Renting Out a Second Home
For hundreds of thousands of UK residents second home ownership has become an extremely popular investment choice and means to change their lifestyle. Many people choose to rent out their second home on a part-time basis as a holiday home in order to pay for the ongoing mortgage and running costs. Owning a second home is a great way to get way to keep visiting a favourite destination and be confident you’ll receive quality and homely accommodation. However for many would-be landlords who have had no experience in dealing with tenants, renting out their second home can be a bit of a daunting challenge at first. Unfortunately as the levels of unemployment rise in harsh economic conditions, many homeowners are choosing to rent out the properties because they have to. For other second homeowners they are lucky enough to see huge gains in the values of their properties, providing a nice nest egg for retirement to supplement their dwindling pension pots.
The second homeowners where the property is not located in a holiday hotspot, many are choosing to accept longer term tenants based on a short hold tenancy agreement. Always seek legal advice on the preparation of this document as it dictates the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant, and would form the benchmark in case of any dispute. Most people choosing to rent these days expect modern, clean and neutral decor. So try not to inflict on personal taste on other people by remaining objective in your choice of colours and furnishings. Letting agents will find it considerably easier to market your second home if it has been modernised tastefully according to the typical expectations of a typical tenant.
Short-term holiday lets will take considerably more of your time than six-month tenancy agreements. Firstly there will be much more contact over the phone with your current tenants and future tenants. Think about the practical considerations of taking bookings, confirming reservations and taking holding deposits from prospective tenants. You will need to have a calendar and booking system to keep track of deposits and contact details. Before you can even start to take bookings you need to prepare your holiday property to meet the expectations of your guests. Your advertising literature should make it clear whether not tenants can smoke, whether they need to bring their own towels and bed linen, whether they are responsible for paying utility bills during their stay and the practical collection process for keys and taking out dustbins. Nobody wants hassle, confusion and not to receive what they thought they were paying for during their holiday visit.
To take away the hassle of dealing with tenants you may opt to pay a letting agent to do everything for you. Their normal services will include advertising and marketing your rental property, showing people around, taking holding deposits, arranging credit checks and references, administrating the check-in and doing an inventory check-in to document all your possessions. Their service charge is normally deducted up front from the rental income before it is passed over to you. Try weighing up the benefit of avoiding day-to-day hassle of dealing with holidaymakers against the costs of a letting agent. Beware that most letting agents do not have to be regulated and membership of associations and other respected bodies is usually voluntary. For this reason be very careful who you use to look after your second home.
Before you accept a single booking you must check with your home insurance company whether or not they will provide a second home insurance policy which will protect your investment. You need to make it clear the types of let you will be undertaking. The type of second home is also important to insurance companies because certain building materials have a higher probability of catching fire or degrading overtime leading to an increased chance of an insurance claim in the future. For instance if your second home is quite old, or has a thatched roof or is listed or is very close to a river or in a postcode unpopular with insurance companies, you may find it more difficult to obtain a competitive insurance quote.
Your current home insurance provider may not allow you to rent out your property if it is going to be left empty on a long-term basis. Check the policy wording carefully to see what is excluded. Insurance companies are concerned about the risk of frozen and burst pipes during winter months (due to property is being left empty, and not heated, with pipes not lagged or checked on a regular basis). Burst pipes lead to high numbers of insurance claims and an unwillingness insurers to provide cover. You may also need to consider adding additional insurance options such as rent guarantee insurance or legal expenses cover, to protect your financial interests in the event of a void period or tenant dispute. Often minor disputes revolve around breakages or damages to the contents of the second home. It should be quite clearly stated in your tenancy agreement that the cost of such damage would be deducted from the rental deposit.
Contact Assetsure for a Second Home Insurance quote.