Last Updated on January 13, 2017 by Mark Lavington
Holiday home facilities – 6 steps to improve guest safety whilst reducing holiday homeowner liability risks
When adding additional facilites to your holiday home consideration should be given to guest safety and holiday homeowner liability risks. Tourism is an increasingly competitive marketplace; what makes someone choose your holiday home over the property down the road? What it is that differentiates you?
This level of competition has seen an increase in the facilities and products offered by holiday homes to their guests in recent times. Look back 10 years and a hot tub wasn’t such a common site. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s almost a must if looking to attract guests in some locations.
What was previously seen as an added extra is now often taken for granted as a standard element. So with holiday homes becoming packed full of features, where does your holiday homeowner liability lay and what should you be considering each time you add a new element to your let?
Step one: Think before you buy – complete a risk assessment
Before you buy a trampoline or any other additional item for your holiday home, fill out a risk assessment form. What could go wrong? What injuries could occur? Sit down and take the time to really think about every aspect of the new facility. Potential injuries, faults, and problems are just some of the things you should make a note of so that you are completely knowledgeable on the safety, use, and maintenance of your new item.
Step two: How can you minimise risk and ensure a safe experience?
Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment and created a list of potential injuries and problems, it’s time to think about how you can minimise those risks. Whether it is a safety net around a trampoline, or a step with grip out of the hot tub, these little solutions can make a huge difference in keeping your guests safe. Don’t forget, a notice stating that they are using the facility at their own risk will not resolve you from liability should an incident occur. This means that you need to actively take steps to make your new facility as safe as possible.
Step three: Adhere to all legislative and manufacturers guidelines
Legislation will apply to certain items. Hot tubs, for example, have a lot of legislation regarding maintenance. It is vital that hot tubs and similar facilities are maintained accordingly, ensuring that exposure to infection is minimised. Other facilities may also have specific legislation which you will need to research, understand, and enforce in order to comply with UK law.
Step four: Conduct regular checks and maintenance
Regular checks on your holiday letting property isn’t anything new. However, you’ll also need to do regular checks and maintenance on your new facility. The easiest way to keep this up is by creating an inspection/maintenance programme. This will help you to schedule regular checks and provide a record of any inspections made. If you won’t be carrying out the maintenance yourself, particularly when it comes to hot tubs, you’ll need to consider whether a housekeeper or other person will need training. Alternatively you may wish to engage a qualified contractor to provide the maintenance for you.
Step five: Make sure that your guests know how to use it safely
After spending time, effort, and money, on your new facilities you won’t want them to be damaged or broken. Inform your guests by leaving clear instructions for them. By communicating clear guidance means you have done as much as possible to show them how to use the facility, and it is less likely (if following all of these steps) that an injury as a result of misuse could be your fault.
Step six: Inform your insurer
The final step is to inform your insurance company about your new facilities. Make sure that you are abiding by policy conditions at all times. If in doubt about these conditions, then speak with them and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is and is not covered.
You will want peace of mind if an incident does occur. Follow the guidance above and you’ll sleep well knowing that you did your utmost to ensure the safety of your guests. Whilst you may not mitigate your holiday homeowner liability, you’ll likely to reduce your chances of being found negligent. It’s at this point that having quality holiday home insurance in place comes into its own. Your insurers will help to defend any claims for negligence and ensure that claims and expenses are paid in a timely manner.
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. Alternatively for further information on holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you: