This category is for articles relevant to owners of holiday homes, cottages and holiday cottage complexes in England, Wales or Scotland. It contains articles full of tips and guides on many aspects of running a holiday letting property. Check out these posts, Business rates for holiday cottage complexes, Holiday home industry code of practice, Essential guide for cottage owners.

Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance

Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning GuidanceFollowing the unprecedented measures imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic, you will no doubt be looking forward to reopening your doors to guests once restrictions are lifted. As holiday letting insurance specialists, we understand owners will have concerns about the extra steps needed for changeovers.

The hospitality and tourism industry have pulled together to produce protocols across all sectors, including specific Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance for self-catering properties.

Certification and Assessment Schemes

There are also assessment schemes that you can sign up to, including those offered by QIT, The AA and VisitEngland in partnership with the national tourist organisations:

Quality in Tourism (QIT) state that their Safe, Clean & Legal™ scheme assesses everything that a hospitality or accommodation operator needs to do to be compliant with regulation, committed to quality standards and of course safe and clean. Importantly the scheme has been updated to reflect additional standards and requirements for those providing accommodation in the post-COVID era.

There is a modest fee for the QIT scheme, this will get you access to their guidance and specimen documentation together with an inspection by an assessor.

To be eligible for the AA scheme, establishments signing up must meet the AA’s key criteria:

  • Supply evidence of a risk assessment document.
  • Provide clear evidence that relevant safety procedures and measures are in place.
  • Showing that staff training has occurred.

In addition, this free scheme requires completion of an online self-assessment and a sign up to the Covid Confident Charter, a code of conduct that will include a commitment to update procedures and measures as guidelines change, and to submitting to future audits as required.

The “We’re Good To Go” industry standard mark is a self-assessment scheme that has been designed by VisitEngland in partnership with the national tourist organisations Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for all sectors of the tourism industry, as well as reassurance to visitors that businesses have clear processes in place and are following industry and Government COVID-19 guidance on cleanliness and social distancing.

High Standards in Holiday Letting  

We recognise responsible holiday let owners have high standards regarding the cleanliness and presentation of their letting properties. Similar applies to complying with legislation and regulations relevant to holiday letting. For example, reviewing fire risk assessments, ensuring electrics are safe, gas appliances and boilers are serviced and certified as gas safe, all form part of a rolling plan.

Duty of Care towards visitors and guests

You will also understand your duty of care towards all visitors to your property and ensure that it is as safe as you can reasonably make it. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect and maintain the property, prevent damage or injury and comply with laws, by-laws or regulations. Clearly in a post-Covid world the duty of care extends to taking reasonable precautions to minimise the risk of the virus being spread from one group of guests to another. Hence the importance of adopting relevant protocols such as those detailed in the Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance.

What do the self-catering Covid-19 cleaning guidelines cover?   

Bodies representing all aspects of the hospitality and tourism sectors, including those who represent self-catering, have devised specific sector guidance to support reopening following the lockdown.

This includes guidance on:

  • Risk assessments
  • Risks of Legionella
  • PPE and Cleaning Equipment
  • Cleaning Protocols
  • Cleaning Checklists

Who compiled the cleaning guidance?

The Government Department responsible for Tourism, DCMS produced headline guidelines. The overall guide was prepared by UKHospitality and the self-catering sector information was provided to them through a collaboration between:

  • PASC UK (Professional Association of Self-Catering UK)
  • ASSC (Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers)
  • WASCO (Welsh Association of Self-Catering Operators)
  • Tourism Alliance
  • Wales Tourism Alliance
  • Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Premier Cottages

We understand these guidelines will also be used by Visit England and The AA

Where can I download the guidance?

The cleaning guidance is reassuringly robust and free to access via The Professional Association of Self-caterers (PASC), follow the link below:

Adopting, documenting and following these or similar cleaning protocols will help fulfil your duty of care towards your holiday let guests and visitors. Each holiday letting property is unique, your risk assessment will be too.

For for further guidance on controlling the virus visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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.

 

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.

In order to ensure self-catering properties are effectively meeting quality standards, the Holiday Home Association (HHA), which is the UK’s longest serving trade association for the self-catering holiday home industry, has launched an industry code of practice aimed at raising quality standards and provide potential guests with a level of assurance when booking privately owned self-catering accommodation.

The Holiday Home Industry Code of Practice (HHICOP) is a comprehensive set of guidelines that sets out standards in health and safety, marketing, accessibility, liability insurance, data protection and complaints procedures.

HHA chief executive Martin Sach said: “The self-catering industry in the UK has changed considerably over the last few years, with a much greater increase in the availability of properties, with more and more owners and managers joining the market.

“There are also many more distribution channels through which a guest can book a property and these developments, can at times, be confusing for guests who are increasingly looking for more assurance that what they book will indeed be a professionally run and fairly represented example of what they are looking for,” he added.

The HHICOP, which can be easily downloaded from the HHA website, has no cost associated with it and is available for both members and non-members of the HHA.

For more information on the Holiday Home Industry Code of Practice, visit The HHA website here. It covers topics of interest to holiday letting owners which include:

  • Health and Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Electrical Safety
  • Gas Safety
  • Legionella
  • Safety of Furniture and Furnishings
  • Employers’ and Public Liability Insurance

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.

Avoiding underinsurance for holiday home owners

As holiday home insurance specialists we understand the industry and know the insurance needs and demands of letting a holiday property; that’s what comes with using a specialist. Please take a minute to read Holiday Homes – Getting your Buildings Insurance Right and give us a call if you have any questions.

We’re here to give you the peace of mind that should the worst happen you’ll be covered and supported. In order to do that we want to make sure that you have the right cover in place. One aspect of your insurance cover you should be checking is that your building sums insured are correct. It’s important that you make a Fair Presentation Of Risk which includes providing the correct sums insured.

The risks of underinsurance

The buildings sum insured is the maximum amount your insurer will pay out if you make a claim.

For this reason it’s vital to get it right and ensure it’s sufficient. It must represent the cost of rebuilding, repairing or even replacing your property should the worst happen.

If you’re underinsured you bear the risk that you may have to fund a proportion of the cost from your own pocket. This can be potentially crippling to your own finances or that of your holiday business.

The cost of rebuilding and not the value of your property

A common misconception is often that your sum insured should represent the market value of your property. For insurance purposes your sum insured should actually reflect the cost of rebuilding your property.

This can be a tricky figure for holiday home owners to calculate so please do take time to consider what that figure should be.

You’ll need to think about:

  • The building cost of reinstating your property; this can include items such as swimming pools, paths, drives, patios and other things that you might not think about such as satellite dishes or fences and hedges.
  • The cost of replacing fixtures and fittings, for example do you have built in wardrobes, specialist light fittings or bedroom furniture that would cost significant sums to replace or restore?
  • Will debris need to be removed from the site and what implication will this have on the cost of restoring your property?
  • What will the cost be of complying with EU legislation Local Authority Buildings Regulations or other statutory requirements?
  • Professional fees; to get your property back to where it was before the incident you’ll likely need to consult with engineers, architects and surveyors.  Their fees will need to be included in your calculations.

Index Linking – make sure the initial figure is correct

Your buildings sum insured is index-linked, which means that it adjusts according to inflation. This ensures your sum insured is increased in line with any changes in the cost of rebuilding your property.

Despite this index linking it of course remains vital that the sum insured was correct in the first place.

Have you made improvements? Let us know

As you make improvements to your holiday home make sure your sums insured represent the increased cost of replacement and don’t wait for your insurance renewal to make the increases.

For example, if you add a hot tub to the garden or update the interior of the property contact your insurer to let them know and make sure they’re covered from day one.

Calculating the cost of rebuilding your property 

Three methods you can use to calculate the cost of rebuilding your home, holiday home or buy-to-let property. Please use one of these to ensure you are Getting your Buildings Insurance right.

  1. ABI Rebuilding Cost Calculator

If your holiday home falls within a range of standard house types the Association of British Insurers offers a rebuilding cost calculator (http://abi.bcis.co.uk/), which will help you to assess the level of insurance you need.

This is however no substitute to instructing a professional Surveyor to prepare a Rebuilding Cost Assessment for insurance purposes. Although there is a cost for these surveys they’ll make sure you have the right level of cover.

2. Desk Top Rebuilding Cost Assessment 

Getting someone to visit your property to carry out a professional assessment can be time-consuming and expensive. However thanks to our partnership with Rebuild Cost Assessment Ltd we can offer you a reliable low-cost service; from a `Regulated by RICS (Royal Institute Of Chartered Surveyors) organisation.

You’ll receive a comprehensive Rebuild Cost Assessment (RCA) report guiding you on how much you should insure your buildings for. This is a fantastic and affordable online service which can protect you, your home, holiday home or buy-to-let property from the potentially severe consequences of under-insurance.

Rebuild Cost Assessment Prices Start from as low as £160.00.

However we have negotiated a SPECIAL DISCOUNT of £20.00 with www.RebuildCostAssessment.com on your behalf. Simply enter the code BOSHERS20 when placing an order online to get your discount. Use the appropriate link below to order your assessment and once receive please forward a copy to your insurance adviser at Boshers.

Nb. Boshers Ltd have no commercial interest in Rebuild Cost Assessment Ltd and we do not receive any financial benefit for the referrals. We have negotiated the discount as we believe this service is a cost effective way to help our clients obtain accurate costs for rebuilding their properties.

3. Instruct a RICS qualified Chartered Surveyor to visit your property and carry out a rebuilding cost survey.

To search for a chartered surveyor in your area please click here: http://www.ricsfirms.com/

What should you do now?

If you need to adjust your insurance cover once you have reviewed your sums insured please contact us. You can call our team on 01237 429444 Monday to Friday.

Holiday letting tips

Holiday letting tipsAs a holiday home owner there’s so much to think about; from guest safety to website photography and Facebook posts to the internal fixtures and fittings. Or even who’s doing the changeovers and mowing the lawns before those guests roll up the driveway.

The good news is that we’re here to help. We talk with holiday homeowners and letting agents every day giving us an insight into many aspects of holiday letting. As a result we’ve put together some of our most useful articles containing holiday letting tips all in one place.

No matter if you’re looking for ideas on how to cut electricity bills or keep the visiting kids safe in the garden, here are some of our top holiday letting tips when it comes to getting the most out of your holiday home this year….

Keeping your guests safe – checks to make before the peak season

You’ll undoubtedly want your guests to have a great time in your cottage and that means that they’ll also need to have a safe time. There are a number of checks and processes you should have in place and these should always be done prior to the busy summer season.

Here are a few checks that you need to tick off the to-do list as a priority:

How to make your cottages dog friendly

There are nearly nine million dog owners in the UK and almost 40% of visitors now want to take their pet with them on holiday. If you’re looking to make the most of this continually growing market or want to fine-tune your cottage to welcome our furry friends then here are some great pointers…

Engaging with the growing green tourism market

It’s not just a welcoming cottage for our trusted canines that piques potential booking interest, as more and more of us are becoming driven by sourcing eco-friendly accommodation. A whopping 58% of English consumers surveyed by VisitEngland indicated they’d want to stay in green accommodation with awards or environmentally friendly practices. Here’s how to communicate your green credentials and a few ideas to grow them, too…

How to make your cottage a haven for families

If you’re welcoming young children into your cottage this year, you’ll need to answer all of the needs that your paying parents arrive with. Here are just a few ideas on how to make your cottage perfect for each family, no matter what the weather….

Keeping children safe on outdoor play equipment

If you’re welcoming children to your cottage then it’s certainly not uncommon to have an outdoor play area for them to enjoy. Ever wondered what you need to do in order to keep them as safe as possible whilst playing on your outdoor equipment? Here’s our guide on everything you should be doing in order to minimise the risks of an accident…

How to make a first impression

Your guests will only ever walk into your home for the first time once. It’s therefore vital you achieve that wow factor which will leave a positive lasting impression. Hampers are an easy and popular welcome gift for guests and, if used well, can start someone’s holiday off on the right foot. Here’s how to get the content right whilst also catering for those with allergies and those who like a tipple!

How to get your property photography right

A photo speaks a thousand words, so getting them right is definitely a priority! Here’s our guide to make sure your images are immaculate. Also included are some elements you might not have thought of until your photographer has made his way home!

Increase bookings by promoting your cottage as a destination

Visitors spend 80% of their time outside of your cottage, yet the average cottage website has 80% of its content focussed on what’s inside. Here’s how to promote your destination and experience in order to grab people’s attention and bookings…

Become more energy efficient

Energy bills across the UK risen considerably; by up to 10% this year and for some by more than 30% in the past 30 months. Being energy efficient is becoming increasingly important, not only to prove your eco credentials but also to keep costs down. Here’s a few ideas on how to do just that…

Electric vehicle charging points

The UK is going electric when it comes to cars and the growth continues to be exponential.  In 2012 there were just 2,254 electric cars sold in England. Fast forward to 2015 and that figure was hitting 30,000. Last year? Near 60,000 electric plugin cars were sold. If you want to welcome this growing trend of traveller then here’s all you need to know about your electric hook-up point….

Getting your insurance right

We’ve been working with holiday home owners for more than 30 years and we’re specialists in making sure that cottages across the UK have the insurance in place that they need. For more information on insuring your holiday home or cottage complex please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429 444.

Leasehold apartment holiday let

Leasehold apartment holiday letAre you considering purchasing a leasehold apartment to holiday let? Although it’s quick and easy to make a listing on the ever-growing list of rental websites; in reality there are a number of steps you should take before buying an apartment and opening your doors to paying guests. Whether you intend to let for a limited number of weeks to help with costs or to provide a more regular income you should ensure that you can comply with the terms of your lease. Have an appropriate mortgage and suitable insurance for holiday letting.

Does your lease allow you to let your property?

From insurance to your lease and mortgage agreements, we take a look at what you’ll need to be considering and the action you should be taking before letting your property…

The implications for leasehold properties

It’s estimated there are tens of thousands of leasehold properties currently listed on AirBnB and similar holiday rental sites. However, an extremely common clause in any lease is that the property must be for “private residence” possibly prohibiting the subletting of the property for short periods.

So what does that mean? In essence if you were to holiday let the apartment and your lease included this or a similar clause, you’re in breach of your lease. As a result you could face the consequences should your freeholder choose to take issue with it. These could include and extend to your landlord asking you to cease holiday letting and potential legal action.

A recent ruling in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), which is the highest property court in the land, has supported this stance. In this particular case one resident in a block of London flats fell out with fellow neighbours by letting her property on AirBnB and a range of other similar sites. When others in the block became disgruntled by her actions they asked the landlord to take action, with the case subsequently going to court.

Take legal advice to ensure the apartment is suitable for holiday letting

With a legal precedent now set, if you own a leasehold apartment and are wanting to holiday let it you should first check your lease. For those considering purchasing a leasehold apartment to holiday let it’s vital you check the terms of your lease before committing to buy. Seek advice from your solicitor and be upfront with them and the estate agent regarding your intentions to holiday let. In many popular holiday areas across the UK apartments are springing up. Some new build apartment blocks are intended for use as second homes and holiday lets. Those that are should have appropriate leasehold wordings to allow holiday letting. However do double check and seek advice.

The implications for second homes purchased with a mortgage

So does the above leasehold scenario extend to a property purchased with a mortgage?

The answer really lays in the agreement that you have with the lender. If you’re intending to let your second home to paying guests it’s important you have the right mortgage. Either:

  • secure a mortgage that allows this type of letting from the outset, or alternatively
  • consult with your existing agreement to ensure that it’s not prohibited.

Seek advice from your mortgage adviser who’ll be able to guide you through your options. They’ll provide advice to ensure you comply with the lenders requirements and source a loan to match your needs. Taking the right advice should be both cost effective and tax efficient.

Getting your holiday letting insurance right

When people visit and stay in your home they bring with them a unique range of insurance requirements. These far outreach the standard household buildings and contents policy cover you’d usually have for your home. For example:

  • what if one of your guests has an accident in your property?
  • What if you’re unable to let your property for any period of time as a result of an incident?
  • Would you be able to pay the legal fees should there be a claim made against you?
  • Does the freeholder’s block policy for the buildings insurance include cover for your fixtures and fittings?

These are all areas that could cause distress and expense were you not to have the correct insurance cover.

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 letting apartment? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

social media

social mediaSocial media has changed the way in which many of us find and book our holidays; more and more potential paying guests are now finding their holiday home accommodation provider through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where once upon a time they’d be at the local travel agent or reading about them in a glossy magazine or directory.

The question is no longer if you’re using social media as an agent or a cottage owner, it’s whether you’re utilising it to its maximum potential. With that in mind, here’re five very simple tips to increase your performance and generate more enquiries from your social media presence.

It’s good to find a niche and be targeted

All social media needs content; whether it’s 140 character tweets on Twitter, photos and some text for Facebook or that perfectly filtered image to go onto Instagram, content makes the world go round.

So how can you make that content more focused? By understanding who you’re targeting and thinking before anything you post, ‘would that person be interested in this content?’

Your holiday home will attract a certain type of person; if it’s ideal for young families then your content needs to be interesting and engaging to those with children. Are there soft play areas nearby? Is your cottage ram-packed with kids toys?

If it isn’t interesting to your target market, then it’s unlikely to stimulate response and intrigue.

A picture speaks a thousand words

No matter what platform you’re on, always try to include stimulating photography. It’s undoubtedly the easiest way to stand out from the crowd, and also sell your destination and accommodation. Consider stock-piling photography during the summer and brighter months which will tide you over during the winter. Many can become stuck for photos when the nights are longer and the leaves are long gone from the trees!

Timing is everything in social media

It’s important to understand the best times to post in order to boost the levels of interaction you gain. When it comes to Facebook, evenings (6.30pm – 10pm) are particularly effective. A massive amount of holiday research and bookings are made on a Sunday evening. If you’re not posting late in the afternoon or early in the evening on a Sunday, you could be missing out!

Twitter also buzzes during the evening when interaction is proven to be higher (people have more time having left the office for the day), whilst Instagram have done away with chronological post feeds meaning that post interaction is less dependent on timing (although first thing in the morning is still a winner!).

You’re more than just a holiday home (destination)

Holiday homeowners can sometimes come unstuck when trying to come up with content ideas. It doesn’t have to be just about your cottage, so worry not that you’ll need to be putting that same photo of the master bedroom up for a fourteenth time!

Visitors are likely to spend a good deal of time away from your cottage, so what is it that your area has to offer and how can you use this to entice potential guests? As much of the content you’re sharing should be about your destination as well as your property, and remember to make this all relevant to the person you’re trying to reach (as mentioned in our first point!) so it really strikes a chord and encourages an enquiry.

Be focused when it comes to advertising

Facebook make it incredibly simple and easy to advertise through their big blue boost buttons. Although it doesn’t mean that you need to be doing this recklessly. If you are considering boosting a post, then always consider if there’s any point to doing so before you do.

Trying to fill a week after a cancellation and have a special discount to encourage a booking, then fine, boost away!

Just posting an image and an update with no real call to action? Keep your money in your pocket!

Selectively boosting when there’s a distinct action you’re wanting the viewer to take can be extremely effective. By avoiding irrelevant post boosts you’ll have more spend to ensure it really works when you should be using it!

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 letting property? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

hot tub legionella

hot tub legionellaWith longer evenings and the busy peak season fast approaching can there be anything better than the thought of relaxing in a hot tub, taking in the fresh air and watching the sunset over a beautiful coast or countryside view?

Holiday homes with a hot tub are proven to secure more bookings. However they do bring additional risks including those associated with Legionella. As the owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that your guests enjoy a healthy and safe environment. This includes being free of diseases caused by the Legionella bacteria.

It’s the less glamorous side of having a hot tub at your holiday let; with water comes Legionella bacteria which can be extremely serious and even deadly. Whilst most of us will have heard of Legionnaires disease many don’t understand the risks. However, with a death associated with a holiday lodge resort in England and another outbreak in a UK-based holiday chalet it must be taken seriously.

What is Legionnaires disease? 

Legionella pneumophila is bacterium which is very common in natural water sources such as rivers and reservoirs. It can also be found in water coolers, ice machines, hot and cold water systems, shower heads and hot tubs. Legionellosis is the collective name for the diseases caused by the bacterium including Legionnaires disease which is a pneumonia type illness.  You can catch it by breathing in tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria that cause the infection. This makes your hot tub a potentially perfect breeding ground for the bacteria if it’s not properly managed.

How do you control the risks associated with Legionella?

So what procedures and processes should you have in place for your hot tub to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised and your guests are able to enjoy their relaxing evening soak?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance

The HSE has produced a very thorough document on the controls and procedures you should have in place as a hot tub owner. We’ve included a link to this document below. If you’re not already, it’s worth familiarising yourself with all of the processes mentioned in order to ensure your hot tub is kept in a clean and sterile condition throughout the summer and beyond.

  • HSE advice on the control of legionella in your hot tub – to download click here.

Some key points in maintaining your hot tub

  • Conducting a risk assessment

Although these can seem like even more paperwork for your holiday cottage they’re vitally important. They help you understand how to address the risks. When it comes to your hot tub risk assessments should be undertaken by a competent person. This can be you as the owner, so long as you fully understand the system, associated risks and legislation.

It’s important to highlight that even if you don’t undertake the assessment yourself, you’re still responsible for it as the holiday homeowner, so it’s essential that it’s thorough and detailed.

  • Regular monitoring

The risk assessment is only ever the first step in the process; it’s important that you put in place processes that minimise the risks faced by your guests, and that these are then regularly reviewed by a competent person in order to ensure they’re effective.

As with your risk assessment, you’re ultimately responsible for these ongoing measures, so even if you do live a good distance from your home it is worth having a regular check yourself to make sure that your instructions are being delivered and implemented to the standard they need to be.

  • Effective training

To reduce the risk of Legionnaires disease and other infections it’s important that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet. Do you outsource the cleaning and maintenance of your holiday home and hot tub? Then you’ll need to ensure that the cleaner or company you’re using are: familiar with the procedures that you have in place, the installers guidance on cleaning and maintaining your hot tub, along with any other information they need to reduce risks effectively.

Inadequate management, communication or instruction are often the source of problems when it comes to delegating tasks like this, so make sure there’s clear and written guidance on what needs to be completed, with reviews taken on a regular basis and increased in frequency if a new cleaner or individual is made responsible for these tasks.

Our holiday home insurance includes cover for Legionellosis 

We believe in giving our holiday homeowners the broadest level of cover possible. This is why we include cover against accidental bodily injury caused by Legionellosis. We recently increased the public liability extension for Legionellosis liability to provide £1m of cover. This applies to any one period of insurance and includes associated legal fees.

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

coastal holiday let

coastal holiday let

Styling a property and making it your home is something that’s completely reliant on your own taste and personality; you’ll ultimately fill it with items that match your own style expectations and that represent you, your family and the ones you love. But when it comes to styling a coastal holiday let to be occupied by countless guests with a broad range of tastes, where do you or should you begin?

You’ll want your coastal holiday let interior to be neutral in order to not alienate anyone thus narrowing your potential market. Equally you’ll want to stand out from the crowd and make sure that your holiday home has the wow factor to make it leap from the website page your potential guests are viewing.

This is particularly pertinent for coastal cottages; many people want to spend their summers (and winters!) by the sea, but how do you stand out from the standardised ‘nautical’ look and feel that has swept the coastlines of the UK?

Here’s just a few tips on styling your coastal holiday let…

Know your target market

Any interior design or furnishing always starts with understanding who’s going to be staying in your holiday cottage.  The look and feel of a family-friendly abode is going to be very different to that romantic bolt-hole for young professionals venturing out of London for the weekend.

So the question is, are you in your own target market? If not, then it can be incredibly difficult to step away from our own tastes or personal preferences and place ourselves into the shoes of those that will be.

The answer? Consider asking the people that matter the most – your own guests. What do they like about the interior of your cottage at the moment? Are there aspects they don’t like? What would they change for the better if they could?

Feedback forms are often filled out by guests on departure. However these rarely veer from the generic questions of overall quality and satisfaction. If you’re considering renovating or refurbishing your holiday home, perhaps take the opportunity to ask your guests for their opinions.

Less is sometimes more

If you’re based on the coast, then it can be tempting to sweep through your holiday home with swathes of white and pastoral blues, but the latest trends and interior design experts suggest that less in this case certainly is more.

They recommend using blues as an accent colour, rather than one of dominance, which if you’re wanting to welcome guests to your holiday home in the winter months is certainly worth bearing in mind as blue is always thought to be a cooler colouring by the human psyche.

Avoid the cliché

Lighthouse lamps, porthole mirrors, seashells, rope, anchors, wall-hung oars and endless prints of ships. How many of these feature in your coastal holiday home? Props in your holiday home can not only lead to a forced style, but also clutter and if you’re welcoming young children into your property, create situations where such items can be easily broken or lead to harm.

A holiday home will generally be more lightly furnished than your own home. So always ensure props or any additional pieces become features rather than clutter.

So what actually is in style?

The people in the interior design know tell us that in-vogue at the moment are:

  • classic tongue and groove panelling,
  • painted floorboards,
  • galvanised metals and weathered paintwork

Accessorising with antique mirrors, worn leather chairs, white china, glass jars and vintage enamelware will finish the look.

No matter what the current trend, your styling success will ultimately come down to connecting with your target market. By finding common ground with them and placing them at the heart of every decision, you’ll not go far wrong.

Remember when creating the perfect style for your coastal holiday let be sure to review your sums insured. After all that hard work you’ll not want to fall short on cover should the worst happen.

Boshers are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For information on specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.