This category is about all aspects of Holiday Home Letting and will be of interest to owners of holiday lets across the UK. As Holiday Home Insurance Specialists we are proud to share tips, guidance and articles.

Whether you own an individual holiday home or cottage or a holiday cottage complex our holiday home letting articles are for you. Subjects covered include taxation, online scams and regulations.

Check out these posts: Holiday Letting Terms and Conditions, Registration Schemes for Short Term Lets, Buying a Leasehold Apartment to Holiday Let, Holiday Lets and Tax – what you need to know.

short term tourist accommodation

A review into the effect of short-term holiday lets aims at improving the holiday letting market for those living in popular tourism destinations.short term tourist accommodation

Call for evidence aims to understand impact of increase in short-term holiday lets in England

An open call for evidence aims to understand the impact of an increase in short-term holiday lets in England following the rise in use of rental booking websites and apps. The review will look at the market and the opportunities and challenges presented for consumers and tourism communities.

The scheme, proposed in a government review that looked at the impact of increases in short-term and holiday lets in England, and could involve physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.

Government is considering including a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme

Further measures the Government is considering including a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

“We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years.

We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.

While no decisions have been taken, this review will help us work out the options to look at so we can protect our much-loved communities and thriving holiday industry.”

Housing Minister, Rt. Hon Stuart Andrew, said:

“Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.

We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.

This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”

The Government understands there can be an impact on housing supply and price in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of a rise in anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities. Lower protections for guests caused by negligence of health and safety regulations are also amidst concerns.

What’s happening in the devolved administrations?

The devolved administrations have taken steps in this area.

Scotland – The Scottish government set out legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing scheme by October 2022.

Northern Ireland – In NI tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the national tourist board.

Wales has publicly stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing scheme.

What is the trend in Europe?

In other countries, anyone wishing to advertise and provide guest accommodation in Portugal must register electronically before doing so, Greece requires anyone renting out their home to paying guests to register, and, in parts of Ireland designated ‘Rent Pressure Zones’, hosts are only allowed to short-term let their primary residence after having registered.

The commitment to consult on tourist accommodation was first made in the government’s Tourism Recovery Plan published in June 2021.

Who is the government interested in hearing from?

Although this call for evidence is open to everyone, the government is particularly interested in hearing from:

  • hosts operating in the short-term and holiday letting market.
  • guest accommodation businesses, including digital peer-to-peer platforms that market letting opportunities, short-term and holiday let service companies and those operating other guest accommodation business models.
  • enforcement agencies, including the Fire and Rescue Service, the police and local authorities.
  • representative bodies, organisations, and groups, including destination management organisations.

The call for evidence will ran for 12 weeks.

Further to the consultation the government released the following press release on 19 February 2024:

Statement setting out the next steps in developing a registration scheme for short-term lets in England:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday let and cottage complex owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444.

second home

Genuine small holiday letting businesses in England to be protected by closure of second home tax loophole

second homeOwners of second homes in England who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay under tough new measures.

The new rules, to be introduced in April 2023, were announced today in a statement from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Michael Gove MP.

In summary:

  • Homeowners who leave properties empty while pretending to let them to holidaymakers will be targeted
  • Under the new rules, holiday lets must be rented out for a minimum of 70 days a year to qualify for business rates, which often brings financial advantages
  • Changes to tax rules will protect genuine holiday lets and benefit popular holiday destinations, including Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District

Owners of second homes who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay under tough new measures announced by the government today (14 January 2022).

The changes will target people who take advantage of the system to avoid paying their fair share towards local services in popular destinations such as Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District, Suffolk, West Sussex and the Isles of Scilly.

How did the second homes tax loophole work?

Currently, owners of second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by simply declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers. However, concerns have been raised that many never actually let their homes and leave them empty and are therefore unfairly benefiting from the tax break.

Following consultation, the government will now bring changes to the tax system, which will mean second homeowners must pay council tax if they are not genuine holiday lets.

What’s changing for owners of second homes who are registered for business rates?

From April 2023, second homeowners will have to prove holiday lets are being rented out for a minimum of 70 days a year to access small business rates relief, where they meet the criteria.

Holiday let owners will have to provide evidence such as the website or brochure used to advertise the property, letting details and receipts.

Properties will also have to be available to be rented out for 140 days a year to qualify for this relief.

Government backs small business including responsible short term lets

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Rt Hon Michael Gove says:

“The government backs small businesses, including responsible short-term letting, which attracts tourists and brings significant investment to local communities.

However, we will not stand by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax relief and leaving local people counting the cost.

The action we are taking will create a fairer system, ensuring that second homeowners are contributing their share to the local services they benefit from.”

Tourism industry welcomes clear distinction between second homes and genuine self-catering businesses

Kurt Jansen, Director of the Tourism Alliance says:

“Establishing these new operational thresholds for self-catering businesses is welcomed by the tourism industry as it makes a very important distinction between commercial self-catering businesses that provide revenue and employment for local communities, and holiday homes which lie vacant for most of the year.

It is recognition that tourism is the lifeblood of many small towns and villages, maintaining the viability of local shops, pubs and attractions.

The move will protect genuine small holiday letting businesses across the country and will support local economies by encouraging tourism and by ensuring second homeowners pay a fair contribution towards public services.

Around 65,000 holiday lets in England are liable for business rates of which around 97% have rateable values of up to £12,000. Currently there is no requirement for evidence to be produced that a property has actually been commercially let out.”

This article is only meant as a top line summary of these issues. Need more guidance on whether you should be paying business rates or council tax? We recommend that you seek a professional working in this area. You can also contact the Valuations Agency Office

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday let and cottage complex owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444.

What do the Covid tiers mean for holiday letting in England?

What do the Covid tiers mean for holiday letting in England?National Lockdown – Stay At Home

On the 4th January 2021 the Government announced a third lockdown in England to control the rapid increase of coronavirus cases. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all taking their own similar measures. For full details of the restrictions affecting you and your holiday letting property use the links below:


Staying Away From Home Overnight – “You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed”.


You can download the England Lockdown – Stay At Home pdf poster here.





Northern Ireland


It is our current understanding that the government in England will return to the Tier system once the case numbers are under control. The following information is for information purposes only in anticipation of the National Lockdown – Stay At Home rules being relaxed in the future.

What do the Covid tiers mean for holiday letting in England?

The Government set out the local restriction tier system that were in place in England from Wednesday 2 December. The guidance includes what you can and cannot do in each tier. We have pulled out information pertinent to stays in holiday letting properties across England and written this article to help holiday let owners, agents and guests navigate their way through the rules.

Please read in conjunction with the full guidance which can be found here:

Full list of local restriction tiers by area from 2 December 2020 including revisions effective from 31st December are here:

Alternatively you can use the postcode checker here:

It is our understanding that the tiers in which areas are in will be reviewed periodically. The Government has produced new posters for each of the three Tiers to reflect the announcement regarding rule changes. These pdfs are an excellent way of informing guests on the rules and restrictions that are in operation in the areas that your business is located and we have provided links to them below.

Tier Rules in England

TIER 1 – Medium alert

Overnight Stays – Permitted with household support bubble, or up to 6 people.

Accommodation – Open

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies. This is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • if you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey

You can download the Tier 1 Medium Alert pdf poster here.

TIER 2 – High alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

Overnight Stays – Permitted with household or support bubble.

Accommodation – Open

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey

You can download the Tier 2 High Alert pdf poster here.

TIER 3 – Very high alert

This is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

Overnight Stays – We (Government) advise against overnight stays other than with household or support bubble.

Accommodation – closed (with limited exceptions)

  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
  • Avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey

You can download the Tier 3 Very high Alert pdf poster here.

Tier 4 – Stay At Home

What you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

Overnight Stays – You must not stay overnight away from home. Limited exceptions apply.

You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.

Accommodation – closed (with limited exceptions)

  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes

If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules.

  • you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse.
  • You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble.
  • Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas for Tier 4 – you cannot form a Christmas bubble in Tier 4.

You can download the Tier 4 Stay At Home Alert pdf poster here.

For for further guidance on controlling the virus visit:

Not a Boshers client yet? We offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444. If we are closed use the quote form and we’ll be in touch during the next business day.

holiday let bookings and coronavirus

holiday let bookings and coronavirusHoliday homeowners and holiday letting agents alike are understandably concerned about the potential for the disruption which coronavirus (Covid-19) may cause. Boshers have put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). Hopefully these will help to clarify the position with respect to holiday let bookings and coronavirus. This includes details on cover provided by our holiday home insurance policy together with wider implications.

Whilst the primary concern for the disruption which coronavirus may cause is loss of income due to cancelled bookings, owners are also concerned about their liability towards guests and cleaning contractors. Hopefully these FAQ’s will help to clarify what is and isn’t covered under your holiday home insurance policy.

Holiday Let Bookings and Coronavirus – Frequently asked questions?

Q1. Does my policy include any cover for loss of rental income if the holiday home is directly affected by a `disease outbreak’?

There is some cover within the policy for loss of income as a result of a `specified disease’. The definition of specified disease specific to the loss of income cover is detailed in the policy wording. You can view the policy wording on our website here:

Update: For clarity, the Specified Disease cover in the holiday home insurance policy was removed for new policies and renewals from 1st September 2020. This is because following significant disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, our insurers, and in turn their reinsurers, have advised that such occurrences are not within the remit of standard commercial package policies. Whilst we understand that you would wish to include Loss of Income protection against a similar reoccurrence, we are unable to provide cover for any loss damage liability cost or any other sum of whatsoever nature arising from any form of infectious or communicable disease closure. This exclusion also removes the previously provided ‘specified diseases’ cover at or within 25 miles of your premises. These changes are detailed in this update to the policy wording.

Q2. Is Covid-19 a specified disease for the purpose of the policy wording?

No – In common with most other insurers, Covid-19 is not a specified disease in our policy wording. The extension under the loss of income section of our policy for `specified disease’ is based on a specific list of diseases which does not include new and emerging diseases like Covid-19. 

Q3. What about the fact that Covid-19 has been declared a `notifiable disease’ by the Government? 

Even though the Government has declared Covid-19 as a notifiable disease, this does not change the insurance position under the policy. As the chancellor said, you cannot retrospectively change contracts of insurance at this time without threatening the future of the insurance industry.   

Our holiday home insurance underwriter Ecclesiastical will continue to offer cover for `specified disease’, rather than for ‘notifiable’ or any infectious or contagious disease such as coronavirus. We are sorry that it is not economically viable to provide cover for pandemic viruses such as Covid-19, but with this approach you can be clear on what is and isn’t covered.

Q4. What if guests are prevented from taking up their bookings because they have been quarantined due to coronavirus?

There would not be cover under your policy as this is a booking your guests cannot fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms and conditions to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. It may be that they can claim for the cost of the booking under their travel insurance if they have a policy in force. Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These may include medical advice against your guest or a member of your guests’ group from travelling or government advice against travelling. The ABI have issued some information for travellers here:

Q5. What if guests choose to cancel their holiday because they are disinclined to travel because they are concerned about coronavirus?

In a similar manner to Q4 above, there would not be cover under your policy. This is a booking your guests are choosing not to fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. In this instance the guests’ travel insurance would not cover them as travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ , where the Government advice has not changed to advise against travel.

Q6. What if guests currently staying in the property are forced to stay on because our area comes under quarantine?

There would not be cover under your policy as coronavirus is not a specified disease in our policy wording. In any event, it is unlikely that individuals will be prevented from travelling home at the end of their holiday. If a guest contracts coronavirus whilst on holiday it would be reasonable to expect them to return home to self-isolate.

Q7. How about liability cover?

Subject to the terms and conditions of Boshers Holiday Home Insurance policy, the Employers’ and Public Liability cover provides an indemnity to the policyholder if the policyholder is held legally liable for accidental bodily injury or illness arising in connection with the policyholder’s business of holiday letting.  

Q8. Should I ensure that my holiday home is deep cleaned on changeover day?

You have a duty of care towards any visitors to your holiday home to ensure that it is a safe environment. By taking reasonable steps to make sure that your holiday home is cleaned in accordance with Public Health guidelines, you will be fulfilling your duty of care. The best source of cleaning guidance can be found here:

The situation surrounding coronavirus is developing rapidly. It’s best to regularly check the government’s official guidance which is reviewed daily and updated frequently. If you are already a Boshers Holiday Home Insurance client and need any additional guidance on holiday let bookings and coronavirus by all means give our team a call on 01237 429444 or contact us by email. Equally if you have any holiday letting insurance related questions regarding coronavirus that we haven’t answered above, get in touch and we’ll do our upmost to answer them.

Not a Boshers client yet? We offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444. If we are closed use the quote form and we’ll be in touch during the next business day.

We all know that from time to time accidents happen; perhaps someone spills a glass of wine (hopefully not red!) or smashes a glass fresh from the dishwasher. We can accept those and understand that accidents happen to the best of us. However what if someone were to cause malicious damage to your holiday home? Whether the malicious damage is caused by a paying guest or a trespasser, you’ll be faced with making repairs before your next guests arrive.

Do you know where you stand and what you need to do when it comes to your insurance?

What is malicious damage?

In the insurance industry, the term ‘malicious damage’ generally refers to any damage caused to your property on purpose.  There is a clear distinction between this and ‘accidental damage’, in that the damage caused has to be proven as being deliberate, rather than just an accident (for example spilling wine after tripping or smashing a glass that slipped through the hands).

Check your holiday home insurance policy

As specialists in holiday home insurance, our aim is to always give our policy holders the right cover so that should something happen, you know you’re not going to be left significantly out of pocket.

Malicious damage is covered under our policy as standard but is not by all policies on the market, so if you’re not currently insured with us, it’s worth checking your own documents.

The financial implications of your holiday letting property suffering malicious damage can be far reaching. In addition to repairing the material damage to your buildings and / or contents you may also suffer loss of rental income.

What do you do if you think someone has deliberately damaged your property?

Step 1

The first step to take would be to contact the police as soon as reasonably possible so the incident can be investigated. Take photos of the damage as this will assist your insurers with your claim. You also need to let your insurer know about the incident at this point by reporting the claim. If the damage is significant your insurers will appoint a loss adjuster to help settle your claim and appoint contractors to make repairs.

Step 2

Once your insurer is aware of the incident, it’s important that you forward them all communication and documentation surrounding it as soon as it comes through (including any knowledge of any impending prosecution or enquiry in connection with the event), as well providing them with any further information they request in order to process your claim.

The importance of being proactive

Although we’ve outlined the initial steps to take if you feel that your property has been damaged on purpose, it’s worth reiterating that before ever needing to take these steps, you should make sure you understand your insurance policy and what is covered within it.

If you haven’t already, search your policy document for the term ‘malicious’ to ensure you know what’s covered and what isn’t before you need to rely on it.

For more information on specialist insurance cover for your holiday home please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.

*This blog post is only intended as an introduction to malicious damage cover.  Please always refer to your insurance policy to gain a full understanding of your current level of cover.

Smart Meters and Holiday Homes

Smart Meters and Holiday HomesWhat are Smart Meters and are there benefits of installing them in your holiday home? If there was a simple way for you to monitor, even reduce the gas and electricity bills in your  holiday home or cottages would you do it? The answer for most people would be yes, so when the current Government’s Smart Meter Scheme was announced as part of the Conservative’s election manifesto in 2017 it was an exciting initiative for many; the opportunity to not only potentially cut costs on gas and electricity bills but also become more efficient and reduce the impact we have on the environment as a part of the process.

However, two years on and not everything has quite gone to plan. Here’s our update on the roll out of  smart meters and whether or not it might be time for you to make the change in your holiday home…

What was the plan for the rollout of smart meters?

Despite energy firms warning that the technology wasn’t ready, they were initially told that every home should have smart meters installed by the end of 2020.  As we approach the end of 2019 that deadline has now been delayed by a further four years until the end of 2024 (by which time they are targeting installation in 85% of homes).  It is now anticipated that only 50% of homes will have their smart meters installed by the original deadline date amid souring costs and technological setbacks.

Why would you want a smart meter in your holiday home?

The general idea of a smart meter is that the more information you have at your fingertips, the better. The displays help you understand where energy is being spent and make appropriate savings or alterations to your lifestyle. This could be a particularly attractive concept for holiday homeowners, where they aren’t the person using the energy and often live a good distance from the property in question. The key benefits include:

  1. Seeing how much energy your holiday home is spending in near-real-time, via the display or an app.
  2. New automatic and regular meter readings can help to make your holiday home electricity bills more accurate compared to their estimated counterparts.
  3. New versions also enable simpler and easier tariff switching to keep bills lower, with new versions even allowing you to change supplier.

Whilst all of these benefits are geared toward reducing bills, Andrea Leadsom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has however estimated that customers will not begin to make savings from smart meters until 2022 and they will gain only £36 a year by 2034.

Do you have to have a smart meter at home or in your holiday letting property?

Although customers can turn down the offer of smart meters, firms are faced with fines if they don’t promote them. These fines have brought about some concerns that energy users are being blackmailed into ensuring high levels of uptake. In turn this has led to potential issues such as companies offering more attractive tariffs to those with smart meters in order to ensure households get on board.

Is it time to install smart meters in holiday homes?

In principal, the potential of lowering bills and gaining a better understanding of when and where your energy is being used makes the idea of smart meters for holiday homes a good one. However, there have been a number of technical issues with some meters. Some homeowners have found that their device had stopped working after switching supplier. There have also been reports that display screens have broken within a short period of time.

It’s therefore vital that you do your research before making the move; has the meter your provider is offering had positive reviews from other users? Are the tariffs for smart meter users advantageous compared to your current rates? Are they offering to install the meter for free? If the answer to all of these is yes, then it may well be right time to install one.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

registration scheme for short term lets
registration scheme for short term lets

Feeling safe is a basic human need and something we should all be able to experience in our daily lives; we should feel safe when we’re at home, when we’re in the office or when we’re on holiday wanting to relax.

As a holiday homeowner, you’ll no doubt put much of your effort into the latter; ensuring that as soon as your guests arrive at your property, they are kept safe through any number of procedures and processes including fire risk assessments, gas safety certification, public and employers’ liability insurance and electrical checks

AirBnB terms and conditions

If we contrast that with the latest AirBnB terms and conditions they indicate:

“Airbnb has no control over and does not guarantee the existence, quality, safety suitability or legality of any listing”

Where safety for guests was once a given, the rapid growth of peer-to-peer accommodation providers such as AirBnB has far exceeded our own legislative response to its emergence, leaving an ever-growing unregulated market of peer-to-peer accommodation providers welcoming paying guests into their homes with sometimes minimal or no safety processes in place.

The size of that market is ever-growing; every region in the UK now has at least 2,000 listings on the platform and in London, the number is around 64,000. This places the UK as the fifth largest geography for Airbnb globally, when calculated by number of listings.

So how do we even the playing field in order to safeguard our guests and the reputation of the UK as a place to which people can travel and rightly feel safe, no matter where they book?

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Industry

During 2018, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Industry issued a report on the ‘sharing economy’.  It recommended the introduction of a low-cost registration scheme for short term lets and holiday home accommodation providers, which would look to level the playing field of regulation and enforcement of those welcoming paying guests.  The scheme would in turn create a national database and allow regulators to do their job in ensuring the safety of visitors, no matter on what platform they’d booked.

In April 2019, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan co-signed a letter to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government that outlined “the law is near-impossible for councils to enforce” and that “the time has come for a light-touch registration system”.  The letter was also signed by AirBnB.

Hadi Moussa, General Manager for Air BnB in the UK and Northern Europe indicated “A clear and simple registration system will help authorities get the information they need to regulate our industry effectively.”

The general consensus for this potential mandatory registration scheme for short term lets to date has been that it must be either low cost or free to register in order to achieve the necessary drive for sign ups.  If it does come to fruition, then any move to ensure that guests are kept safe and the gap in regulation between holiday homeowners and those listing properties through the ‘sharing economy’ is lessened can only be a good thing. You can read more about recent calls for increased regulation for AirBnB here:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

holiday letting terms and conditions
holiday letting terms and conditions

A new campaign led by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is highlighting the importance of being open and transparent with your guests when it comes to your holiday letting terms and conditions. 

The initiative, named ‘Small Print, Big Difference,’ is encouraging holiday home owners to ‘check in’ on their small print to ensure it’s fair to guests that have cause to unexpectedly cancel their holiday after booking, and is backed by a number of leading players within the industry including ABTA, The Travel Association, UKHospitality and Specialist Travel Association (AITO).

Are your terms and conditions ‘fair’?

The UK spent an estimated £81 billion on travel and holidays in 2018 alone, with the average family spending up to £3,000 to enjoy a range of destinations across the world and closer to home.  The thought of having to cancel a holiday, whether through ill health, bereavement or circumstances outside of your control, and subsequent loss of a deposit or cancellation fee, can therefore be an expensive one.

However, on the part of the holiday homeowner, if you’ve taken a booking and perhaps lost other bookings in order to honour that reservation, you are equally left with the prospect of having to fill that cottage, sometimes with very little or no notice, or be left significantly out of pocket.

It would seem in this scenario there are really no winners; the guest doesn’t get to enjoy your cottage and potentially loses a sum of money, whilst you are left frantically trying to re-book or face losing out on potential rental income.

The answer therefore lays in finding a ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ solution for all involved.

What is legally reasonable and fair?

Under consumer law, a business may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee in order to cover any potential losses.  With that in mind, how much should, or could you be asking guests for if they need to cancel a booking?

The key is that the figure must be seen as proportionate to what you are losing. 

For example, if you were to ask for the full sum of their holiday and you then had time to re-book for the cancelled period, this would be seen as unreasonable. 

On the other hand, if you incurred costs in advertising and administrative time in order to re-book for the cancelled period, then asking for some of this to be covered would be more fair and reasonable if clearly communicated and stated within your terms and conditions.

How about non-refundable deposits?

If you include a blanket “non-refundable deposit” demand or cancellation fee in your terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable if that figure doesn’t correlate to your potential losses – even if the customer has signed it.

What do guests currently expect?

A recent survey conducted by CMA found that:

  • 89% felt they should get all, or most, of their money back if they cancel and the business re-sells their booking.
  • 85% felt that it’s unfair if they have to pay part of the cost of a booking when they cancel
  • 66% felt that travel and holiday businesses do not always make it as easy to cancel a booking as they should
  • of the people with experience of cancelling a booking, 1 in 5 felt that they had been treated unfairly

The key to fair conditions

When it comes to the law, the key is to ensure that any figure you request on cancellation correlates to the potential loss. However, at the heart of good customer service is great communication, so always make sure that your holiday letting terms and conditions are not only fair, but that your guests have seen them, read them, understand them and have easy access to them at every point of their booking with you.

For more information on the ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign please visit:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

Airbnb hidden cameras

Airbnb hidden camerasWhen it was founded in 2008, very few people could have envisaged how quickly and large Airbnb would grow. It is now home to 31 offices across the world. Airbnb has welcomed more than 400 million guests since its launch and has listings in a staggering 161 countries.

With growth can often come problems, the most recent is potentially one of the most worrying for would-be guests. That’s because there’s been an increasing number of reports of guests identifying and locating hidden cameras within Airbnb properties. While some of these have been hidden in common household appliances such as fire detectors; others have made their way into plant pots and television veneers.

Although such spy craft would be more commonly found in the pages of a James Bond novel, it does highlight a very real and significant problem for Airbnb and those using the platform to enjoy a break away; namely a very severe invasion of privacy.

So where does Airbnb stand on hidden cameras in their properties? And importantly where can UK holiday homeowners find guidance on the use of CCTV in UK holiday lets?

Airbnb’s stance on recording equipment and hidden cameras in properties

Airbnb indicates that it’s fine for a property owner to have cameras, or recording equipment and devices within the property. Stipulating as long as they’re highlighted to guests within the ‘House Rules’. Here’s their exact wording:

“If you’re a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you indicate its presence in your House Rules. We also require you to disclose if an active recording is taking place. If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund.”

So what’s the real issue?

The issue, as with many areas of Airbnb, is one of regulation and safeguarding. At the moment cases of hidden cameras and recording equipment are only being highlighted and brought to public attention by paying guests that are thorough enough and technically savvy enough to conduct a scan. They are not being identified by the platform itself. This issue then permeates into policing; if there are hundreds of thousands of transient and sometimes short term listings, how do you regulate and proactively police what’s inside the property without reliance on the paying guest?

The answer is that it’s incredibly difficult and, until that changes, the risks of hidden equipment within these properties may be a tricky problem to solve for one of the largest online property platforms in the world.

Please note it is illegal in the UK to use spy cameras in areas where subjects may have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as holiday homes.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

HMRC Let Property Campaign

HMRC Let Property Campaign

Five years ago, we posed the following question. Whether getting the best terms on the tax you pay on your holiday letting income sounded like an attractive proposition? Our question was related to the launch of a new campaign by the Government, aptly called the Let Property Campaign.

The reason for the HMRC Let Property Campaign

In 2013 it was estimated that 1.5 million landlords had underpaid or failed to pay up to £500 million in tax between 2009 and 2010 alone. The campaign was an opportunity for those that had knowingly or inadvertently not paid (or underpaid) tax on their `buy-to-let’ and ‘furnished holiday letting income‘ to come clean and declare it without further hefty penalties.

It’s important to highlight that, whilst many pieces of legislation are aimed at ‘traditional landlords’ with Assured Shorthold Tenancies; this drive from HMRC extends to holiday homeowners and those operating within the tourism and hospitality sector. It essentially targeted anyone who owns more than one home one or more of which generate an income.

The results of the Let Property Campaign

And the results? A recent Freedom of Information request has indicated that over the past five years, 35,099 people have made a voluntary declaration to HMRC – that’s 2.6% of the people that had been identified. Wondering how much of the £500 million tax bill they were successful in recouping? £85 million (17% of the targeted figure).

The importance of being upfront with tax

While these figures are certainly not what HMRC and the Government were targeting at the original outset of the campaign, they are continuing the drive to identify those that are gaining income from properties and not declaring additional sources of revenue.

If you’ve made an error in paying or calculating your tax bill as a result of misunderstanding or deliberately paying the wrong amount, it is strongly advised that you inform HMRC of any mistakes before they discover them, because if you don’t make a voluntary disclosure now and HMRC finds out later, you could suffer higher penalties and face criminal prosecution.

You may also find the following articles of on furnished holiday letting taxation of interest:

When holiday letting your second home to paying guests it’s essential to take advice on suitable insurance. Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday home or cottage complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

*Please remember this article is only a general outline of the tax schemes offered by HMRC. If you are looking for tax information or advice, please contact HMRC directly or seek professional advise.