The holiday lettings niche is one of the UK’s big success stories, thanks to a combination of overseas visitors and healthy demand from UK residents looking for holidays which don’t involve air travel. Now could be a great time to turn a property into a holiday let, if only for part of the year, but there are some points you should know before you make a final decision.
Check all relevant laws, by-laws and administrative practicalities
Laws and by-laws can and do change and they can also vary by area. The onus is on you to keep up to date with them and any changes to them, so make sure that you do. On a similar note, the onus will also be on you to check that any relevant organisations are informed that you intend to let out all or part of your property. Your mortgage lender and your insurer will both want to know. You may also need specialist insurance for short-term lets. You will definitely need to check your tax status with HMRC.
Vet guests carefully
If you are staying in the property with the guests then, vetting guests thoroughly will help to ensure your safety. If you’re not staying in the property with the guests, then vetting guests thoroughly will help to ensure that your property is respected and thus keep both your insurer and your neighbours happy. If you require help with vetting guests then there are specialist holiday letting agents that can take that burden away from you.
Set clear terms and conditions
Never underestimate the importance of keeping your neighbours happy as this can make the difference between being able to continue your business in tranquillity and being stopped from letting out your property (or having your life made so difficult that you end up closing your business).
Think about what needs to happen to ensure that good neighbourhood relations are maintained. This might involve limiting the number of guests, limiting the length of time the property is made available to guests and/or limiting the activities permitted in the property, for example, insisting that music is turned down after a certain time. You’ll also need to take a position on whether or not to allow smoking.
Remember to think about accessibility
If you’re letting out a property, then you’re running a business, which means that you need to avoid even unintentional discrimination on the basis of protected criteria such as disability. That doesn’t mean that you have to go out and spend a lot of money updating your property to make it wheelchair-accessible, it simply means that you have to do whatever you reasonably can to make your property suitable for use by people with disabilities (of all sorts). Being proactive about this can actually be a selling point.
Be prepared to work hard at marketing and sales
Holiday lets require a much higher degree of marketing than residential lets. This can be much easier if you have a specific angle, or selling point, rather than just location. For example, you might want to see if your property has any historical or cultural connections, create a theme or aim for maximum sustainability.