Posts

washing machine recall

washing machine recallWhilst many of us spent mid-December enjoying and revelling in the run up to Christmas, for Whirlpool and their customers, things were seemingly going from bad to worse.

Having already been heavily criticised for their response to a fire risk in their tumble dryers (of which they sold more than five million over an 11 year period), they announced that they were going to be recalling 500,000 of their washing machines (branded as Hotpoint or Indesit) following the discovery of a fault with the door locking system that can cause overheating and risk of fire.  The announcement left many customers facing a potentially lengthy period without a washing machine in their holiday homes.

What is the fault and is it dangerous?

Whirlpool have explained that “When the heating element in the washing machine is activated, in very rare cases a component in the door lock system can overheat, which, depending on product features, can pose a risk of fire.”

The issue is said to be found in 20% of Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines sold since 2014, which in the UK accounts for approximately 519,000 units.

In terms of danger, this fault has led to seventy-nine fires to date, although none had been significant enough to cause more than minor damage or cause any serious injuries.

What do you do if you’ve got a Hotpoint or Indesit washing machine?

If you own a washing machine that you have purchased from one of the two brands mentioned (Hotpoint and Indesit) since 2014, it’s worth checking online to see if your machine is a part of their product recall.  You can do this on the link below:

You will only need the model and serial number of your appliance – found inside the door or on the back – to see if it is one of those affected. There is also a free helpline, open every day, available on 0800 316 1442

If you find your appliance is affected, to eliminate any risk, it should be unplugged and not used until it is repaired in your home by a trained engineer.

When will you get your machine back?

If your washing machine is being recalled, you will be able to choose between two options:

  • A comparable replacement washing machine provided free-of-charge
  • A free-of-charge in-home repair of your appliance

The company have yet to be drawn on how quickly washing machines will be repaired or replaced if found to have a fault, meaning that customers could be potentially waiting for months.  They have suggested in the interim period that the machine could be continued to be used at far less risk if only used at a cold temperature of a 20c cycle, which means that the heating element wouldn’t be activated.

If the washing machine in your holiday home is affected by the recall note this in your fire risk assessment and record what action you are taking to rectify the problem. By doing so you will be demonstrating good practice and duty of care towards your guests.

For more information on specialist holiday home insurance for your cottage please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429 444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

vaping

vapingOver the past decade the nation’s views toward smoking have changed immeasurably; the introduction of legislation in 2007 prohibiting smoking from enclosed public spaces such as offices, pubs, restaurants and transport stations has contributed to a drop of 1.9 million smokers in the UK and smoking rates being at their lowest since records began.

However, not all of these smokers will have kicked the habit completely with many instead turning toward e-cigarettes and ‘vaping’.  A recent national survey found that there are now 2.9 million vapers in England. So what is vaping and are there any risks for your holiday home?

How does vaping work?

The average e-cigarette is made up of a mouthpiece, a cartridge or tank to hold the liquid (often known as ‘e-juice’), a heating element or atomizer to heat the liquid and a battery to power it. The concept is that flavoured liquid within the cartridge is heated to a temperature at which vapour is produced. This is usually between 100 – 250c. It is this vapour that the user inhales.

Are there fire risks for your holiday home?

Traditional smoking is also one of the main causes of accidental fires around the home. Figures produced by Fire Protection Online show that in 2008 there were around 2,800 fires in the UK caused by smokers’ materials and they accounted for more than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings in 2013–14, making it the most common cause.

So where do e-cigarettes stand in comparison? Fires related to vaping have increased significantly over recent years, rising from only eight in 2012 to 62 during 2014 and accounting for two fatalities.

Experts are mainly concerned about the chargers used to power the devices, which have been shown to heat up to dangerous temperatures if used with the wrong ‘vaping’ kit. In response the fire services have created a number of safety tips for users:

  1. Only use the charger supplied with your e-cigarette kit – other chargers may cause problems with incompatible battery types.
  2. Do not ‘mix and match’ components between kits.
  3. Do not over tighten the battery on to the charger – screw the battery in gently after plugging in the charger first.
  4. Never leave the kit unattended while charging.
  5. Clean the battery’s ‘centre pin’ and charger contact at least once a week.
  6. Once fully charged, removed the battery from the charger.

Communicating your vaping policy to guests

If you don’t allow vaping in your holiday home, it’s important you communicate this to your guests. Whilst people will often be used to seeing no-smoking signs or this being listed on promotional literature, people can often think that vaping falls outside of these parameters as there isn’t actually any ‘smoke’.

Make sure that it’s clear whether or not vaping is allowed within your holiday home, for example:

  • on your website
  • in your booking information
  • in your welcome pack

This will ensure that there’s no confusion over your policy and help prevent negative feedback and guest complaints.

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.

Thumbturn Lock

Thumbturn Lock Why consider thumbturn locks for your holiday home exit doors? Have you had that frustrating moment when you get to the door and can’t find your keys to get out? It can be annoying for a few minutes whilst you locate them. However imagine if this were to happen in the case of an emergency such as a fire. The consequences could be serious and even potentially fatal.

Now consider you’re on holiday, you don’t know the layout of the property as well as your own home. Chances are you and your belongings are all in a state of flux as you relax and unwind. Afterall you are on a well earned holiday. The chances of you knowing where your keys are or even where to look for them are diminished. The consequences of not finding your keys can be very significant. Especially so should you need to leave your holiday home in an emergency. This is where thumbturn locks come into their own!

Keeping your guests safe should an emergency happen

As a holiday homeowner the safety of your guests will be paramount to the service you offer them; you want them to have a great time and you want them to have a safe time.

The scenario we’ve painted may be one you think will never happen to your own guests and it’s certainly one we hope will never happen, but statistics show that fires or other emergencies can; in the past year there’s been nearly 700,000 call outs of fire brigades across the country, which is a staggering 1,900 every day.  261 people died over that period from fire related incidents.

Making it easier for your guests to escape with thumbturn locks

When escaping an emergency such as a fire in your holiday home speed is key. One way you can enable this is by fitting thumbturn locks on final exit doors. On the exterior of the door entry is still gained via a key, but on the inside the door can be quickly and easily unlocked with the turn of a knob.

This ultimately means you only need to use the key when leaving (to lock it) and entering (to unlock it) your property and is a key reason the device is supported and recommended by the emergency services. Considering appropriate means of easy escape, together with raising the alarm is a fundamental part of of any holiday home fire risk assessment.

Can thumbturn locks be fitted retrospectively?

The good news with these locks is that they can be easily be retro-fitted to your existing UPVC or composite doors in a matter of minutes. Speak to a locksmith for guidance on solutions for other types of doors. Remember that these locks are still going to secure your holiday home so we always recommend you use professional tradespeople to ensure that an appropriate solution is implemented.

If you would like to find a qualified locksmith in your area then please click on this link:

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.

 

Tips for preparing your holiday home for the peak letting season

Tips for preparing your holiday home for the peak letting seasonThe peak letting season is almost upon us. It’s time to get organised and start preparing for an influx of guests (and sunshine!). It’s vital that your holiday home is ready for everything the peak period has to throw at it. And that you’ve also taken every precaution to ensure that guests have a happy and safe stay in your property.

In order to do that there are a few checks that you’ll need be making. Here’s an overview of our tips for preparing your holiday home for the peak letting season.

Electrical items, boilers and alarms

When it comes to the safety of your guests, ensuring that electrical items, boilers, fire and carbon monoxide alarms have been recently serviced and are in full working order should come at the top of your priority list.

Keep a record of when these items were last checked and inspected. Make a diary note of when they’ll next need attention.

There’s further information on the specific checks you’ll need to carry out and how often here:

The garden and grounds

The winter can often take its toll on our gardens, so before guests begin to return to your cottage ensure that you’ve had a thorough check of any external areas; this should include elements such as making sure that winter weather hasn’t damaged nearby trees, that your pathways are cleared of algae or leaves that could cause visitors to slip, and that any decking is in fine fettle.

Whilst a risk assessment can sound like an arduous and technical task, having a detailed list of items to check in the garden (and other areas of your holiday home) will ensure that nothing is missed by you or the person responsible for inspection if you live a good distance from the property.

You can find more information on maintaining your holiday home garden in our blogs here:

The interior

Holiday homes come under more stress than the average home, therefore furniture will sometimes need a little TLC or replacement. Wobbly chairs should be fixed, and that dodgy door knob should be repaired. Even the smallest details, such as a loose floorboard or kink in the carpet, could present a trip hazard for all of the guests that you will be welcoming.

The lead up to the peak letting season is also the perfect time for a thorough spring clean, so pop your marigolds on and give your holiday cottage a deep clean. Replace any tired looking towels, plump up the cushions, and make sure that everything a guest may need is in there.

If you have a housekeeper responsible for changeovers then now is a great time of the year to go through their checks, and ask them what could be altered to reach an even higher level of visitor service in the coming period.

You can find more information on maintaining the interior of your holiday home and housekeeping in our blogs here:

Is your welcome pack up to date?

Your welcome pack should be seen as a key part of your communication with guests, so you should be taking the time to review it on a regular basis and ensure that it’s completely up to date.

Correct emergency information, local restaurant recommendations, and any other information that isn’t right. Also ensure that instructions to electrical items and anything else they may need within your cottage during their stay are readily available.

For more information on using your welcome pack as a marketing tool please take a look at our blog here:

The paperwork

Your welcome pack isn’t the only paper work you should check in the lead up to the peak letting season. Both general and fire risk assessments should be reviewed annually. Ensure that you’ve got all the appropriate certificates covering areas such as gas safety, PAT testing and Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Property maintenance is an essential aspect for holiday homeowners fulfilling their duty of care. Keeping on top of it will ensure you achieve the best returns on your holiday home. A well maintained property will also reduce the risks of holiday home insurance claims.

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.

 

fire alarm

fire alarm40,000 homes across the UK (more than 100 per day) fall victim to fire. The consequences of a fire can be severe or even fatal. This is especially true if a fire alarm system is not installed.

When it comes to our own homes we’ll often be familiar with the quickest or most appropriate exit; we’ll know where the nearest fire extinguisher is or the safest way to deal with emergencies.

Now imagine if you were in a property you’re unfamiliar with. Perhaps the fire is at night and smoke has filled the halls. You’re not sure of the way out, or you’re unable to find the landing light switch.

A frightening prospect to say the least, but one that any guest could be presented with should a fire occur. As a holiday cottage owner it’s your responsibility to make sure that guests are kept safe. Whilst you’ll not be able to lead them from a burning building, you can take steps to reduce the risk. Such as that of a fire occurring and increase the chances of everyone exiting the property safely by early detection.

What are your fire safety legal obligations 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 guests from the risks of fire and applies to all tourism businesses that accept payment for guests to stay in their property.

Under this legal obligation, if you haven’t already you will need to:

  1. Conduct a fire risk assessment
  2. Improve your fire safety measures in accordance with any issues highlighted in your assessment.
  3. Keep the risks and measures under review

Do you need a fire alarm system in your holiday home?

The simple answer is yes, as early detection provided by a fire alarm system is the most effective way to maximising the chances of guests being kept safe, and minimising any potential damage to your holiday home.

The exact number and location of the detectors will depend largely on the layout of your property, but they should always include staircases, corridors and bedrooms as an absolute minimum.

Smaller holiday letting properties and fire safety

If your property is small, which in these terms generally refers to a cottage that has no more than two storeys, a couple of guest bedrooms and a short travel distance to a safe place outside, having a system of connected detectors with a 10-year battery life should suffice. This is known as a Grade F LD2
system.

Most detectors will make some sort of bleeping sound when batteries are running low, however in addition be sure to check them on a regular basis and perhaps consider making this part of your change over checklist.

Larger holiday letting properties and fire safety

If your property is larger, perhaps similar to the size of a standard family home, you should be looking at an automatic fire detection system consisting of interconnected detectors that will run off of the mains electricity, with a battery back-up should that fail. This is known as a Grade D LD2 system designed for domestic premises.

With both of these systems it is important to emphasise the interconnectivity of the detectors. This is especially relevant to ensure that the alarm is sounded and heard in all areas of your cottage, not just the one closest to the smoke.

A heat detector in the kitchen should be linked to the rest of the Grade D or Grade F system.

More detailed information on complying with the fire safety law and the installation of fire alarms in holiday letting properties can be found here:

Remain vigilant

No matter the size your property, however small maintain and test your fire alarm system. Keep a record of the last time your fire alarm was tested. Smoke detectors are reported to cut the risk of death in half should a severe fire break out – your vigilance can make a real difference.

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

Please note this article only gives an overview of fire alarm systems for holiday homeowners hence we suggest you take advice from a qualified fire safety professional before making any decisions in this area.  

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. (That’s in excess of 100 a day). Therefore it’s vital that cottage owners are aware of the consequences a fire could have on their holiday home. Above all owners should take preventative measures. These should be outlined in your fire risk assessment. This will help ensue that the risks of one occurring are effectively minimised.

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 tool for you to create your own through their website.

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

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 cottage 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 insurance

We know that fire can have a devastating impact on any holiday home business. This is especially so if your holiday cottage 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 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 can provide additional cover on request.

Further information inluding 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.

hotpoint fridge Holiday Home

hotpoint fridge Holiday HomeInvestigations into the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower have pointed towards a faulty Hotpoint fridge freezer being the cause. The government said that further tests are being carried out by the manufacturer. However it has already been confirmed that model was not subject to any product recall.

Whirlpool, who owns Hotpoint, said: “We offer our most profound condolences to the victims, those who have lost loved ones, homes, and possessions, and to their friends and families.”

As holiday home insurance specialists we feel a duty to help you as a holiday homeowner to keep informed in order to help you protect your family, friends and paying guests and keep them safe.

What should you do if you have a Hotpoint Fridge Freezer in your home or holiday home?

Anyone who has a white Hotpoint fridge freezer model number FF175BP or graphite fridge freezer model number FF175BG should register their appliance with the manufacturer to receive any updates. Generally, the model number is found on a bar code on a sticker behind the salad container in the fridge.

These models were discontinued in 2009, however 64,000 were sold between March 2006 and July 2009. It is not known how many are still in use. Owners should ring 0800 316 3826 or visit the Hotpoint website.

House fires connected to fridge freezers and other electrical appliances are all too common, thus empahising the importance of regular inspections and PAT Testing of the appliances in your holiday home. Further guidance for holiday homeowners on electrical and fire sfety can be found by following the links below:

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.

Tumble dryer safety

Tumble dryer safetyThe devastating affect of poorly maintained tumble dryers has been making headlines across the UK recently, with figures showing they are now one of the largest causes of fires in the home.

To ensure tumble dryer safety, maintenance is essential and as a holiday homeowner you’ll need to ensure that yours is regularly checked and maintained if you provide one within your holiday cottage.

Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your tumble dryer in tiptop condition and safe for you and your guests.

Type of dryer

There are two main types of tumble dryer, vented and condenser. Vented tumble dryers need to be fitted near an external wall so damp air can be removed via a hose, while condenser dryers collect moisture in a water reservoir.

If you’re considering adding a tumble drier to your holiday home, consult with an expert as to which type would be most suited before being tempted by the best deal.

The considerations you may need to make are;

  • Vented dryers: Do you have a suitable location within your holiday home? (remember they need to be fitted near an external wall)
  • Condenser dryers: Who will be able to, and responsible for, emptying the water container on a regular basis?

Maintenance

Although the dryers operate differently, maintenance of the two systems will invariably be the same.

Failure to regularly maintain your drier will affect its performance and the last thing you want are guests complaining because their clothes haven’t dried!

If clothes aren’t drying properly, it is usually a good indicator there is an issue with the machine and these can often be solved relatively easily.

Below are some basic checks that should be made….

Clean the filters

Tumble dryer blockages are often the chief culprit when it comes to the machines overheating, which in the worse case scenario can trigger fires and significant damage.

No matter how busy your holiday home is, the lint filters should actually be emptied after every use to ensure your machine runs at maximum efficiency. Of course, visiting the holiday home this often will be impractical for you or the letting agent, so make a note to empty it during your weekly changeover routine (and build this into your cleaner’s core tasks and checklist).

If guests stay longer, factor it in during a convenient time, for example when changing the bed linen.

For peace of mind, leave a friendly note asking guests to inform you of any problems with the tumble dryer.

Check for snags

Not only do the tumble dryer filters need emptying, they should be checked for any rips or tears and replaced as necessary. Use a brush or vacuum to regularly clean out the filter chute and where applicable the vent hose thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the vent cover on the exterior of your building which can become blocked if not cleaned regularly.

If you’re using a condenser dryer, ensure you empty the water reservoir and clean the condenser regularly. Also check the hose at the back for any excess lint that may have accumulated inside.

NB: The dryer should be cool before removing the filter.

Sensors

Some tumble dryers will have moisture sensors, which control settings such as ‘auto-dry’. In a holiday home this will be particularly useful for guests who want to make the most of their time, rather than waiting for clothes to dry.

It can also reduce your electricity bill!

Experts recommend wiping the drum every few months using stainless steel cleaner or even white vinegar!

NB: Ensure the machine is turned off when carrying out any maintenance!

Talk to an expert!

These are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of problems with tumble dryers in the holiday home. For specialist advice and regular servicing we recommend you talk to an appliance engineer or consult with the manufacturer. We also recommend that you check the manufacturers website periodically for safety notices and details of recalls.

Guidance for guest staying in your holiday lets

As with your other appliances, it’s always good practice to provide a copy of the tumble dryer operating instructions in your Holiday Home Welcome Folder or information pack, together with a polite note of any house rules, such as, not to be left running whilst out and clean the filter between each use.

If you have found this article on tumble dryer safety for holiday lets useful, you may also find the following posts covering maintenance and health safety of interest:

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:

Certification

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. 

Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting

Fire Safety Law for Holiday LettingThere are many different ways in which a fire could start in your holiday home. Having an understanding of the risks that fire poses to your property and your guests is vital to ensuring a safe stay in your cottage and complying with Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting.

Complying with Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting and completing a fire risk assessment

What is Fire Safety Law?

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 guests from the risks of fire.

Does it apply to you?

Fire Safety Law will apply to all tourism accommodation providers including holiday homeowners; if anyone pays to stay in your property, other than to live as a permanent home, you will need to comply.

What do you need to do?

There are three core areas to Fire Safety Law compliance:

  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

How do you conduct a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a thorough review of the risks of fire within your holiday home, the people that will be visiting your property and the measures you need to put in place to keep them as safe as possible.

It should broadly incorporate five parts:

  1. What are the fire hazards in your holiday home?

This should highlight any area of your holiday home in which a fire could begin. The most common causes of fire in holiday homes include kitchens and cooking, electrical appliances, candles, smoking and chimneys.

Our example:

If you have candles in your holiday home the naked flame from these could be a potential fire risk.

  1. Who is at risk?

Consider who is at risk as a result of each potential hazard; do you have young families staying in your holiday home? Older guests? Disabled guests?

Think carefully about the specific risks they may face.

Our example:

Candles are of particular risk to young children who could knock them over or be tempted to play with the flame.

  1. What is your plan to keep people safe?

Having considered the potential hazard and which of your visitors is at risk, how are you going to make sure they stay safe? What can you put in place to either mitigate or minimise the risk to your guest?

Our example:

Candles will be kept out of the reach of children and placed in holders that shield the naked flame.

  1. Record, train and plan

Make a note of the hazard and any measures you have put in place to minimise the risk. These measures should be communicated to anyone that will be involved in implementing or maintaining your fire safety plan.

Our example:

It was decided that candles would now only be positioned in areas of the holiday home that children couldn’t reach and be placed inside holders.

The holiday home cleaners were instructed of the changes and asked to ensure candles were only placed in those areas and that any broken holders were replaced within 2 days.  The candle would be removed until a replacement holder was available.

  1. Maintaining your fire risk assessment

Your assessment should include regular reviews of its effectiveness. This will also allow you to identify and highlight any potential issues that have arisen since you last put your plan in place.

Our example:

When initially conducting the assessment it was decided another full review would be conducted in two months time.

The review indicated that the steps to minimise the risk of candle fire and accident had been successful, but also highlighted a new barbeque had been added for the beginning of summer; steps would be put in place to address this new potential hazard.

With many guests booked in over the coming month a review would be completed in one month rather than two.

These documents will assist you with the Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting as a holiday home owner to comply with your obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Click the links below to find out more:

Holiday Home Fire Safety in England and Wales:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Scotland, the Scottish Government has produced the following:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has produced the following PDF guide:

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

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 Law for Holiday Letting 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.