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Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance

Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning GuidanceIn response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitality and tourism industry have pulled together to produce protocols across all sectors, including specific Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance for self-catering properties. The Covid-19 Holiday Let Cleaning Guidance protocols were recently updated (July 2021) and will be kept under review.

Certification and Assessment Schemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Standards in Holiday Letting  

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

Duty of Care towards visitors and guests

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

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

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

This includes guidance on:

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

Who compiled the cleaning guidance?

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

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

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

Where can I download the guidance?

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

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

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

Not a Boshers client yet? We offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444. If we are closed use the quote form and we’ll be in touch during the next business day.

 

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.