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.

carbon monoxide

carbon monoxide

Reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, often dubbed the ‘silent killer’, have increased significantly in the past twelve months. As reported in the press around 1,800 properties have been affected in the past year across Devon and Cornwall. This represents an increase of 134% year on year. So what exactly is carbon monoxide and where does it come from? What do you need to do in order to ensure your holiday home is safe from any potential issues?

What is carbon monoxide and where does it come from?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. It is a silent killer that causes around 25 deaths across the UK every year. It’s produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly or completely. Poor fitting and maintenance of appliances such as cookers, boilers and wood burners being the most common causes in households across the UK.

How can it be detected and what are the symptoms of poisoning?

Because the gas has no smell or taste, it’s impossible to know that you’re being subjected to it until symptoms appear or it’s potentially too late. The early symptoms of potential carbon monoxide poisoning can include:

  1. Headache
  2. Feeling nauseous (sick) or dizzy.
  3. You may also feel tired or suffer confusion.
  4. Some people are physically sick (vomiting) and can show signs of abdominal pain.
  5. After further exposure individuals have also been known to suffer memory loss, confusion and problems with coordination.

The issue with many of the early symptoms is that they can often resemble everyday aches and pains. For example having a headache or feeling tired after a long day! Many may also resemble the flu; however, the key difference is that CO poisoning will not cause the individual to have a temperature.

What do you need to do as a holiday homeowner?

There are a number of steps that you need to take as a holiday homeowner to ensure the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning are minimised for your guests:

Use approved installation and service engineers 

Make sure that all appliances within your holiday home have been correctly installed and are maintained by a professional on a regular basis. Any tradesperson undertaking work in your holiday let should also have the relevant accreditation for their trade. For example, if you’re having a new gas boiler fitted the work should be undertaken by a business that is on the Gas Safety Register:

Fit carbon monoxide alarms in your holiday home

Your cottage should be fitted with carbon monoxide alarms in any area in which fuel is burned. Recent research has shown that 80% of homeowners aren’t sure whether or not their own alarm is working. And many are not aware of the difference in sound from their smoke alarm. For this reason, ensure that your holiday home checks include testing of fire and CO alarms on a very regular basis to ensure they’re both functional.

Have your chimneys and flues regularly swept

Although carbon monoxide poisoning is often associated with gas appliances, blocked chimney flues are one of the most common causes of CO in homes across the UK. If your holiday home has a chimney and working fire it should be swept on a regular basis and particularly after long periods of inactivity. You can find out more about chimney sweeping and safety in our blog here:

Ensure your holiday home is well-ventilated

CO is able to build up in rooms and areas of your cottage that are not well-ventilated. Ensure that your cottage has plenty of ventilation in areas that are burning fuel and that air bricks are not blocked by furniture or any other item.

You can watch a useful video on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning here:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Would you like an insurance quote for your holiday letting property? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

holiday home waste

holiday home waste

When we’re at home putting the bins and recycling out can sometimes be a chore. However it is certainly made easier than dealing with your holiday home waste by being there most of the time. Holiday homeowners often live a long distance from their holiday letting property, or perhaps only have the capacity to visit infrequently. So with this in mind how do you keep on top of your holiday home waste collection; and what are your obligations?

What are your obligations with respect to dealing with your holiday home waste?

By law, all businesses are required to take ‘all reasonable steps to ensure their waste is kept safe’; and when removed is ‘handled by a contractor authorised to collect, transfer, recycle or dispose of it safely.’

Unfortunately, waste disposal isn’t included within business rates. This is because it’s deemed fairer to charge businesses individually based on the quantity and type of waste they produce.

Is a holiday home a business?

The question is therefore, as a holiday cottage owner, are you a business?

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 indicates that holiday lets and self-catering accommodation providers do qualify as a business. Therefore for the purpose of holiday home waste collection, holiday let owners should pay for a commercial waste service.

Full collection and disposal charges are applicable unless you receive the small business rates relief. It’s worth noting that many individual holiday lets do qualify; in which case you would only need to pay for the collection of the waste from your holiday cottage.

The benefits of commercial waste collection

There are a few benefits to having your holiday home waste collected commercially; such as

  • compliance with the waste regulations
  • increasing the frequency of collection during peak periods
  • matching collections to fit in on or before your changeover days

Saving money and increasing participation in recycling

When paying for your waste to be collected it goes without saying that in order to reduce costs, it’s important for you to reduce the amount of waste generated by your property.

But how do you actually do that in practice?  The answer is recycling although you’ll need to be savvy in getting your guests engaged when on holiday.

Although most of us will now recycle at home, attitudes can sometimes slip when we’re wanting to relax. Therefore making it as easy and simple as possible for your guests is vital to increasing their participation.

Clearly labeled or perhaps coloured containers are a must to make sure they know exactly what goes where. Also consider where you position them and if you welcome families into your cottage, whether it can be turned into a game to get everyone involved.

How do I organise a holiday home waste collection?

For more information on refuse collection please contact your local council for details of commercial waste contractors. Expect to pay a fee for a supply of commercial waste sacks and agree your collection days. It’s a good idea to make it clear to your guests when your holiday home waste and recycling will be collected and ask them politely if they will put the bags out in good time on the allocated day.

If you’d like to discuss how our specialist holiday home insurance can ensure your property has the cover it needs, please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.

 

insure your home and holiday home

insure your home and holiday home As specialists in holiday let insurance we advise thousands of holiday cottage owners across the United kingdom. Providing them with policies tailored to the unique needs of their holiday homes. We also offer many of them that same level of service when it comes to insuring their own home. Whether you live onsite or miles from your holiday let, there are benefits to having your insurance under one roof. So here are a few good reasons to insure your home and holiday let with one insurer.

Simplicity is bliss

Having a single provider brings with it simplicity. All of your policies can be brought in line with a single renewal date. Meaning both payments can be taken at the same time. This can bring peace of mind, remove uncertainty and reduce the level of admin you need to undertake in relation to insuring your home and holiday let.

A lack of grey areas

This simplicity extends to when you need to make a claim. If you live on the same site as your holiday cottage(s) there can sometimes be a degree of confusion as to who you need to contact. For example, if an accident were to occur between your house and your holiday home, where is the boundary drawn and which policy should you claim under?

Having it all under a single provider allows you the comfort of knowing who to contact, no matter what the circumstances or the query you may have.

What if you live onsite?

Holiday letting can take many forms, such as an annexe attached to your home, or a complex of holiday cottages in your grounds. If you live onsite it is almost always best for you to insure your home and holiday let property with the same insurer so there is no doubt who will deal with a claim when one arises.

What if you live miles away from your holiday cottage?

It’s not uncommon for holiday homeowners to live a considerable distance from their cottage.  In this case, having your home and holiday home insurance with a single provider can be particularly beneficial when you use the property for your own vacations. In this example you’ll always know that anything you take with you such as personal possessions, valuables and sports equipment including bikes can be covered without ambiguity.

Continuity of service

The good news is when you contact us you’re likely to speak to someone you’ve dealt with before. Our holiday homeowners are never passed from pillar to post; no matter what your question or which policy you’re wanting to talk to us about, you’ll speak to an experienced member of the Boshers team.

The benefits of specialism

We specialise in holiday home insurance and speak with cottage owners every day of the week. We bring our knowledge and experience to ensure that your home and holiday let both have the most suitable cover. Should the worse happen, we always aim to support you in getting back on your feet. Our understanding of your circumstances plays a big role in ensuring we’re able to achieve this. Speak with our team today. They’ll highlight other reasons to insure your home and holiday let together through Boshers.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home and property insurance to holiday cottage owners across the country. For more information on our policies have a look around Boshers website. For a quote or to ask any question please give our team a call on 01237 429444.

fire risk assessment

fire risk assessmentHave you considered what would happen if your holiday home became the victim of fire? Whilst we hope it won’t happen to us, there are more than 40,000 house fires across the UK each year. Therefore it’s vital that holiday let owners are aware of the consequences a fire could have on their holiday home.

Above all owners should:

  • take preventative measures
  • outline these measures in a written fire risk assessment

This will help ensure that the risks of one occurring are effectively minimised keeping you and your guests safe.

The law and fire regulations

When it comes to the law, all businesses, regardless of size, are required to comply with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. A key aspect of effective compliance is for you to undertake a fire risk assessment for your holiday home, which will identify any potential fire risks and the measures you need to put in place to control them.

Whilst only businesses that employ five or more staff are required to keep a written record of this assessment, it’s recommended that you keep a document outlining your own approach to fire safety in order to prove that you’ve fulfilled your legal requirements.

Creating a fire risk assessment

Many of us won’t have ever needed to create a risk assessment of any kind. So if you’re a new cottage owner or haven’t already got a fire risk assessment in place it can be difficult to know where to start. For this reason, VisitEngland has created a useful fire risk assessment template in collaboration with the National Fire Chiefs Council.

To carry out your own fire risk assessment please click here: VisitBritain – Fire Risk Assessment Template

Remember that this is only a template and should only be used in order to complete some of the core areas of your own fire risk assessment. Every cottage will have its own unique set of requirements. Do give careful consideration to your own holiday home and any potential risks to your property and to your guests.

Review your fire risk assessment

Your holiday letting property together with potential fire risks can change over time. Therefore it’s important to emphasise that your fire risk assessment should be regularly reviewed. Ensure that any actions required within your assessment are carried out, where necessary by a qualified professional (for example Portable Appliance Testing), and that your document is updated accordingly.

Your holiday let insurance

We know that fire can have a devastating impact on any holiday home business. This is especially so if your holiday home were to become uninhabitable at a busy time of the year.

Insurance is there to help you through tough times. If a fire were to make your cottage uninhabitable you would not only face the potential bill to fix the issue, but also be left facing a loss of rental income.

For this reason, our own policy automatically covers cottage owners for up to two years’ loss of rental income. As standard, cover is included up to a sum of £75,000 (£37,500 per annum) for loss of gross rental income. Giving you as an owner peace of mind should your property become unavailable as the result of fire. Does your holiday home have an annual gross rental income in excess of £37,500 per annum (£75,000 over two years)? We provide additional cover for holiday cottage complexes and for larger properties on request.

Further information including links to useful guidance and documents are available here – Fire Safety Law for Holiday Homeowners

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

Please note that this article gives only an overview of Fire Risk Assessments for Holiday Lets and we suggest you take advice from a qualified professional before making any decisions in this area if you are not confident of using the above fire risk assessment tool.

Furnished Holiday Lettings - A Tax Guide - 4th Edition

Furnished Holiday Lettings - A Tax Guide - 4th EditionThe holiday cottage industry brings with it a unique set of circumstances; as providers of specialist insurance for holiday letting owners such as yourself, we understand how to make sure you have the cover that you need, when you need it.  We also appreciate the value that other specialists can add to your holiday cottage business, holiday letting tax and accountancy is certainly one of these.

Owners need to be aware of the latest holiday letting tax legislation and advice in order to make the most of their investment and attempt to gain greater returns.  But how do you keep up to date with this ever changing complex and evolving area?

New edition of Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide

If you’re wanting to better understand your tax position as a holiday homeowner, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve teamed up with Claritax Books and tax accountant John Endacott to provide you with the facility to purchase a copy of the latest edition of Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide.

This informative book is a practical guide to the tax rules relating to furnished holiday homes and includes comprehensive information on:

  • The background to the tax rules
  • Property letting or trading?
  • Meeting the qualifying criteria
  • Furnished holiday letting in the EEA
  • Sale of a property
  • Holiday lets and exemption from inheritance tax
  • Succession planning for Furnished Holiday Lettings
  • Rates, VAT and other UK taxes

The 3rd edition was 25 – 30% longer than the previous edition and encompassed the latest thoughts on:

  • business structuring to reflect the growth in corporate ownership of property businesses,
  • the impact of increasing number of overseas owners,
  • consideration of the government’s various measures that have increased property taxes on residential property in recent years

It also includes the latest cases on the tax status of holiday lets for income tax and inheritance tax.

This 4th edition contains even more material, including:

  • Capital gains tax changes including new business asset disposal relief, main residence relief reductions and accelerated payment of tax;
  • Latest tax cases on business property relief – Graham and Vigne;
  • Non-residents – NRCGT, SDLT surcharge for overseas purchasers and Brexit;
  • Capital allowances changes – structures and buildings allowances and writing-down allowance reductions;
  • Update on trading status position following anti-avoidance cases and Covid-19 government intervention measures; and
  • VAT developments and small business rates relief changes as well as Covid-19 measures.

Although tax can often be complicated and confusing, you’ll find a number of specifically tailored examples which explain the taxation implications of owning and running a furnished holiday letting property, and the decisions you take each year. Whilst the book isn’t a substitution for taking professional advice from your accountant, it will arm you with knowledge to help you better understand the complexities of holiday letting tax.

The book itself is suitable for any of the following:

  • Existing furnished holiday letting owners
  • Prospective holiday home purchasers looking to let their second homes
  • Those considering converting barns or out buildings into furnished holiday lettings

How do I obtain a copy of Furnished Holiday Lettings – A Tax Guide – 4th Edition?

To order your copy now please click here.

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

Family friendly holiday letting

Family friendly holiday lettingWhether your family friendly holiday letting property will be welcoming babies, toddlers, or older children this year, one thing every family will appreciate is the cottage owner that goes that extra mile to make their stay a home away from home.

Achieving this in reality will be a process of finding a balance between fun and practical; you’ll need to think of things that might not make it into that packed car. Make life easier for them on arrival, whilst also providing them with some entertainment facilities in order to keep minds and bodies active.

Here are a few easy wins for your guests, and your property when it comes to welcoming young families…

Keep the wet shoes, umbrella and swimwear elsewhere

Kids love to run around and get mucky, and if you don’t provide an area for muddy or wet shoes you’ll probably find yourself scrubbing the carpet stains next week! The same goes for water stains from swimming costumes that have been draped over wooden chairs, or a nice puddle from a wet umbrella.

When it comes to the great British summer having an area for all of these items is essential, so if your holiday home already has one ensure that your guests know to use it, and where to hang those soggy swimming costumes.  If you haven’t got an area like this, where could you create one in order to make it convenient for your guests, and less wearing on your cottage?

Make it safe and sturdy

When it comes to furnishing your holiday home ensure that all items are sturdy, robust and safe. If you’re welcoming children then glass, whether in a coffee table or a balustrade mightn’t be a good mix, so always think about your target market before adding items such as these.

Aside from furniture, you should be thinking about other things in the cottage that could pose a threat. Uncovered sockets, wires, and even cleaning products should all be looked at and put out of reach where possible.  Vases and similar items should also be moved accordingly.

Garden security, and safety

Have large outdoor spaces for children to play in? Your holiday home might well be a big hit with young families! The only thing you’ll need to be mindful of is access and security; does your garden back onto a road? Is it enclosed or is it going to be easy for children to wonder off? Having child proof locks on gates and exits from the garden are a must to create a secure and safe environment. If you haven’t already, consider installing these.

You may also have outdoor play equipment for your younger guests; these create a little something extra for those staying in the cottage. Make sure you’re familiar with what you’ll need to be considering when installing and maintaining this equipment by visiting our post here:

Entertain them

Whilst us brits are eternal optimists when it comes to the weather, sometimes the realist in us has to take over. Accept that on occasion, we are going to have to tolerate the odd rainy day. On such a day, your visiting family may choose to stay indoors and that is when entertainment becomes vital. Board games, books, and maybe some DVDs can turn a dull day into one filled with family fun. You can read more suggestions of rainy day entertainment here:

Practical items

Taking young children on holiday can be stressful; there’ll be plenty to remember for the family headed to your cottage. Sometimes things will be forgotten, or simply not fit in the car.  Make their trip a little less chaotic by providing high chairs, cots, or a smaller toilet seat for little ones?

This extra care will really be appreciated by the adults, and they’ll remember it long after their stay! This could easily result in recommendations to their friends or a return visit, which is great for your bookings.

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

Outdoor Play Equipment

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

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

Invest in quality outdoor play equipment

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

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

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

What is the recommended age?

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

Essential safety features

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

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

Regular inspections

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

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

Do you have a sand pit?

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

Check your holiday cottage insurance cover

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

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

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

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

holiday home electrical circuit safe

holiday home electrical circuit safeThere are some items in modern life we just couldn’t do without, whether in the home or whilst on holiday; kettles, coffee machines, toasters, microwaves, TV’s, Hi-Fi’s and mobile devices. These all play a central part of our days, as they will be for those visiting your holiday home. What they all have in common is the need for reliable mains power. As a responsible holiday homeowner you have a duty of care to ensure the safety of your guests. Is your holiday home electrical circuit safe and how do you ensure that it is and remains so?

What are the risks posed by electricity in your holiday home?

The main risks are:

  • Electrocutions and fatal electrical burns

Statistics from 2010 show that in one year 28 deaths occurred in Great Britain due to electrocutions. 6 of these occurred in the work place and 22 were home or leisure related.

  • Electric shocks

A staggering 2.5million people receive a non-fatal electric shock per year, of whom 350,000 receive a serious injury.

  • Accidental electrical fires

In 2011/12 there were 20403 fires of an electrical origin in Great Britain. 2471 of these related to the electrical installation and directly accounted for 8 deaths and 167 injuries.

How old is your fuse board? It may be time to replace it for one with RCD’s

Interestingly a DTI report estimated that 20% of electrical fires could be prevented by the presence of an RCD. RCD’s (Residual Current Device) form an integral part of modern fuse boards. They are very sensitive and trip the electrical circuit at the first sign of a problem.

Source: Electrical Safety First Core Data Set

Your responsibilities as a holiday homeowner

Under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Health and Safety at Work Act, you have a duty of care. This duty extends to both your holiday lets’ electrical appliances and the electrical circuit.

There are no specific requirements when it comes to the frequency of checks to ensure the electrical circuit is safe. However it is still important to comply with your duty of care. The best way to do this is to engage a professional to conduct an electrical safety inspection.

Conduct an electrical safety inspection

It is best practice to have an electrical safety inspection before you welcome guests into your holiday home. Whilst this is not currently a mandatory requirement for most individual holiday homes, it is widely regarded as best practice. Having an electrical safety inspection will demonstrate that you take safety seriously. Remember your duty of care extends towards your guests and the employees and contractors who maintain your holiday home.

An electrical safety inspection is a common requirement of a quality holiday letting agent, they’ll often require proof before advertising your cottage. Holiday letting agents will have reliable tradesman and will put you in touch with qualified electricians in the area. They are also a basic requirement of the quality assessment schemes which are run on behalf of our national tourism boards.

An electrical safety inspection comes in two parts, and involves (1) an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which looks at the safety of the electrical wiring circuit installations, fixtures and fittings – and (2) a PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) check.

Top tip: An Electrical Installation Condition Report may be included in the cost when upgrading your fuse board to a modern one incorporating RCD’s.

Electrical Installation Condition Report

As a general recommendation, an Electrical Installation Condition Report should be carried out every five years. This will vary depending on the age of your installation, and if there has been any problems or damage during that period, such as an escape of water. These tests should be carried out by a registered electrician who is qualified to perform them. Any recommended remedial work should be followed through as soon as physically possible.

Once the inspection and any necessary work is complete, obtain a certificate and keep it safe, furthermore your holiday home letting agent may require a copy.

Top tip: ask the electrician who inspects your holiday home electrical wiring circuit for guidance on regular visual inspections that it would be wise for you to make in between each Electrical Installation Condition Report. Keeping a record of such visual inspections will demonstrate that you take your guests safety seriously and may just prevent an incident.

PAT Testing

As well as large fixed wiring installation checks, you should also frequently carry out visual checks on all electrical appliances. From the little things like hairdryers, to larger items such as your fridge and washing machine, you’ll need to give them a visual once over on a regular basis. Check for broken plugs and frayed mains leads, if in doubt have them inspected and repaired by a professional.

It is a general recommendation that portable appliances in a holiday home are checked periodically for faults. This should be done by a competent person, preferably annually. To learn more about Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) checks in holiday homes click the link below:

All holiday homeowners want their guests to have a great time. Having a procedure for checking electrical items in place helps ensure this, as a result you’ll be meeting your duty of care and in addition you’ll also be ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable stay.

Your holiday home insurance

Maintaining a record of when appliances were purchased demonstrates good practice. Staple the receipt to a piece of the packaging which identifies the item and keep them safe. Don’t forget to place a copy of the user instructions in your Welcome Information Folder. Keep copies of your Electrical Installation Condition Report and certificates issued for your Portable Appliance Testing checks when undertaken. Showing that you’re responsible, compliant and have made every effort to keep your guests safe will help smooth the claims process should there be an accident or injury in your holiday home.

Whilst reading this article you’ve probably been asking yourself if you have taken all possible measures to protect your holiday home visitors? We have other articles on these subjects, here are links to a few which may be of interest to you:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call for an insurance quote today.

Disclaimer notices

Disclaimer noticesWe’ve all seen them in everyday life; ‘Park here at your own risk’, ‘Playing in this area is at your own risk’. Disclaimer notices have become an increasingly common sight for most of us. Therefore it may surprise you to find that they don’t absolve the owner from blame should something go wrong. This is equally true for your holiday home and the facilities that you provide for your guests.

Do you have one of these signs at your holiday let? Have you mentioned this sort of wording within your welcome pack? Let’s take a look at:

  • how far these go in removing or reducing your liability, and
  • what you should be doing to make sure that you’re fully covered should the worst happen.

The legal bit – is your disclaimer notice valid?

As part of the unfair terms provisions in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 it is stated that no contract term, or notice, can legally have the effect of excluding or restricting liability for death or injury caused by negligence in the course of business.

What does this mean if an accident occurs as a result of your negligence? Your disclaimer wording won’t get you off the hook in terms of blame.

What exactly does negligence mean in this context? An example may be if someone were to hurt themselves whilst playing on your trampoline. There is of course the risk of an accident happening when bouncing on any trampoline. However should the accident happen for instance because the trampoline collapsed and you hadn’t carried out any recent checks on the equipment. Your disclaimer notice will most definitely not absolve you from any liability.

When could they be valid?

If your notice clearly only applies where someone else, or a factor outside anyone’s control, is to blame, then it can be valid. An example here might be if someone were to swim in an area of the sea that is well known for having a strong rip tide. However, if thinking about your holiday cottage, the majority of elements you will have some sort of control over reducing risk, whether that’s your hot tub, children’s play equipment or a trampoline.

What should you be doing?

Regardless of whether you have a sign on display or not, your responsibility to your guests as a holiday homeowner means that it’s vital to have procedures in place. Ensure that everything your guests are using is regularly inspected and abiding by manufacturer’s and legislative guidelines.

Making sure that you work to processes and guidelines will not only mean that the chances of an accident occurring are reduced, but also ensure that you’re not seen as negligent should it still happen.

The insurance bit

Bosher’s Holiday Home Insurance policies come with £10,000,000 of Public Liability cover as standard. In the event of an accident any insurer will want to know about the steps taken to reduce the potential risk. Keeping a written record of risk assessments, inspections, maintenance and guidance for the use of your facilities is highly recommended. You’ll find more guidance on this below.

Please note this article is only an initial guide to the legal validity of disclaimer notices. For further information about your liability as a holiday let owner please seek legal advice. Alternatively give us a call if it’s an insurance matter.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how Boshers can help and support you as a holiday cottage owner, please give us a call. Alternatively for further information on holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

Listed Building Consent

Listed Building ConsentAs a nation we love our history and heritage; there’s a reason National Trust properties are some of the most popular venues to visit across the country no matter what the season.  A recent survey by Historic England has now revealed that the owners of listed buildings are also proud with their own stake in a yester year.

For the report 1,000 privately owned listed building owners were surveyed, with 93% of those asked seeing their property as important to local character.

If you own your own slice of English heritage then you’ll need to be familiar with the obligations and responsibilities that come with owning a listed property, particularly when it comes to making modifications or changes to your building (as may be the case with the ever changing needs and demands of visitors).

Listed Building Consent (LBC)

As so many historic properties are privately owned (some two thirds of the listed properties across the UK are in private ownership), it is up to the homeowners to ensure that proper maintenance is carried out in order to preserve these wonderful buildings. As part of this, there is sometimes a need to apply for Listed Building Consent (LBC). This building consent must come from your local planning authority, and it is needed if you want to alter or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character or appearance.

Understanding which work requires LBC

88% of owners recognise the importance of Listed Building Consent, which is good because unauthorised work is a criminal offence which can result in prosecution. Whilst most owners have reported a positive experience when applying for LBC, one third of people have had a bad experience.

The survey shows that there is a lot of confusion around Listed Building Consent as not everyone knows what types of work require the consent. It can also seem like a long and complex process, which also puts owners off. For clear advice, take a look at Historic England’s LBC page here.

General Maintenance can be carried out without consent

It is however ok to carry out general maintenance without consent. The survey has shown that historic building owners take good care of their properties, with two thirds of them carrying out regular maintenance (which is incredibly important if you’re welcoming guests to your property).

45% of owners clear gutters and pipes annually (which we recommend as a minimum), whilst 36% clear roof coverings and chimneys annually (which again is a minimum figure you should be adhering to).

Only 10% of listed building owners paint and repairs windows and doors every year, with 58% opting to do this every 2 to 5 years.

Maintaining your listed building to a high standard isn’t just good for the property itself, it is also great for drawing in holiday let visitors, who as you know, come with increasing expectations and standards each and every year.

Boshers are specialist providers of Listed Holiday Home Insurance. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444. 

Follow this link for posts similar to Insurance for Listed Holiday Lets with Heritage and other useful resources for holiday home owners.

You may also find the following post for Listed Holiday Let owners of interest: