Hints & Tips

Things to Consider When Starting a Holiday Let

Bedroom | Cathedral Chalet | Chichester Holiday Home | Simple Getaway

How Do You Manage a Holiday Let?

There are a few reasons why you may decide to purchase and start a holiday let. Perhaps it is a second home for you to enjoy with your friends and family, perhaps it was purchased as an investment project, or maybe you want to shift gears and transfer your long term rental into a holiday let. Whatever your reason for having a holiday let, there are some things you should consider before buying and renting it out.

Picking a Location for Your Holiday Let

If you are unfamiliar with the area when choosing a holiday let property, it is best to get some advice. Your local estate agent should be able to give you some valuable insights into the area, and what areas are more appropriate for holiday guests. Usually, an estate agent will have some links with a local property management company who has valuable insight into the potential return on your investment, and occupancy rates in the locality. At Simple Getaway, we are able to provide some key data regarding what areas are more profitable, and highlight your competition so you know ahead of time, what you are up against.

Picking a House Format

You want to pick a property that is right for you, but if you are looking for your property to be top of the list for holiday guests to choose, you should consider the house format. Think of the search criteria that guests may use to choose an appropriate rental. They could filter by detached, terrace, apartment, they will search by number of guests, and also by bedroom/bathroom ratio. If you can, we would recommend choosing a good bedroom to bathroom ratio. Guests groups vary, but more often than not, guests are not from the same family and like to have their separate space. Choosing a holiday let with an equal or close to equal bedroom to bathroom ratio would be preferable.

Focus on the Important Things

When you are searching for your own home, you may be looking for things like storage, large bedroom spaces or walk in wardrobes. However, when searching for a holiday let, these things aren’t as important. Guests will want to make sure the bedrooms are clean, comfy and functional, but will usually be looking to make sure the communal areas would work for the group. Particularly with larger groups, you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of space available in the living, dining and kitchen areas so that guests can enjoy the space with their group.

Furnishing Your Holiday Let

Once you have decided on the right property, it’s time to work on the interior furnishings. At Simple Getaway, we are qualified in interior design and can be available to give our homeowners tips on what works best for a holiday let. What is most important is to make sure things will photograph well. Looking for clean, sharp lines and texture will be important to consider. We suggest white linens and towels, giving the sense of a clean space for guests, and adding colour by using artwork, cushions or decorative items.

All too often, holiday let homes can be quite sparse, with lots of plain white furniture. You want your guests to feel comfortable in your space and enable them to imagine themselves staying there. Add some greenery to give some life into the space, artwork on the walls for colour, and lamps for some interest and variation in lighting.

Holiday Let Gas Safety

Much like long term rentals, there are safety requirements to renting a holiday let. As a holiday let owner, you are legally required to obtain a gas safety certificate by a gas safe registered engineer. They will assess any gas appliances in your property and make sure they are safe. Usually these cost between £75 – £150 depending upon the amount of gas appliances in your home. At Simple Getaway, we are able to give you the contact details of our gas safety experts. This has to be done on an annual basis so make sure you keep that in your diary!

Electrical Safety

Whilst you are not required legally to obtain an electrical safety certificate, as the holiday let owner, you are required to make sure your electrical items are safe and not hazardous to guests. We recommend that you have an electrical safety certificate completed for peace of mind that all items in your property are safe for guests and make sure checks are undertaken every couple of years.

Fire Safety

Fire safety checks should be performed on your holiday let prior to renting to guests. You can complete this yourself, though we do recommend that you hire a professional the first time to make sure everything is addressed. Legally, you are required to have a smoke alarm on each floor of the property and make sure these are maintained. We highly recommend installing a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in case of emergencies. A fire exit plan is also a good idea.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors are required in each room that has a fossil fuel burning device. We recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in each room (living room, kitchen, bedroom, dining room) to make sure no issues arise. They cost around £10 each so are well worth the precaution.

Do You Need a License for a Holiday Let?

We are often asked, ‘do you need a license for a holiday let?’. Whilst there is no particular license required of a holiday let owner, it is important to take into consideration the legal requirements for safety laid out above. As regulations change, there may be a requirement in the future to have a license, however, at this time, there is no specific requirement for a holiday let landlord.

When it comes to TV licenses, you do have to apply. When guests travel to your property, they are not covered by their home TV license. Therefore, if you are supplying a TV in your property with live TV, you must get a hotel TV license which is around £150. If you only offer a Netflix streaming service on your TV, you do not need a TV license.

Furnished Holiday Let and Business Rates

If you set up a holiday let, there can be tax advantages. We outlined some of these in our previous blog:

Long Term Vs Short Term Rentals

Essentially, if you set up your property as a furnished holiday let, you can offset some of your initial furnishing expenses and ongoing maintenance and utility bills. However, there are some requirements to be met in order to be considered a furnished holiday let such as making your holiday let available for 210 days of the year, and renting it out for a minimum of 105 days in the year.

Picking a Property Manager

If you want to use a management service to rent your holiday let then you will try to find the best holiday letting company in your area. There are things to consider when choosing the best holiday letting company for your specific needs. To understand some of the benefits of using a holiday letting company, have a look at our last blog:

Benefits of Using a Holiday Home Management Company

There are a lot of holiday letting companies to choose from, so it is important to do your research and ask the right questions. For some guidance questions, have a look at the following blog:

What to ask when considering a holiday letting company

Insurance for Holiday Lets

Indoor Pool | Beachside Way | East Preston Holiday Home | Simple Getaway

The holiday let industry is a newer phenomenon in the UK. It has gained momentum over recent years due to the ease of renting your home through outlets such as Airbnb, Homeaway, Booking.com and many more.

As a property manager of holiday lets, we are often asked what is required before renting out a home. At Simple Getaway, we can take over the vast majority of requirements, however, there are some things we are unable to do without being the property owner. One of those trickier items is insurance.

Home insurance for holiday lets is different from the insurance you have for your full-time home. Insurers state that your holiday let can be unoccupied for a long time, resulting in a greater risk of theft or damage. In addition, if you let your property out for financial gain, whether by yourself or through a property manager like Simple Getaway, your risk increases further. There are many options available for holiday let insurance if you want to let your property out, but it is important to understand the requirements and what is essential to limit your exposure.

Standard Property Insurance

There are three main types of insurance, all of which would be required for a holiday let just like they would your own home:

Buildings Insurance

Firstly, buildings insurance. Buildings insurance typically covers your home in case of loss due to fire, floods or other events. It essentially covers the cost to rebuild your home if it is lost due to an incident.

Contents Insurance

Secondly, contents insurance. For holiday lets, this is just as important as your personal home. Though you may not have stocked your holiday home full of antiques and sentimental goods, contents insurance is crucial to cover the loss of any furnishings, in addition to, carpets, curtains and white goods. If you are setting up your first holiday let, keep track of all of the costs so you can get an accurate quote to your insurance agent.

Accidental Damage

Thirdly, accidental damage. Most policies will cover theft and break-ins, but given the nature of holiday lets being unoccupied more than your personal home, it is wise to add accidental insurance. Moreover, it may be a good idea to have some security measures in place to protect your holiday let.

Specific Holiday Let Insurance

There are three additional insurances that are not covered by your standard home insurance policy which are crucial to have before renting out your holiday let.

Loss of Rent Insurance

Loss of Rent insurance is extremely important. Should your home be damaged and you have to rebuild part or all of the structure then you will be missing out on a significant amount of rent whilst your property is being repaired. You will have to estimate the losses based on past or expected data, but with loss of rent, your insurance company will cover the lost revenue until the property is rebuilt or repaired. Usually, this loss of rent is covered for a limited time period and limited payout so you would need to speak with your insurance agent to get the specifics.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is another extremely important insurance to have. Public liability cover for your holiday let will cover any of your guests for bodily injury or damage caused at the property. In addition, employer liability insurance will cover any staff injuries caused at the property, perhaps by members of the property management company, cleaners, maintenance staff, gardeners etc.

Holiday Let Insurance

Lastly, holiday let insurance can provide you with legal expenses cover. This will help to cover any expenses you may incur due to disputes with renters, for example, if there is an accident on the property, or if they refuse to pay for damages. Legal expenses add up very quickly so it’s important to have this cover to limit the exposure to you.

Make sure your insurance agent has specific experience in the holiday let insurance. There are plenty out there to choose from, just confirm the specific coverages with them before signing on the line.

If you need more help from us at Simple Getaway, contact us. Though we cannot claim to be experts in holiday let insurance, we are certainly experts in property management and would love the opportunity to see how we can help you!

What to Provide in Your Holiday Let

Reading Books | Beachside Way | East Preston Holiday Home | Simple Getaway

Setting up your holiday let can be both exciting and stressful. Often people ask what they need to provide in a rental before it is ready to market it. Here we outline those items that are absolute must-haves, along with those that are not essential but certainly good to include too!

Your holiday let acts as a hotel equivalent so thinking about what is provided in a hotel room is a good place to start.

Holiday Let Essential Items

Sheets and Towels

The most crucial supply for any home is their sheets and towels. Guests are spending the night so ensure that your sheets are comfy and your towels are fluffy. We have had many comments on the quality of our sheets and mattresses and having less than satisfactory items can really damage your reviews. We opt for white in our rentals as it gives a crisp clean feel but it is sensible to get some washcloths in a darker colour to keep makeup stains at bay.

Toiletries

It is always important to stock toilet paper and hand soap for your guests. We recommend a couple of rolls per bathroom for a weekend stay and a couple of extra for a week-long stay. Making sure that your soap stays topped up is a must.

Kitchen

Depending on the number of people your property sleeps, you will always want to make sure you have an adequate supply of dinnerware. Make sure you have enough plates, bowls, cutlery, cups, glasses etc to serve the maximum amount of guests your property can hold, plus a few extra for breakages. A full set of pots and pans is a good idea, and most of all, make sure you have a kettle and a coffee maker.

Cleaning Items

Whilst cleaning before and after can take care of most of the cleaning of the property, you should supply some cleaning supplies for your guests. Dish soap, a sponge, bin liners, a broom and a dustpan and brush should all be ready for guests to use.

Bedroom

If you have a place to hang clothes at the property, make sure you supply an adequate amount of hangers. It’s good to have hangers that match but just make sure you have enough.

Safety Supplies

There are regulations in the UK that require you to make regular safety checks on your holiday let. For that, you need working smoke alarms and preferably a fire extinguisher, one on every floor. First aid kits are not required by law, but it’s certainly a good amenity to have if you are renting out your holiday let to guests.

Wifi

Wifi has become essential to holiday lets. Without offering that service, you are unlikely to see a full calendar of bookings. Many people travel for work and need to have access to wifi in their rental property. Make sure you have a good service and connection all over the house by adding some boosters for large or tall properties.

Non-Essential Items for A Holiday Let

There are many items that are not essential in order to list your holiday let but they are certainly nice to have. Below is our list of those:

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Desk space
  • Kitchen roll
  • Dishwasher tablets (if applicable)
  • Body soap/shampoo/conditioner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Iron and board
  • Luggage racks
  • Hairdryer
  • Salt/pepper
  • Cooking oil
  • Beach towels (if applicable)
  • Information book
  • Games/entertainment

Whether you are looking to furnish your property to the highest standard or just to make your guests comfortable, you must ensure to have all of the essentials ready and waiting. If you want the added luxuries then even better!

At Simple Getaway, we are here to help you in setting up your holiday let in addition to managing it. If you want us to take care of all the setup, we can certainly do that too, just contact us and we will work on a plan.

Long Term Vs Short Term Rentals

Hallway | New Park Terrace | Chichester Holiday Home | Simple Getaway

Have you ever asked yourself whether or not to switch your traditional long term rental into a short term rental?

Many of us have, and at Simple Getaway, we have managed both types in the past and have first-hand experience to share.

Long Term Rentals

Long term rentals are the traditional method of renting. Usually, you would rent your home out on a fixed term, fixed fee schedule. Typically rentals last around a year but can be renewed on an annual basis whereby the rent may be raised by 5% per annum or similar. Some landlords may have tenants for 6 months, 2 years or even 20 years depending on their situation. So what are the benefits of this type of model?

Steady Income

Probably the most obvious benefit is the steady income you receive from a long term rental. So long as there are no issues with the tenancy, landlords can rest assured that they will receive the same amount of income on their property on a monthly basis for as long as the tenancy continues. This makes for easier forecasting for the property owner and peace of mind that their income is secured for the foreseeable future.

Minimal Set up Costs

Unlike short term rentals, long term rentals require very minimal costs to set up. As a landlord, you may want to spend some money getting the property updated or cleaned but other than that, the property is usually ready to rent quickly.

No Council Tax

If you are renting out your property on a long term basis, the council tax owed is passed onto the tenant and not the landlord. In some areas, this council tax amount is quite significant and could add up to the equivalent of a month or two in rent.

Minimal Effort

There is usually a lot less effort needed when it comes to renting on a long term basis. There is work required in setting up the property and sourcing good tenants, but once leases and contracts are signed, the only effort needed is to collect rent and make some repairs when necessary. Further still, if you use a property manager to manage your long term rental then you have even less work, just a small fee to pay.

So what about Short Term Lets?

Short term Rentals

The amount of short term rentals in the UK has increased rapidly within recent years. They have become an alternative source to make money on your rental property, and a way to subsidise your income if renting out your personal home.

So what are the benefits to short term rentals over long term rentals?

Potential for Greater Revenues

Short term rentals have the ability to yield far greater returns than long term rentals. Though this does depend on location, quality of rental, and personal revenue goals, there is a high chance that your short term rental will perform better than a long term rental in the same area. In fact, at Simple Getaway, we have seen short term rentals perform over 5 times better than long term rentals in some areas.

Greater Flexibility

Since you are renting out the property on a short term basis, meaning anywhere between one night and a few weeks, you have far greater flexibility on your rental guests. With greater flexibility, you also allow yourself the ability to use the property for yourself or family and friends.

Property Care

Short term rentals are frequently visited by cleaning staff who turn over the property after every rental guest. If you have good staff, they can notify you of any problems they come across so that you are able to fix them promptly. Utilising a maintenance service can also mean that you take preventative measures that will ensure that your deferred maintenance is at a minimum. When you rent your property long term, you have to rely on your tenants to report issues or make regular inspections to see them for yourself.

Tax Benefits of Holiday Lets

There are numerous tax benefits that can be had with your furnished holiday let. One important tax benefit is when setting up your home. With furnished holiday lets, you can claim capital allowances for purchasing furnishings which can later be deducted from your pre-tax profit. In addition, ongoing expenses to maintain your homes such as utility bills, products purchased for the property, maintenance and cleaning costs can all be offset against your taxes.

Furthermore, one of the advantages of a long term let is that you are no longer responsible for paying your council tax. With a furnished holiday let, you are essentially treated as a business and therefore required to pay business rate property tax instead of council tax. However, with a furnished holiday let, it is possible to claim small business rate relief which can reduce the amount of council tax equivalent that you pay on your home, even down to as much as £0!

There are many benefits to renting your property short term as opposed to long term but there is certainly more work involved. If you want to benefit from the advantages of renting your property on a short term basis but don’t want the hassle, give Simple Getaway a call. At Simple Getaway, we manage short term properties throughout East and West Sussex and would be delighted to speak to you about what we offer. Contact us today and find out more!