Some may argue that finding and buying your holiday home is the easy part. To a certain degree it is, providing of course you have worked out all of your figures, bought a property in an area that has a good track record for letting and have managed to present it in a condition that will be appealing to prospective renters. The process of renting the property can be a little more tricky, you can of course employ the services of a professional letting company but these will charge you fees for their services. Usually there are two types of agent available. The professional holiday letting company, these will have a large number of properties on their books. A local letting/ estate agent.
In the long run, the professional holiday letting company will probably be your best bet, they will have a large number of other properties on their books and you can guarantee that they will receive plenty of enquires, after all, holiday letting is their business. A local estate agent may be a good choice but if holiday letting is ancillary to their normal line of business, you mat find that your holiday cottage does not receive the attention that you require. Many people choose to handle all of the letting work themselves, of course this will save on money but it will take up a fair amount of your time if you are going to do it properly. Although you will find the vast majority of people to be perfectly trustworthy, there are a few simple security rules when dealing with initial enquiries. In the early stages it is best to avoid giving the full location of the property and never give out the house number or the location of the keys.
Taking and handling bookings is the most important part of your business and course you will have to decide of your own plan but generally speaking bookings start with a deposit being taken, this can be for a few pounds up to a percentage of the total rental charge dependent on the time of the booking and how many weeks the actual rental period is away. If you use a professional letting company, they will usually want all of the money to be paid 8-10 weeks before the holiday rental period commences. You will need to run good diary system and do not reply on your renters simply sending you the money, you may have to chase them and what ever you do, set your rules and stick to them, remember, this is your business and having the property empty does not pay the bills. When running your booking diary system, remember:-
- Always chase up balances on time, if you let it go, remembers, the clock is ticking
- Allow time for payment to reach you
- Make sure you give yourself enough time to re advertise the property in the event that the booking is cancelled.
It may be an idea to find out how much a letting agent will charge you to let and manage your property, you may find it’s worth it especially if you live a long way from the property and your time is at a premium.
The golden rule of holiday renting is always to take full payment before the holiday commences, the country is littered with landlords who decided to take half the money and half at the end of the period only to find that they were unable to collect the money. If you are going to hand over your keys to the property, make sure you have goy payment in full- be warned.
In choosing your deposit amount please bear in mind the following:-
- If you set your initial deposit too high, you will put off many renters, remember, most people need time to save up for a holiday and many people will be very wary of simply handed over an often substantial amount of cash to a relative stranger.
- Too low a deposit may have the reverse effect and you could end up with a cancellation at the last minute, if the deposit is low, then the prospective renter does not have too much to loose. You on the other hand do, taking a £50.00 deposit against a cottage that would rent for £750.00 in the height of the holiday season could end up leaving you out of pocket. Could you imagine loosing £750.00, you may be able to rebook the cottage, then again, is it a chance you can afford to take.
Dealing with cancellations is perhaps the trickiest part of the holiday home rental procedure, you may find that the renter has lost his or her job and simply cannot afford the holiday or perhaps there has been a serious illness in the family Although it is fair to say that you will receive your fair share of ‘hard luck” stories, this is a time to be diplomatic & firm. In our experience, providing of course you point out your cancellation terms at the out set, you should not run in to too many problems. You may also find that the renter has effected Holiday or Travel Insurance & cancellation insurance is a section covered by almost every policy. (remember that not all eventualities are covered)
An idea to deal with cancellations is as follows. Set out your cancellation charges clearly from the beginning, perhaps as follows:-
Days to Arrival
56 or more Full Deposit
29- 56 days 50 % of total holiday cost
15-28 days 75% of total holiday cost
1-14 days full holiday costs.
A fair and equitable way of dealing with loss of deposits is to say that you will endeavour to return the deposit if you are able to re let the property at the normal rate less expenses for administration and re advertising.
Sometimes you may have to cancel the holiday yourself perhaps because there has been an incident at the property such as a fire or a flood. If you have a buildings insurance policy on your holiday home, your policy should cover the loss of your rental income, However, the loss of rent section often will cover alternative accommodation cover and you could have a word with your insurers to see if they will cover your rental of another property on a temporary basis. This is a good idea, if you have a string of bookings coming up but you may find that the insurer will simply pay your loss of rent and only then after the company loss adjuster has verified the amount of rental income you actually stand to loose.
Rental Bookings for your UK Holiday Home Cottage- Help and Advice from Assetsure
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