This category is all about Health and Safety Guidance for owners of holiday homes, cottages and complexes in the UK. It contains posts, articles and tips on many areas of managing a safe and legal Holiday Letting business. It includes articles, tips and guidance on fire safety, risk assessments, electrical circuit safety and PAT testing, Carbon monoxide safety and so much more. Check out these posts, Does your holiday home need a fire alarm system? Holiday Home Industry Code Of Practice, Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting.

Ensure your holiday home is safe to let and reduce the risk of holiday home insurance claims in 2011. We have compiled this holiday home pre-season maintenance checklist as an aide memoire, it is not an exhaustive list so feel free to leave your own comments and suggestions below.

Your holiday home

  1. Do you have GAS APPLIANCES? If you do, have you arranged for your GAS SAFETY registered engineer to (a) service your gas appliances and central heating boiler in accordance the manufacturers instruction?; And (b) to carry out an annual gas safety check? For more guidance click here
  2. Do you have Oil Fired Heating? If you do have your heating engineer service your applicances and boiler in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and carry out a safety check. Be aware that heating oil thefts are on the rise! For more guidance click here
  3. Do you have an open fire, stove or wood burner? If so have you had your chimney swept recently?
  4. Mains water tap – ensure you can turn it on and off. Do your guests know where to find it incase of an emergency?
  5. Inspect your roof for signs of slipped slates or tiles and have repairs carried out where necessary.
  6. Have you checked your smoke detectors and changed the batteries if not hard wired? Diary for periodic checks. 

Your holiday home garden

  1. Arrange for your drains, gutters and downpipes to be inspected to ensure they are clear of leaves and debris which may cause blockages.
  2. Repair broken fences, gates and boundary walls.
  3. Consider cleaning garden paths, patios and steps to remove any build up of moss, lichen and algae, to reduce the risk of slips and trips.
  4. Check your garden furniture, is it fit for purpose? If your garden furniture is damaged, replace it now for you or one of your guests has an accident.

Your holiday home risk assessments

  1. Fire risk assessment – have you updated your holiday home fire risk assessment? make sure you record your results. For guidance click here
  2. Portable electrical item checks. Include a visual check of your portable electrical items, checking for damage such as fraying power cables. If in doubt have your portable electrical items inspected by a qualified electrician or replace them with new ones as necessary.
  3. General risk assessment – ensure that your general risk assessment is up to date and that you have thought about the use of saunas, hot tubs, spa pools, childrens play equipment and swimming pools where appropriate.

Boshers Ltd | Holiday Home Insurance Specialists have comiled this holiday home, holiday cottage and cottage complex maintenance checklist as a useful aide memoire for owners of commercially let UK holiday homes. It is not designed to be exhaustive and Boshers Ltd will not be held  responsible for errors or omissions.

Boshers advises UK holiday home owners to use quieter periods, such as the Winter months to carry out essential maintenance checks so their properties are protected from inclement weather and in tip top order for the following letting season.

Mark Lavington, says: “Many weather related insurance claims could be avoided if holiday home owners were to give their holiday letting properties a winter health check before the worst of the weather hits”. Furthermore there’s a `duty of care’ for owners to ensure that their guests’ safety has been considered.”

The Boshers holiday home insurance team have compiled a `Winter Maintenance Checklist for holiday Home Owners’ as a useful aid. A free copy can be downloaded from www.boshers.co.uk/holiday-home-insurance or requested by phoning 01237 429444 or emailing cottages@boshers.co.uk

Electrical safety is a serious business – unsafe electrical installations cause around 31 deaths, over 8,000 house fires and 1,150 serious injuries each year*. What’s more, most accidents can be prevented.

In this post we explore the importance of electrical safety advice for furnished holiday let owners. Statistically, rented properties such as furnished holiday lets are more at risk than owner/occupier homes, as they tend to get more wear and tear. As a holiday home owner it is your responsibility under the law to make sure that the electrics in your property are safe. The quay to keeping your paying guests safe is simple. When employing someone to carry out electrical work in your properties always use an NICEIC registered contractor.

NICEIC acts as the UK electrical contracting industry’s voluntary regulatory body for electrical safety matters. They hold a register of more than 25,000 contractors who are independently assessed on an annual basis to ensure that they comply with national safety standards and codes of practice.

All NICEIC registered contractors have undergone appropriate training and assessment and are able to self-certify their electrical work in compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations. To find an NICEIC registered electrician in your area visit http://www.niceic.com/

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Follow this link for other useful resources for holiday home owners

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

Holiday Home Owners are considered as Landlords under HSE legislation and therefore have specific legal responsibilities to their guests (tenants) when it comes to gas safety. In order to comply with the legislation all furnished holiday let owners should have all the gas appliances and gas boilers in their holiday homes serviced in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines and have a Gas Safety Check carried out. This work must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered Business. Furnished Holiday Let Owners Are Warned That Gas And Cowboys Don’t Mix! Visit the Gas Safe Register website for specific gas safety information for landlords including a facility to search for a registered business in your area.

Furnished Holiday Let Owners Are Warned That Gas And Cowboys Don’t Mix

According to research carried out in 2009 on behalf of the Gas Safe Register at least a quarter of a million gas appliances installed in our homes each year are done illegally. At least 7,500 illegal gas fitters in GB are doing the most common and often most dangerous types of gas work in our homes.

Illegal gas workers who make false claims about their qualifications and carry out unsafe gas work could put you, your family and your guests at risk from gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Owners who fail to use a Gas Safe Registered Businesss to carry out their statutory duty as a landlord to have annual Gas Safety Checks on their holiday home gas appliances could also invalidate their holiday home insurance.

Holiday home owners will also find the links below of interest:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Scotland, the Scottish Government has produced the following:

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Follow this link for posts similar to Holiday Let Insurance for your annexe other useful resources for holiday home owners

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

As an insurance broker, specialising in holiday home insurance for furnished holiday lets across the UK; we are increasingly being asked questions by owners and their agents regarding legislation surrounding the operation of a holiday cottage. Insurance is our speciality and we are not lawyers, so we will often seek our own guidance from the relevant authority. This post relates to Furnished Holiday Lets | Food Hampers | Food Hygiene Legislation.

A recent query was regarding owners who as a gesture of goodwill provide a welcome hamper of food for their self-catering guests which may include for example a home baked cake, pot of home made jam etc. In particular would such activities fall within the Food Hygiene Legislation.

Another scenario which we are asked about is where the property owner lives adjacent to the holiday cottage and offers a service whereby they will cook breakfast for their guests in the holiday cottage, or even offer to cook evening meals by request in return for payment.

Your local authority is responsible for monitoring food hygiene and I approached ours for guidance on the above two scenarios.

This was their response:

“I would advise that a holiday cottage owner who provide a welcome hamper would be required to register as a food premises to comply with Regulation (EC)852/2004 Article 6 Paras 1 and 2. However such a premises would not fall within our inspection programme. Similarly registration would also be required for the second scenario and in these circumstances the business would receive an inspection the frequency of which would be related to risk. The food businesses operator must ensure that the competent authority has up-to-date information on establishments including notifying any change in activities and closure. The Registration relates to production, processing and distribution of food.”

If either of the above scenarios reflect services that you offer to your guests and you havn’t already registered with your local authority, I recommend that you do so. The procedure seems very straightforward and given the minimal risk you can expect your authority to treat you with a very light touch.

A quality Holiday Home Insurance policy such as that provided by Boshers Ltd and underwritten by Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC includes liability resulting from injury or damage caused as a result of the property owners actions or products provided by them. As always due care should be taken by the policy holder including abiding by relevant legislation.

More information regarding keeping food safe is available from the Food Standards Agency

You may find the following holiday home insurance articles of interest:

For further information on UK holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444 or visit the website page most relevant to you:

In this post we explore the subject of a holiday home owners duty to adhere to electrical safety regulations. Is your Holiday Home Safe To Let? Landlords Guide To Electrical Safety. Although the UK has a fairly good record of electrical safety, there are still over 30 deaths and nearly 4000 injuries from electrical accidents and the 8000 fires that occur in the home each year. Most of the accidents in the home involve faults in, or misuse of, domestic appliances, flexes plugs or connectors. A large number are related to electrical maintenance or DIY activities. The major dangers to health from electrical accidents are from shock, burns, electrical explosion or arcing and fire initiated by electricity. The causes of such incidents are varied but include: deterioration of the electrical installation; broken accessories and equipment; misuse of the installation and equipment and occasional vandalism; and inconsistent maintenance programmes.

This guide has been produced to help landlords including but to let and holiday home owners understand their responsibilities for electrical safety in their properties as well as to provide practical advice on actions they should take to ensure the safety of their tenants and guests.  Download a copy of the Landlords’ Guide To Electrical Safety here.

BBQ Safety for holiday home owners. Barbecue summer or not, if you provide a BBQ for your guests to use at your holiday home you would be wise to give this consideration in your risk assessment and provide some safety guidelines for your guests.

You may wish to consider some of the following tips:

Many people are injured each year because they did not take a few simple safety measures. The following guidance will make sure that your barbecue is a SAFE success:

  • Ensure that the barbecue itself is stable and located on level ground
  • If there is a wind blowing, make sure that the wind is blowing away from you when you light the barbecue (just in case it flares up).
  • Ensure that you are not wearing any loose clothing that could flap onto the lighted barbecue and ignite.
  • Keep the barbecue well away from overhanging obstructions such as tree branches, and keep a safe distance from fences, etc.
  • Under no circumstances use any flammable accelerant (such as methylated spirits, paraffin or petrol) that has not been recommended by the manufacturers.
  • Should you choose to use lighting fluid, the manufacturer’s instructions must be adhered to.
  • DO NOT SPRAY THE LIQUID ONTO A LIGHTED BARBECUE.
  • When lighting the barbecue, do so at arms length (rather like Fireworks) and do not put your face over the range.
  • Keep children away from the barbecue when lighted and after cooking has finished, as it may still be hot.
  • Dispose of the charcoal safely after the barbecue has cooled completely.
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Once lit, never leave a BBQ unattended.

Gas Barbecues

  • Always check the condition of all pipes and connections before lighting.
  • Make sure that the barbeque controls and cylinder are turned off fully before changing the cylinder.
  • If possible always change cylinder in the open.
  • Do not keep more spare cylinders than you require.

When you have finished with a bottled gas barbeque, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbeque controls, this ensures that any residual gas in the pipeline is used up.

  • If a gas leak is suspected check connections and pipes for leaks by brushing with soapy water and looking for bubbles. Tighten but do not over tighten joints. If unsure do not use and seek specialist advice.

Beware – many BBQ accidents and injuries have occurred as a result of drinking alcohol. Don’t cook and drink.

FOOD SAFETY HYGENE TIPS

  • Buy food from reputable suppliers and ensure it is fresh
  • Wash salads and raw vegetables well to remove surface contamination. Do not prepare these foods too far in advance.
  • Cleanliness is important – make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and keep them clean at all times
  • Thoroughly clean out the barbecue removing any food memories of last summer
  • Defrost meat and poultry before cooking them
  • Keep raw and cooked foods apart and use separate utensils for each to prevent the transfer of germs
  • Don’t add sauce or marinade to cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat
  • Never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat.
  • Cook food one batch at a time
  • Keep all meats and perishable foods refrigerated until you are ready to use them . If food can’t be kept in a fridge then place them in a cool bag or box with ice packs.
  • Barbecue meat thoroughly until the juices run clear and no pink bits remain
  • Check food is piping hot before serving
  • Keep serving bowls covered to protect them from dust, insects and pets.
  • Eat food as soon as it is ready and throw away any leftovers.
  • Remember: Meat that is burnt on the outside does not mean that it is cooked on the inside. If possible pre-cook chicken and sausages then transfer straight to the barbecue for that barbecue taste. When you reheat food on the barbecue, always make sure it’s piping hot all the way through before serving.

For other informative articles check out these blog posts of interest to holiday home owners. They contain information and guidance to challenges faced by you whilst managing your holiday home, holiday cottage complex or holiday apartments.

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