Maintenance on holiday lets
“Early spring is often the ideal time to carry out maintenance on holiday lets to prepare properties for the busy season ahead,” says Claire Longman, Cornish Mutual Underwriting Leader.
Not surprisingly given the current situation, more of us are looking at staycations and UK holidays again this summer. Research done last year by Cambridge & Counties Bank showed Cornwall, Devon and Dorset in the top 10 UK destinations expected to see the greatest rise in UK holidaymakers over the next two years.
The boom in holiday lettings sites, such as Airbnb, has added to the holiday let market growth here in the South West. Many of our farming Members across the South West are responding to this growing tourism market and converting agricultural buildings into holiday lets.
So now is the time, before restrictions are lifted, to carry out essential maintenance work and property inspections, to help prevent accidents and meet legal requirements.
Gas safety and boiler inspections
All landlords, including holiday let owners, are legally required to have an annual gas safety check by a registered Gas Safe engineer. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate is issued following an inspection and should be displayed where guests can see it. It is also mandatory to commission a boiler service by a Gas Safe registered engineer at least once a year.
While there isn’t legal requirement for landlords to hold an Electrical Safety Certificate, you do have to ensure the safety of your property’s electrics. So, it’s a good idea to employ a qualified electrician to carry out a full inspection at least every five years, checking appliances against current UK standards.
You must also carry out regular checks on all electrical appliances available for guest use. This involves looking for defects or signs of wear and tear, acting on any hazards immediately.
If you have a regular stream of guests using appliances throughout the year, it’s worth considering more frequent inspections from a qualified electrician.
All landlords, including holiday let owners, must comply with fire safety law and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including a fire risk assessment.
Risk assessments can be carried out by a landlord or a qualified fire consultant but must be up to date and ideally renewed every 12 months. The risk assessment should identify who is at risk as well as recognise, remove or reduce hazards.
Smoke detectors must be on every floor and in every room of a holiday let, except bathrooms. A carbon monoxide detector is also required in every room with a fossil fuel-burning appliance, including a boiler, oven or log burner. All detectors must be tested frequently.
Upholstered furniture must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations and checked regularly to ensure it meets the required standards.
The industry body, HETAS, recommends having a chimney swept at least twice a year when burning wood and annually for fires using smokeless fuels.
Out-of-season maintenance jobs
Conducting thorough checks and undertaking repairs during the low season can ensure the property is in a good state of repair and helps keep guests safe. We recommend landlords carry out a regular assessment of the following:
- Assess outside spaces, such as footpaths and steps for loose paving slabs, trip hazards or overgrowing vegetation
- Check roofs for loose tiles and evidence of damp coming into the property
- Ensure all doors and windows are fully operational and can be locked
- Clear drains and gutters to prevent blockages
- Check staircases and carpets for trip hazards and make sure handrails are secure.
Make sure a property is suitable for its users. For example, family groups are at higher risk of accidents, so consider installing socket covers and childproof locks.
A checklist of appliances and potential hazards helps the changeover team check and inspect all aspects of the property that could cause guests discomfort or injury during their stay.
Cornish Mutual offers specialist landlord insurance, which includes comprehensive cover for let property and contents.
TB Vaccination: Would it make South West farming more resilient?
TB was so rare in 1984 when vet Ralph Drouin came across his first case, he didn’t know what it was whereas farmer Max Sealy has never known farming without it. His farm has been effectively ‘shutdown’ for 20 years.Read More
Why women are needed if farming is to survive
Professor Sally Shortall has studied farming families around the world and her view remains the same. Women are vital for successful farming businesses but continue to be an under-valued resource.Read More
Inspire, network, grow
Struck by the lack of women working alongside her in the meat industry, Laura Ryan set up Meat Business Women in 2015. It is now a global phenomenon.Read More
How storytelling helps build industry resilience
Featuring in an episode of our Farming Focus podcast, BBC journalist Anna Jones and communications specialist Kendra Hall explain why storytelling and public relations is vital to the industry’s future.Read More
Managing profitability and sustainability through innovation
Adapting their growing techniques and developing their own tailor-made machinery is helping the team at Rowe Farming make impressive strides towards a sustainable future.Read More
Sustainable self-sufficiency for Cornish cheesemakers
From his cheese production unit on the family farm, Giel Spierings can see the grass growing to feed the cows producing the milk he turns into Cornish Gouda; zero food miles at its finest.Read More
Leading the way in sustainable vegetable production
Farming 8,000 acres across Cornwall while employing 587 members of staff producing field-scale vegetables 365 days of the year is impressive in itself. Couple this with being sector leaders in sustainable practices and it clear to see Riviera Produce is an extraordinary business.Read More
Opportunities from growth
Taking responsibility for your own personal development and growth is critical according to agri-businessman Ian Tremain. We find out more.Read More
Attracting and retaining good staff
Specialist recruitment expert Hugh Pocock gives farm businesses his tips on how to attract and retain good people and explains why it isn’t all about the money.Read More