Choosing your Holiday Home
When choosing where to purchase your holiday home, there are a number of factors to take in to consideration. One of the main, ones is the location of the property. Of course, if you have purchased a holiday or second home, purely for your own use, then the location is academic, it’s purely a matter of choice. However, it should be borne in mind, that if you intend to purchase the property as a weekend retreat, for your own use, it should be within a reasonable distance of your main residence. It’s surprising how that idyllic cottage in the country, doesn’t seem so idyllic after you have been stuck in a massive traffic jam for many hours trying to reach it for the weekend. If you want to purchase a property, to use as a holiday home rental, then it’s probably best to stick to the most popular areas as this makes renting far more easier. With regard to holiday home insurance, there is very little difference between a property that has been purchased solely for your own use and one that is rented to tenants, the premiums tend to be about the same. In calculating a premium for your holiday home insurance, the insurers will take in to consideration the location (almost all holiday homes are in the nations most favourite beauty spots) and of course the sums insured. The following areas have been traditionally good for holiday letting, drawing repeat customers year after year.( Rentals of these property types are not just restricted to residents of the United Kingdom, a stay in the British countryside is popular with visitors from all over Europe.
The most popular area is the Lake District, with it’s simply breath taking scenery, it has long been established as a favourite holiday destination. This is followed by the Cotswolds, then Cornwall and Devon. Also popular are, The Yorkshire Dales, Hampshire and The New Forest and of course Suffolk & Norfolk. Scotland & Wales are also very popular with their dramatic scenery.
When you choose you holiday property, try to imagine the type of people that are likely to be drawn to the area, and think what their demands and needs will be, if you try to match the type of property to your likely renters, you are more likely to receive good bookings. When you do decide on your property, it’s a good idea to obtain some expert help before actually taking the plunge and renting the property, there will be lots of things to attend to and apart from insurance for the building, contents and,liabilities, you will have to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of your guests and that you are complying with all current safety legislation. Some of the more important considerations are as follows;
Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1994
These regulations are fairly well known amongst persons renting property and if you use a professional letting agent, they should be up to speed on what is required. Basically, they place a duty of care on all Landlords ( including holiday home owners using the property for rental purposes, to make sure that all gas fittings, appliances and flues etc in the property are maintained in a safe condition. Your insurance company will expect you to be carrying out these checks). A copy of the gas safety certificate should be left in the property, ( in a kitchen drawer is a good place or on display for your renters to see.
Instruction books for all the gas appliances as well as other equipment supplied should be left for the tenant, to be able to read. This helps with compliance and of course, will help ensure your tenant can use all the appliances in the property, quickly and safely. However, many private landlords and even letting agents are unaware that there have been some recent changes in legislation, regarding gas safety in property. From the 1 April 2009, engineers must now be registered with Gas Safe Register, which replaces CORGI as Great Britain’s gas safety body and is now the new standard for gas safety in the UK. As with CORGI, the operation of the Gas Safe Register will be overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (H&SE) as the regulator with responsibility for gas safety in the UK.Under the new rules, all existing gas safety records will be valid until their expiry date (even if that date is later than 1st April 2009), however, any gas safety record provided after that date will only be valid if the engineer is registered with Gas Safe Register. Before your usual engineer calls at your property, check to make sure he is registered under the new scheme.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
This is a very important piece of legislation, designed to help keep tenants safe and help to prevent serious injury in the event of a fire. It states that, any furniture and furnishings provided by you as Landlord for use by the tenant must meet the fire resistance requirements of the above regulations to be legal. It’s surprising ( and slightly worrying ) that many holiday home owners are unaware of this regulation and continue to rent their properties, with incorrect furniture provided for renters usage.
The current regulations cover all upholstery and upholstered furniture property. Typical items that need to comply would include settees, armchairs, and sofa beds. The regulations do not apply to duvets, loose mattress covers and carpets. Please refer to the act for the full list. Any item of furniture sold since 1990 will have regulatory display labels, which should not be removed, leave them on, so as the tenant can see that the item complies with the regulations. It’s a good idea to check all items in your property, particularly if the items are old, there is more chance they do not comply.
The Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994
At the present moment, there is no statutory obligation placed on Landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances at holiday property. However, it should be noted that under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment, at the holiday property is safe for your guests to use.
You should ensure that any electrical equipment supplied as part of a let accommodation does comply with the above regulations and is safe for usage, a local electrician should be able to help you, many offer a service where they will visit the property and test all electrical items.