Letting out your property isn’t just a case of declaring it open for business and watching the bookings roll in. Before you can offer your holiday home to the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our site each year there are several legal requirements that you need to consider and comply with.
All owners who let their properties are responsible for the physical safety of those who visit under the Occupiers Liability Act(s), and must therefore ensure that comprehensive insurance is effected which specifically covers holiday letting and includes appropriate Public Liability Insurance. We recommend a minimum cover of £5,000,000.
There are tax implications for revenues earned through holiday letting. We advise you to seek professional advice in this area. These are the two main points
Owners should be aware that there are tax implications for revenues accrued from holiday letting. We strongly advise that prospective owners seek professional advice with regard to this position. There is an Inland Revenue booklet Taxation of Rents; A guide to property income (Practitioners Series, IR150) which gives more details. Your local tax office will normally supply this booklet on request.
Non-Resident Landlords Scheme (NRLS)
The NRLS is a scheme for taxing the UK rental of non-resident landlords. It applies if any owner or landlord has a “usual place of abode” which is outside the UK. If you are either live overseas, or are moving overseas, or spend more than six months a year away, then you will be affected by the NRLS. With partnerships and jointly owned property, the “usual place of abode” must be established for each partner.As a UK letting agent we are required to deduct basic rate tax from any rent collected for non-resident landlords, unless HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tells us not to deduct tax.
Along with these issues, you must also comply with health and safety regulations surrounding the following aspects of your property:
The Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations came into force in 1994 and state that an annual safety check must be carried out by a suitably registered engineer. All appliances must confirm to the current legislation and be maintained safely. For further details please contact your local Health & Safety Executive.
All owners have a duty of care to ensure electrical systems and appliances are well maintained at all times and must (at least) carry out a visual inspection each year to check for general ‘wear and tear’ and other potential defects. It is recommended that a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) be undertaken by a suitably qualified engineer on a regular basis. Any new installations or alterations must be undertaken by a qualified electrician and formally approved by a member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation.
Fire Safety And Risk Assessment
You must ensure that your property has a clear means of escape, warning systems installed and appropriate firefighting equipment available at all times. Statutory records must be kept to verify annual equipment tests and ensure fire certifications are always up to date. To enable this process to be completed effectively we recommend an independent contractor undertake a risk assessment at your property, supply and install any required firefighting equipment, maintain a log book, issue a fire safety certificate and provide a leaflet of instructions for your tenants on what to do in the event of a fire. The contractor will also carry out an annual inspection of your property to ensure that you remain compliant and will implement any changes should the laws governing fire regulations alter.
Your property will require the following equipment:
■ A smoke detection system – a minimum of two smoke detectors will be required
■ Carbon Monoxide Detector (Properties with gas or oil supply only)
■ Fire blanket
■ 2kg Dry Powder Extinguisher for small kitchen fires
■ 9 ltr Water Fire Extinguisher – will only be required for properties with an open fire or properties that have a thatched roof.
All beds and upholstery must comply with the Furniture (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (all upholstered furniture purchased after 1st March 1990 should meet these requirements). The only exception to this regulation is furniture made and/or re-upholstered before 1950.
It is a requirement under the Equality Act (2011) that each property is assessed for accessibility to disabled visitors. An example of an Access Statement is available on request.
General Safety Advice
Here is some general advice that may apply to specific aspects of your holiday home.
Where supplied all cots, high chairs, bunk beds and other items for use by children must conform to current British Safety Standards. Please check with the manufacturer if you have any queries in this respect.
An appropriate fire guard should be provided for all open fires and/or wood-burning stoves as well as a metal bucket for the collection of hot ash etc.
Suitable and prominently displayed signage as well as the appropriate rescue equipment must in place to ensure safe enjoyment of swimming pools by holiday guests. All pool equipment, including chemicals and other items required for water treatment must be kept locked safe and away from all guests. Water should be tested regularly and appropriate action taken to maintain high standards.
You can find out more information call us today on 01548 843 773 and one of the team will be glad to talk things through with you.