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.

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.

Septic tank

Owners of rural holiday cottages should be careful not to fall foul of new septic tank regulations

Septic tankWhen you think about a holiday home, emotive thoughts of stunning locations, long summer evenings and fun with family and friends are often some of the first things that spring to mind. An important, albeit less glamorous aspect of owning a rural home or holiday cottage is dealing with sewage. Not a problem if your property is connected to the main sewerage system, but what if it isn’t?

Does your cottage have a septic tank or a private sewage treatment plant?

As many holiday homes across the country are based in rural, coastal and countryside areas, it’s not uncommon for them to be served by a septic tank or private sewage treatment plant (STP). If your cottage has either of these then you’ll need to comply with The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, which came into force on 1st January 2017 and need to be adhered to by 1st January 2020, or sooner if pollution is already occurring or you wish to sell the property this year.

So, for those that perhaps aren’t fully acquainted with waste management systems, what actually is the difference between a septic tank and a STP?

Septic Tanks

A septic tank is the most common and well-known of potential waste disposal systems. Sewage from the holiday home enters the tank, which is usually buried underground or situated away from the property, with solid matter staying within the tank and liquids flowing out for disposal.

Strutt and Parker reports that a 2010 study by Natural England found around 80% of septic tanks weren’t working satisfactorily, with the outflow pipe from many older systems flowing straight into a field drain and eventually to an open watercourse or, in some cases, directly into streams and rivers themselves.

If your septic tank is currently leading to any of these watercourses, then you’ll need to take remedial action before the end of this year to prevent any potential fines or further pollution and damage to your local area.

Private Sewage Treatment Plants

A private sewage treatment plant operates much like a mini sewage works. Pumping and aeration equipment within the plant enhances the breakdown of waste, meaning that any effluent discharged is much cleaner when compared to a traditional sewage septic tank, and can therefore be discharged into rivers and streams (subject to an Environment Agency permit where appropriate).

Practical Steps for you to take

The following useful information has been taken from Strutt and Parker’s recent guide on septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. You can find a link to their full information at the bottom of this blog post.

Septic Tank Owners

The first thing to say is that every property needs somewhere to place its waste, but if your holiday home is served by a private septic tank or a private sewage treatment plant (STP), you’ll need to ensure that this is compliant with The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 which have come in to place.

Check that your septic tank is:

  1. Discharging to the ground only
  2. Discharging domestic sewage only
  3. Not discharging more than 2m cubed per day
  4. Regularly de-sludged by a registered waste handler

Also check that your septic tank:

  1. Has sound, properly fitting lids and covers
  2. If installed prior to 1st January 2015, is more than 50m from any well or borehole and is outside a Special Protection Zone
  3. If installed after 1st January 2015, is also outside any designated sensitive area (DSA)
  4. Shows no evidence of overflowing or pollution (If there is effluent visible in the vicinity of your tank, your tank needs to be emptied, or your ground discharge is not working properly – or both. Surface run-off of effluent is likely to end up in a watercourse which is illegal.)

If your septic tank is ticking all of these boxes then no further action should be required. However, if you fail to meet any of these requirements then you’ll need to employ a competent professional to remedy any issues before 1st January 2020 passes.

Owners of a sewage treatment plant

Check that:

  1. Working parts are suitably serviced –advisable to have a management contract with a specialist
  2. The plant is regularly de-sludged by a registered waste handler
  3. There is no evidence of overflowing or pollution

In addition check that it’s:

  1. Outside of a designated sensitive area (DSA)
  2. Handling domestic (i.e. not commercial) sewage only
  3. Not discharging more than 5m cubed per day
  4. Installed in accordance with the planning and building regulations in place at the time (pre-1983 installations are deemed to comply automatically with this)
  5. Installation date was pre-1st January 2015.

If your STP is meeting the requirements then you shouldn’t need to take remedial action. In the event that it isn’t, it’s recommended that you seek professional advice to quickly remedy any issues.

For more information on this topic you can download your own copy of Strutt and Parker’s guidance below:

Additional information is available on the Government’s website below:

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.

Council Tax Bill second home

Council Tax Bill second home Plans to double council tax on holiday homes

October brings with it the political party conference season. A time when each party comes together in order to flesh out their major policies. Holiday homeowners reading some of the headlines which emerged from the Party Conferences recently, the reading may seem quite bleak.

The reason?  When shadow housing secretary John Healey took to the stage he announced that he was ready to place a brake on the growing difference between Britain’s housing ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in order to tackle homelessness that “shames us all”.

The focus of much of his ire was the country’s second home owners. Those owning a holiday cottage or second residence potentially being targeted for an additional £560 million tax bill – a doubling of their council tax.

Whilst potentially alarming for cottage owners, a question to be asked here is whether or not you are currently paying council tax on your holiday home or instead pay business rates, and the pros and cons of each of these options.

Should you be paying business rates or council tax?

The answer on this question comes down to two elements; what you use your second home for and how many days you let it out for.

  1. When your second home is used purely for you and your family you should be paying council tax.
  2. If you have a second home and it’s available for short term lets by paying guests for more than 140 days of the year then it should be assessed for business rates and added to the business rates list.

There are currently only 47,307 holiday homes liable for business rates in England. This would suggest that many holiday homes are potentially paying council tax when they should instead be paying business rates. So is there any benefit to doing so if you’re currently paying council tax on a property you let out to guests for a large proportion of the year?

The potential advantages of business rates

Small Business Rate Relief provides 100% relief from business rates on properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. This is provided the business uses only one property. It is however worth bearing in mind that relief of this type may still be available under certain circumstances. Therefore it’s worth consulting with your local ratings department if you are unsure.

There is also a concern that some second home owners are registering for business rates to avoid paying council tax. Currently there is little in the way of monitoring to ensure that holiday homes qualify for small business rate relief. For this reason the The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation:

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 are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For information on how we can help protect your holiday let business ,call us 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.

owning a holiday home

owning a holiday homeFor many, owning a holiday home on the coast is the dream. Albeit at a price, but just how much could that fantasy property cost us?  It will come as no surprise that there is often a hefty premium to be paid. Especially when it comes to proximity to the coast. Further still if that proximity extends to a view of it.

The latest research from Savills indicates that properties found within 100m of the British coast fetch a premium. On average, they’re 10.5% more expensive than those located further inland.

22% of second-home buyers plumped for purchases in the South West in 2016. Cornwall and Poole consistently proving popular locations, there are a number of other UK hotspots located across the British Isles. Is yours in the top 10?

St Andrews – Scotland

The most Northern of the property hotspots to be included in this list is St Andrews. It’s the home to a world famous golf course and the university at which Prince William spent his undergraduate years. Its proximity to the coast contributes to average property prices soaring to £294,000, a staggering 77% higher than the national average.

The Wirral – North West

Whilst not as traditionally well known for tourism, properties on the Wirral coast currently fetch an average of £280,000.  From this location you’ll be able to offer your guests and visitors easy access to local tourism hotspots. These include Anglesey, Snowdonia and the historic city of Chester.

The Welsh Coast

The popularity of a number of locations such as Conwy on the Welsh coast means that there’s more of a premium to be paid than that across the border in England.  Those buying a second home in the coastal areas of Wales can expect to pay a near 20% premium on average prices.

The South West

The West Country represents the most expensive stretch of coastline on the British Isles.  Wanting a pad in Sandbanks? You’ll be needing to fork out an average of £1.3m! Looking for a place in a well-known Cornish of Devonshire coastal hot spot? Expect to pay a premium of just shy of 17%.


The capital is perennially popular with overseas visitors, so if you’d like to give your guests the benefits of one of the busiest cities in the world and the tranquility of water how much might you need in your back pocket?

Flats between Teddington Lock and the Royal Docks average £595,000 when located within 100 metres of the water, a sizeable 19% more than if your property is located just 800 metres down the road.

The South and South East

One of the most expensive locations to buy a second home on this list; Southern cities such as Chichester not only provide your guests access to that crucial coastline, they also see their prices spiked by their proximity to London.  If you’d like the South East to be a home to your coastal cottage, then expect to pay more than £575,000.

The East

Perhaps you picture your dream second home in Suffolk? The average coastal property prices in the popular spots of Aldeburgh and Southwold are currently north of £370,000.

East Midlands

Once an incredibly popular seaside town, Skegness now boasts some of the most competitive prices when it comes to brining the coast to your doorstep.  With coastal averages of around £112,000, this area could be seen as something of a bargain when compared with other like-for-like areas.


When you consider that this is one of the most popular areas of the UK for domestic travel, the average coastal prices of £203,000 won’t put too many would-be buyers off of making Yorkshire a second home.  If you’re wanting a slice of popular towns such as Whitby or Scarborough, you can however expect to pay more than a 20% coastal premium.

North East

Last but certainly not least, the North East has lower average property prices than other areas of the UK. However interestingly it has the highest premium for living on the coast. With those near the sea paying 25% more than the those further inland.

So after all of that, where will you be making your second home? You may be interested in our previous posts on buying and letting a holiday cottage:

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.

great year for uk tourism

great year for uk tourismAs far as stats go 2015 was a great year for UK tourism as a whole. Many accommodation providers across the UK seeing increases in bookings and stays. The good news is that as 2016 came to a close it’s looking like it has lived up to the hype of the previous year with stats now becoming available for August.

An increase in visits made during August

According to a survey by PWC, 3.77 million people made UK based tourist visits during August last year. This was an increase of 2% on the same period last year. Whilst a 2% jump might not be enough to make many jaws hit the floor, when put into real terms it is an increase of 75,000 visitors in a thirty day period that was already a strong performer in the past calendar year.

It has been suggested that the weak pound following the ‘Brexit’ referendum vote could have had a positive impact on overseas trips made to the UK with savvy travellers trying to make the most of their money.

Visitors were spending more in August

Working on this logic you won’t be surprised to hear that there was also an increase in visitor spend during this period. The rise seen in August 2016 was 4% up on the previous year and spread across accommodation, attractions, and shopping. Not surprisingly, these UK tourism figures left many holiday homeowners and affiliated trades and services in a buoyant mood as the summer came to a close.

Larger trends: more oversees visitors arrive in past 12 months

There’s also good news when we look over a slightly longer time period; more and more overseas visitors are now flocking to the shores of the UK to enjoy a break. A 4% increase in this area has had a significant and positive impact on booking numbers and spend over the past twelve months.

It also matches a wider trend of higher levels of visits and spending across the past five years, meaning even more positive signs for holiday cottage owners.

What is the outlook for next year?

As we head into 2017, experts are predicting yet another fruitful year for those in the UK tourism industry. A survey by PWC has revealed that 45% of people expect to take more holidays in the UK next year; fantastic news for holiday homeowners potentially benefitting from those wanting and willing to take a ‘staycation’.

The survey also showed that 35% of people will be putting holidays as a priority for their spending in 2017. This provides further opportunity for the UK tourism industry to make the most of domestic visitors.

Some uncertainties

The success of 2017 may be impacted, positively or negatively, by the run up to the UK leaving the EU; and the value of the pound. More people are expected to favour staycations, as the research by PWC substantiates. So this year could easily surpass the success of 2016.

If the value of the pound stays the same, or falls further, Brits will find travelling abroad more expensive. Thus, giving a boost to UK tourism and an overall feeling of positivity within the industry. 2017 should be a great year for tourism in the UK and therefore a positive one for holiday homeowners.

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 on 01237 429444.

wood burner, holiday cottage

wood burner, holiday cottage

With winter now upon us, you might be considering installing a wood burner in your holiday cottage to make it more appealing to visitors during those colder months.

Wood burners can be a great way to heat your property; not only could you potentially reduce energy bills, but a roaring fireplace can also become a selling point for your cottage when visitors are looking to book a winter getaway.

We’ve taken a look at what you need to know when it comes to installing a wood burner or replacing your existing system.

Getting the right wood burner or solid fuel heating system

From multi-fuel open fires to biomass systems and inset stoves there are plenty of options available, no matter the size or shape of your cottage. When it comes to making the investment, do some research into which one will suit your property, and with a view to reducing potential costs, also work with any system that you already have in place.

Biomass boilers have become increasingly popular in recent times, due in part to the subsidies you’ll be able to gain on fuel bills as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  If you are exploring this option you’ll need to bear in mind the high initial cost of purchasing the boiler itself, and always remember to get three quotes, along with references from at least two previous customers. For more information on biomass heating, please read our blog article here:

Who should install your wood burner?

When it comes to installing a wood burner, certain regulations must be followed in line with the Government’s Building Regulations Document J. It’s recommended you use a registered wood burner installer who will know their job inside out, rather than making any attempt at installation yourself.

Many companies will be registered with HETAS installer scheme and listed on the Government recognised Competent Person Schemes; you can find one near you by searching via the HETAS and Competent Persons Register:


If a registered installer such as those listed above has installed your wood burner, you’ll be given a Certificate of Compliance.  This certificate is issued within 30 days of completion of the work to prove all Building Control obligations under Document J have been met.

Ensure you keep this in your records as evidence the work has been carried out by a competent professional.

Chimney fires; your maintenance responsibilities

If your holiday home has a wood burner it’s vital you regularly maintain it.  There are in the region of 6,000 chimney fires in England each year; take steps such as regular sweeping to avoid the catastrophic consequences a fire can have on your holiday home.

For full information on complying with the fire safety act and chimney fire prevention please read our blog here:

Carbon monoxide alarms

When your new wood burner is in place you’ll also need to make sure you install a carbon monoxide alarm. On 11 March 2015 the housing minister Brandon Lewis announced that residential landlords in England would be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas which kills as many as 50 people in the UK each year; it’s produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely.

A carbon monoxide alarm should be placed in the room as the wood burner / open fire and positioned on a wall or ceiling in a position as indicated in the instructions which accompany the unit. Your stove installer will advise you on where else in your holiday home you should place additional detectors.

For more information on the dangers of Carbon Monoxide and your responsibilities as a holiday let owner, please read our blog post here:

Additional guest safety tips

For your safety and that of your guests here are some additional best practice tips for those installing a solid fuel or wood burner in your holiday cottage. Provide the following:

  • Instructions for safe operation, cleaning and disposal of cinders in your Welcome Information Pack
  • Fire guard for containing sparks from open fires and preventing children and vulnerable adults from falling against or touching a hot stove or wood burner
  • Metal bin, clearly marked for disposal of cool ash and cinders only

The holiday home insurance angle — helping you get back on your feet

Our holiday homeowners are covered for damage to their property as a result of fire. We also understand the potentially devastating financial impact having your holiday home unavailable for let as the result of a fire can have on your business. Our loss of income covers you for the potential loss of income you may suffer as a result of disruption or interruption caused by an insured event such as fire.

This means that should you lose trade then you’ll not have to pay the price of the loss of trade you suffer through cancellations and periods of not being able to accept bookings.

We also understand that repairs and maintenance after such an event won’t be immediate; that’s why our indemnity period extends to two years.

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 on 01237 429444.

Please note that this article gives only an overview of installing a wood burner in your holiday cottage and we suggest you take advice from a qualified professional before making any decisions in this area. 

Deafgard - holiday home fire safety for deaf guests

Deafgard - holiday home fire safety for deaf guestsBeing awoken in the middle of the night by the loud blast of a fire alarm can be both terrifying and disorientating. There may well be a multitude of things rushing through your mind; is there really a fire or is it a false alarm? Where are the children? Which is the safest route from the building?

For those staying in your holiday letting property this situation can be all the more complex. Remember, they won’t be familiar with the layout of your holiday home, nor the sound of the fire alarm that potentially fills it.

But think for a moment; what would they do without that sound?

In an environment in which your hearing is the ultimate first warning, what would you do if deprived of this most vital of senses?

Holiday Home Fire Safety for deaf guests and people with hearing loss

For guests to your holiday home that are deaf or hard of hearing (which accounts for 1 in 7 people in the UK) this is a very real problem. Fire safety is so often focused around the preventative sound of the alarm that many holiday homes may be unable to cater for visitors with diminished levels of hearing.

What do you need to do as a holiday homeowner?

Fire Safety Law (known as Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) was introduced in 2006 and makes holiday homeowners responsible for taking measures to protect their guests from the risks of fire and applies to all tourism accommodation providers.

There are three core areas to fire safety law:

  1. Conduct a fire risk assessment.
  2. Improve your fire safety measures as a result of issues highlighted in the assessment.
  3. Keep the risks and measures under review.

When combined with the Equality Act 2010 (which requires you to provide, where reasonable, equal access to those with disabilities), this means it’s vital your fire risk assessment takes into consideration potential visitors that are hard of hearing or deaf, and then puts in place procedures to allow them to enjoy a safe stay in your holiday accommodation.

As a provider of guest accommodation, what is reasonable?

Accommodation and service providers have a duty to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or avoid any physical barriers that make it impossible or reasonably difficult for people with disabilities to use their facilities. Factors to consider include, whether the proposed adjustments meets the needs of the disabled person, is affordable and whether it would have a serious effect on other people. What might be looked upon as reasonable for a large hotel chain may not be so for an individual furnished holiday letting property or small bed and breakfast.

With the above in mind, there is an opportunity for small self-catering accommodation providers to differentiate themselves by going the extra mile.

What are your fire safety options for deaf guests?

There are a range of options and equipment on the market that will allow you to keep hard of hearing guests safer in the event of a fire.

Here’s an overview of one of these:

The Deafgard by Fireco

The Deafgard by Fireco is a battery powered unit a deaf or hard of hearing person can take to their room.

In the event of a fire alarm sounding the unit is triggered and vibrates a pad that fits beneath the guest’s pillow, flashes an LED light and displays the word ‘fire’ to ensure your guest is fully awoken and aware of the alarm being sounded.

Here’s a quick look at how it works:

This is an efficient way to ensure hard of hearing and deaf visitors are made aware of an alarm seconds after it sounds. You may find that guests with hearing difficulties may bring their own Deafgard or similar device for use at your holiday home. However if it’s affordable to your holiday letting business, making one available is a great way to differentiate your holiday home and fulfill your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.

These devices are available on the open market, for more information click here – Deafguard | Fireco.

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 on 01237 429444.

Please note that this article gives only an overview of Fire Safety for deaf guests and the hard of hearing 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 guidance. 

Second Home suitable for holiday letting

Second Home suitable for holiday lettingIf you’re thinking about buying a holiday home, or already own a second home, there are plenty of benefits to opening your doors to visiting tourists. We take a look at a few of the benefits of holiday letting your second home that await those taking the plunge…

Gain a return by holiday letting your second home

Gaining a return on your investment will ultimately be a decisive factor for you so we’ll start with some good news; the demand for self-catering accommodation is on the rise and it has been for several years!

Latest figures from Visit England indicate the average occupancy level for self-catering accommodation is around 31%, representing an increase of four percentage points over the last year.

Want the even better news? That figure increases to 42% during the peak summer period, when you’ll be able to charge a premium on your weekly rental (sometimes in excess of five times winter rental rates).

Enjoy potential tax benefits of holiday letting

A key benefit when it comes to holiday homes, as oppose to renting out other types of property, is that if you let out a furnished holiday home in the UK, your rental income can be treated more advantageously for tax purposes than from other rental income.

These benefits can include tax advantaged pension savings, 100% Capital Allowances on the first £250,000 of capital expenditure incurred, and Capital Gains Tax reliefs should you come to sell your holiday home in the future.

For a more in-depth take on the tax benefits of owning a holiday home please take a look at our Furnished Holiday Letting blog post here:

How to qualify under the Furnished Holiday Lettings Tax Rules

The married couples or civil partners team

Many holiday homes in the UK are purchased and owned jointly by married couples or civil partners. If you’re looking to buy with your spouse or civil partner then profits from furnished holiday lettings can be allocated in any proportion you wish, irrespective of your actual shares in the ownership of the property.

Help the local economy

Holiday homes play a vital role in supporting the local community through visitor expenditure and job creation (particularly during peak season).  When visitors stay in your property they’ll inevitably spend the majority of their money within a ten-mile radius, allowing for local shops, pubs, restaurants and service providers to thrive.

Remember you can have a holiday too!

If you’ve bought the perfect property one thing you’ll also want to do is enjoy it! Letting your property out as a furnished holiday let means that you’ll also be able to visit and stay in your own property from time to time, allowing you to have a break in your very own holiday home. Holiday letting your second home to guests will give you the added benefit of the property having a lived in feeling when you arrive for your own holidays by helping to avoid long periods when the property is unoccupied. Indeed it’s a good idea to experience holidays in your second home as your guests would, viewing it from their perspective will help you decide on improvements that’ll make your property even more desirable.

Won’t it be a lot of work?

Owning a holiday home needn’t be a stressful experience. There are a large number of holiday letting agents and property management companies who’ll be able to look after the entire needs of your property, from housekeeping and maintenance, taking payments and dealing with potential disputes, to marketing your holiday home and generating bookings.

Their ability to generate bookings for your property can be particularly vital if the property has not previously been let as a holiday home. You’ll be able to benefit from their database of customers and gain a quicker return on your investment. A quality holiday letting agent will also give you guidance on the legislation that you’ll need to abide by when holiday letting your second home. For more information on how a holiday letting agent can help you please have a read of our blog post here:

Ten benefits of using a Holiday Home Letting Agent

What about home insurance for holiday letting?

Owning a holiday home comes with its own unique set of insurance requirements, which will be different to your own home.  At Boshers we specialise in offering insurance to holiday homeowners and have been doing so for 25 years.

We speak to holiday homeowners every day; we get the industry and we know how best to support them. How do we do that? By identifying the things that you may not have thought of and understanding the insurance you need.

If you have any questions about insuring your property please speak to a member of our team – they each have an average of more than 20 years experience in dealing with holiday homes!

As holiday home insurance specialists we understand the needs of holiday letting owners and our policy includes valuable property owners liability cover for letting your second home to paying guests. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.