide of change rolling quicker than anticipated through the motor industry, some holiday homeowners have already been proactive in installing electric charge points for those guests that already own an electric car, and the increasing number that will in the future.

We take a look at your options and potential costs of installing your own electric vehicle charging point.

How many electric cars are there in UK?

Latest figures indicate there are 128,500 electric cars registered within the UK. Whilst this figure isn’t overly high, the growth in sales over the past four years has been. Over 123,000 electric vehicles registered over that period (88 per day).

What if the current growth rate continues over the next two years? It’s estimated there will be more than one million electric cars making their way around the UK before 2020.

What are your options when it comes to electric vehicle charging points?

Solutions available for your own holiday home will depend where your guest’s cars are located during their stay. The good news is that there are a variety of different options that can suit cars parked in the driveway, or cars parked within a garage.

The main difference in the offering is whether or not the charge point is freestanding or wall mounted, with the freestanding option obviously giving greater potential flexibility in terms of positioning.

Charging speeds can be at either 3kW or 7kW, with faster and higher powered wall units being roughly twice as fast, but as you may expect, they will be more costly than the slower option.

How much will it cost to install an electric vehicle charging point?

The prices vary from company to company but as an example, British Gas offer three different price ranges, depending on the type of unit you opt for. If you would like a single wall-box charger which are stated to be ‘ideal for small businesses with one or two electric cars’ their current price is from £1,480 for the unit and installation. Holiday cottage complex owner’s with multiple holiday lettings may require something more sophisticated, such as installing a freestanding charger, which starts at £6,330.

Are you are keen to avoid this initial outlay? Increasingly plug-in car manufacturers are offering deals or partnerships with charging point producers. In some cases these can provide a free home charging point.

There are partnerships available with Tesla for Destination Charging. Qualifying properties receive two Tesla Wall Connectors at no cost on the condition that they are installed in visible or convenient locations. You can read more here.

How much will it cost to charge a car?

When installing an electric vehicle charging point there may be concerns it will lead to a rocketing electricity bill. This is generally not the case. Electric charging usually costs around 20% of the price of fuel (as an average). This is however an increased cost to your holiday home (you wouldn’t usually top up their cars with fuel during their stay). Therefore it is important to establish how you’ll pass this cost on to your guests.

So do you want to charge your visitors per use, offer a flat rate, or offer the use of the charging point as an inclusive facility? This will all depend on how much the charging point will be used. Offering the facility will no doubt attract more guests who drive electric vehicles. You could also consider different charges for off-peak and peak seasons. The key here is to be up front and open about your pricing for those staying with electric vehicles.

Your holiday home insurance

Always update your insurer of any changes or alterations made to your holiday home business. Adding an electric charging point is no different. Be sure to use approved professional installers and providers. This will ensure reliability for your guests and quality of service for you as the holiday cottage owner.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, call us on 01237 429444.

Outdoor Play Equipment

Outdoor Play EquipmentWith spring and summer ahead, it will be natural for holiday cottage guests to start spending more time outside. For many families, having the space and facilities for kids to play during their stay is important. For this reason installing outdoor play equipment, if you haven’t already got it, could be a great idea.

If you’re looking to purchase or replace outdoor play equipment at your holiday home or cottage complex, there are a few things for you to consider. Let’s take a look at what those are before you take the plunge…

Invest in quality outdoor play equipment

When it comes to your holiday home it’s essential that you invest in the highest quality equipment available. It not only reduces the risk of accidents as a result of faulty parts or poor construction, it will also last longer, making it a solid long term investment.

We always recommend purchasing any play equipment from a reputable seller, and always follow installation and maintenance guidelines, as tempting as it may be to believe you don’t need the instructions.

Whilst insurance policies tend to come with public liability as standard. You have a duty of care to take reasonable precautions to reduce any potential risks to your guests. Make sure that any play equipment carries the CE or GS mark. Equally it is important that the equipment is installed, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturers guidelines. (It’s worth keeping a log of when you last checked it, and other things such as when it is stored inside for winter).

What is the recommended age?

Not all outdoor play equipment is suitable for all ages, so make sure that you’re clear on what age group your outdoor play equipment is suitable for. Ensure that this age is explicitly stated in your welcome information pack, and stress to families that children above and below that age should not be using the equipment.

Essential safety features

Making your new outdoor play equipment as safe as possible. Thus ensuring that your guests have a safe stay in your cottage. Only install equipment that can be secured to the ground. Also it’s important to provide children with plenty of space around the equipment. This is particularly important with items such as trampolines, which will dictate a safe distance in their literature. Check that ropes have protection against wear at their fixing points on swings, and that the sides of slides are at least 64mm high.

Climbing frames must not be any more than 2 metres high. Any equipment that is over 0.6 meters high must have an impact absorbent surface beneath.

Regular inspections

Detailed monthly inspections of play equipment need to be carried out to ensure that it is fit for use. Ropes, bolts, and security must all be checked and repaired or disposed of as necessary. You will also need to frequently clean the equipment.

Always keep a record of when maintenance checks have been undertaken and be sure to have a process for undertaking this activity in place.

Do you have a sand pit?

If you do then you’ll need to be be aware of Toxocariasis, an infection caused by worms commonly found in the intestines of dogs. Children who come into contact with contaminated sand or soil are at risk. We recommend that sand pits are covered when not in use. Animal faeces should be cleaned up at the earliest opportunity. If your accommodation is dog friendly then it’s good to make sure guests are aware of this in their welcome pack.

Check your holiday cottage insurance cover

When making any changes, we always encourage clients to let us know. Play equipment of the type can be found in many DIY stores and some garden centres. Outdoor play equipment carrying the CE or GS mark will generally be fine. It should always be installed, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines. It is always worth getting in touch with your holiday home insurance broker for guidance when adding additional facilities.

Please note that this article on outdoor play equipment and guest safety is only intended as an overview of what you need to be doing in each of these areas.  For further information please contact the relevant authority and read up on all procedures and requirements. Please read the ROSPA guidance which can be found here.

If you have questions about outdoor play equipment and your policy, get in touch on cottages@boshers.co.uk

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Require a quote for your holiday apartment, cottage or complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Insurance for Holiday Cottage Complex

Insurance for Holiday Cottage ComplexAs a holiday cottage complex owner does the sound of teaming up with an intermediary specialising in insurance for holiday cottage complexes sound appealing? With more than 25 years experience of insuring properties just like yours, we’re here to help you.

What do we mean when we use the words ‘specialist insurance’? We devote our time to advising on insurance for holiday cottage complex owners and individual holiday homes across the country. We speak to owners each and every day; we understand what they want and what they need from their insurance provider, and from their insurance policy.

We believe our insurance helps and supports you when you need it the most; here are just a few examples of how our holiday complex insurance will do that for you…

Insurance for Holiday Cottage Complex Owners that includes £10m Public and Products Liability Cover

It stands to reason that the more cottages you own, the more visitors you’re likely to have during the year, and in particularly during those busy summer months.

It’s therefore vital that you have a sufficient amount of Public Liability cover.

Public liability insurance covers the legal liability of the policyholder for accidental bodily injury to third parties or damage to their property.

If for example, a visitor to one of your cottages sustained a serious injury as the result of an accident whilst staying with you, our insurance policy would cover you up to the sum of £10,000,000 in any single incident.

£10m Employers Liability Cover

Most holiday home complexes will employ people to work inside or outside of their properties, for example in the form of gardeners, maintenance and housekeeping staff for those all important changeovers.

If you do, it is a legal requirement for you to have Employers Liability insurance and this will cover you against injury or illness sustained in the course of their employment.

Remember, even if you are directing the work of self-employed contractors or employing friends to work on your complex during busier periods, you’ll still need this cover.

Accidental Damage

Sometimes accidents happen.  As we’ve already said, you’ll have a large number of guests staying with you each year, which can in turn make a mishap all the more likely.

Should a guest spill red wine on that wonderful new carpet you’ve laid, or cause damage to any of your properties as the result of an accident, Boshers will be able to cover you for the damage subject to the policy excess.

Theft or attempted theft, even when your cottage is occupied

A holiday is a time when most of us will let our guard down, and also spend a lot of time exploring, rather than inside a holiday home.  For this reason, holiday cottages can become targets for thieves, and despite the larger numbers of visitors on site at a holiday complex at any given time they are not immune to this.

We’re able to offer theft cover to complex owners, even when your cottages are occupied by paying guests.

Home Insurance too!

Want to have all of your insurances in one place? That’s not a problem; we’re also able to offer our complex owners the same high level of service and experience for their home insurance too.

Tailored and experienced

When you take out insurance with Boshers we’ll tailor the sums insured to make sure you have the right policy for your needs.  We’ll also talk you through all of the areas of cover we offer, along with why and when you may need them. We also understand that your cottage complex may have additional facilities such as hot tubs, swimming pool, a games room or pets corner to name but a few.

Additional guidance on insurance for holiday cottage complexes and quotes are available from the Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Team on 01237 429444.

For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you: