When letting your property as a holiday home, it’s important that you understand the proper regulations, so your guests are safe during their stay – and for your own peace of mind, too! But understanding certification can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re starting out.
If you’ve ever wondered what certification is needed to make sure your holiday let complies with government health and safety guidelines, Dr David is here to help!
In this blog, I’m going to cover these key sections:
- Fire Safety
- Public Liability
To start off, let me introduce you to the HSE. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It’s sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. Holiday Let legislation comes under the umbrella of the HSE, which is why understanding proper regulations is so important.
As the owner, you’re responsible for implementing measures to protect guests that comply with Fire Safety Law (aka Regulatory Reform [Fire Safety] Order 2005)
Fire Risk Assessment (FRA): Is this a legal requirement for a holiday let?
The answer is, Yes.
Fire safety law applies if anyone pays to stay in your property, otherthan to live there as a permanent home. Any flat, house, cottage or caravan you rent out on a short-term arrangement or for a holiday is covered under the Fire Safety Order.
At Self Cater Cornwall, we provide owners with templates to complete the FRA. This document must be retained at the property, signed and dated by the owner for paying guests to see, and then updated annually with any changes that may have been made.
You must also make sure you have these:
Fire Extinguisher – on each floor of the let.
Fire Blanket – placed in the kitchen.
Chimneys & Wood Burners
Holiday cottages with an open fire/wood burner are highly sought after, but they do require maintenance and care to ensure their safety.
Here are some pointers:
- Clean your chimney/flue regularly to reduce soot build-up and clear any obstructions.
- Communicate with your guests on how to use your fire properly.
- Provide a fireguard to be used at all times to catch stray sparks.
- Have your wood burner/flue checked annually by a specialist and make sure you obtain a certificate from the engineer
- If you’re looking for the right contact for your wood burner maintenance, we can assist you, so do get in touch.
Gas safety checks
All gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check. This should be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. Once completed, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record detailing the checks that were carried out.
Arrange your gas safety check every 10 – 12 months.
If you’re unsure about your LGSR, contact Gas Safe Register to discuss your individual case.
Gas Safety Record
Once you’ve received your LGSR, you need to provide a record of this check to your guests.
For rental periods of less than 28 days, make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your gas safety record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out.
Gas pipework check recommendation
Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check. However, the Gas Safe Register and the HSE both recommend that when you request your safety check, you ask the engineer to:
- Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
- Visually examine the pipework (where possible)
There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues.
Landlords & carbon monoxide (CO) detector/ alarms
A CO alarm is required in every habitable room of a rental property containing gas appliances (excluding appliances used for cooking).
As the landlord, you’ll need to check that carbon monoxide alarms are working the day any new tenancy begins.
Before purchasing a CO alarm, ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations about how you should fit and test your alarm to and check that the unit and batteries are in good condition.
Electrics & Electrical Safety
Holiday let landlords have a duty to regularly carry out safety checks to make sure electrical appliances are safe and in good working order. In addition to regular visual checks, appliances/electrics should be checked and serviced – ideally by a NICEIC registered electrician.
These checks include:
Portable Appliance Test (PAT Testing).
This check covers all stand-alone electrical items (i.e. the toaster, kettle, tumble dryer, lamps and sockets) and should be carried out every 2 – 3 years. However, as there are likely to be more issues with electrics than gas, annual PAT testing is good practice.
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
New legislation means landlords must have the electrical installation in their property inspected and tested by an electrician at least every five years.
This report identifies any damage, deterioration, defects and/or conditions which may give rise to danger, along with observations for what improvements are recommended.
The electrician will issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) on completion of the work.
Public Liability Insurance
What is Holiday Letting Public Liability Cover?
Holiday cottages across the country welcome millions of guests throughout the year, and sometimes accidents happen. Public Liability Insurance covers you if any visitors were to suffer injury, death, or illness during their stay – the cause of which is in some way attributed to the property owner.
Whether there’s been a slip that’s resulted in a bumped head, or a far worse accident, this cover will ensure you’re protected from legal costs and any compensation that may be due.
Levels of Cover
There’s no legal requirement for holiday homeowners to have Public Liability cover. However, if you welcome guests into your home, you could be left heavily out of pocket if someone were to have an accident.
I therefore like to think of it as how much cover do you need, rather than if you need it or not.
It’s been recommended that cover of £3 million for small properties (sleeping up to two guests) and £5 million for larger properties, is sufficient. We suggest our homeowners select up to £10 million, for complete peace of mind should anything happen.
At Self Cater Cornwall Holiday Lettings we have access to specialist holiday let insurers who can advise owners on the cover required for their properties.
So, there you have it – the main items of certification needed to make sure your holiday let is guest ready.
Dr David is available to discuss any of this, as well as other queries you might have. Find me at the office in Chester Road, Newquay, call me on 01637 859595, or send me an email at email@example.com.
Look out for my next blog in February, where I’ll be exploring ‘How to market Your Holiday Let’.