H&S tips to help your guests stay safe and want to return
Just as you would as a buy-to-let landlord, as the owner of a holiday let property you must ensure that it provides occupants with a safe and healthy environment in which to live – albeit for just a few days or a week or two. Failing to do this could undo all the work you’ve put into creating strategies to boost year-round income and marketing via online sites that help you let your holiday let.
In truth, there is not much difference between the health and safety obligations of a short-term let investor and a long-term let investor. And as a conscientious landlord, you’ll want to ensure that your tenants enjoy a safe environment and have no cause to post a complaint or negative review.
Here are 10 areas in which you should act to comply with your legal obligation and general duty of care to make sure your holiday let property doesn’t put your guests at risk during their stay.
1. Gas safety
All the property’s gas appliances must be tested at least once per year by a registered Gas Safe engineer. You’ll need to keep a copy of the Gas Safety Certificates supplied and leave a copy in the property for guests (the best place for this is in the property’s welcome folder).
Carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in any room in which there is a gas appliance. You should either check these yourself once each month or have your property manager check them to ensure they are working.
2. Electrical safety
Your holiday let must be electrically safe. To ensure this:
- Have appliances and electrical fixtures and fittings PAT tested each year
- Ensure that you conduct a visual check (wiring/sockets/plugs/etc.) on changeovers
In addition, holiday let properties must have an electrical safety inspection every five years, including an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and PAT check. Keep a copy of all reports and checks made, as with your Gas Safety Certificate.
3. General fire safety
One of the biggest risks in any property is fire. The following rules work in conjunction with other health and safety rules and guidelines:
- Check smoke alarms at each changeover, and record that they are in working order
- Provide a wall-mounted fire blanket in the kitchen, between the cooker and the door
- Provide a fire extinguisher and have it serviced annually
- Doors should open from the inside and be free from obstructions
- Open fires and log burners should have fire guards fitted
You should also carry out a fire risk assessment on your holiday let property – see more details at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-sleeping-accommodation.
4. Furniture fire safety
Any furniture and furnishings in your property must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 and be labelled as compliant with them.
5. Child safety
If you welcome children into your holiday let, then you will probably supply certain equipment for them – such as bunk beds, cots and high chairs. Here are some tips to ensure your property is child safe:
- Ensure all children’s furniture is clean and well maintained
- Check there are no sharp edges
- Bunk beds must have a suitable ladder
- Cots and high chairs with wheels should have working locking devices
- On bunk beds, there must be guardrails or barriers to prevent a child from falling out
- High chairs should be free-standing and include a safety harness and a label stating the harness must be used and that a child must not be left unattended in the high chair
- Remember to fit stair gates if your property has stairs
If your holiday let includes outside space as a play area for children, ensure that all playground equipment you provide is well maintained and that there is a sign stating that children should not be left unattended when using it. If possible, ensure the play area is surrounded by a fence or wall and a lockable gate.
6. Glass doors and partitions
Especially is modern holiday let properties, glass doors and partitions may be a feature. They let the outside in’ and allow rooms to be flooded with natural daylight. Large glass panes should be glazed with safety glass, and glass doors should be marked with safety stickers at eye level (for adults and children). Balcony doors must be fitted with internal and external door handles.
7. Outdoor areas
You shouldn’t neglect outdoor areas – gardens, paths and yards, for example. Here are a few tips for good practice in these areas, which will also help to win good reviews:
- Provide automatic lighting that activates when your guests approach the property
- Make sure that paths and patios are well maintained, free from debris, and that snow and ice is cleared in the winter
- If garden furniture and a barbecue is supplied, keep these clean and well maintained
Outdoor space can be a big draw for guests to book your property – but not if it is unusable. These three simple tips above will help your guests to enjoy your garden area, and enhance their stay.
8. Water features
Holiday lets with a swimming pool or hot tub often get booked up faster. They are luxury items which most people don’t have at home, and which can make a holiday let just that little bit extra special. But, you must make sure they comply with health and safety regulations:
- Signpost that swimming pools are not supervised and that children must be supervised at all times
- Depth markings should be accurate, and a ‘No Diving’ sign be positioned at 1.5 meters and below
- All pool chemicals and cleaning equipment should be locked away
At the changeover, a visual check for cracks and missing pool tiles should be made – and any defects attended to before the pool is used by the next guests.
9. General health and safety
The above eight areas of health and safety are specific needs. On a more general note, you should also:
- Replace broken or loose floor tiles
- Ensure carpets are secure
- Provide non-slip mats in baths and showers
- Ensure that toilets, sinks, bathtubs and shower trays are free from cracks
- Place warning signs on low ceilings or doors
10. Provide emergency contacts and help guests avoid emergencies
Finally, help your guests avoid emergencies by providing torches and emergency lighting, and ensure that you provide a list of emergency numbers to call and procedures to follow should anything go wrong. This includes instructions on how to shut off gas, electric and water if needed.
While much of the above is covered by the law, all of it is common sense. You want your guests to enjoy their time in your holiday let property, and you want them to feel comfortable. All the tips above will help you achieve both.
A safe and healthy property is one in which your guests can relax, have a great time, and one to which your guests are more likely to return. This will help to reduce your marketing and advertising costs and boost your holiday let profits even further.
To learn more about the advantages and benefits of holiday let property investment, contact Gladfish today on +44 (0)207 923 6100. We’ll be happy to discuss how a holiday let investment might fit in with an existing portfolio or be the investment to help you achieve your lifestyle goals.
Live with passion