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Owners’ legal requirements

From public liability insurance to health and safety regulations, there are a number of legal obligations that you as a holiday let owner are required to adhere to. To make the process as painless as possible we’ve put together a list of what you need to know and put in place, to ensure that you are compliant, and that your guests remain safe throughout their stay.

Fire safety

As a holiday let owner you are obliged to undertake a fire risk assessment to review your property, reduce any potential fire risks and take precautions to protect your guests. Your property must comply with the current Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Holiday cottages may be inspected by Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service and Cornwall Council, and owners found to be non-compliant or negligent can be fined and/or prosecuted, therefore it is imperative that you complete a fire risk assessment. Find out more here.

– A smoke alarm must be installed on every floor where there is living space. However, the more smoke alarms that are fitted, the safer the property will be, so we recommended installing multiple alarms.

– New legislation (2019) requires all smoke alarms to either be hard-wired into the property’s electrics or fitted with a lithium battery (we recommend batteries with a 10 year battery life).

– Properties with an open fire or log burner should feature an adequate hearth, provide a fireguard, and chimneys should be swept annually.

– A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in every room where these is a fossil-fuel burning appliance such as an open fire, log burner, or fossil-fuelled boiler or oven. Find out more here.

– Holiday let properties must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations for all upholstered furniture and beds. This does not apply to antique furniture.

– If you let with Duchy Holidays we will provide you with our Fire Safety checklist, so you can ensure you comply with all the regulations and have everything your property needs.

Gas safety

As the owner of a holiday let you are responsible for holding a Gas Safety Certificate. The certificate must be renewed every 12 months and certificates kept on file for a minimum of two years. Please send a copy to our office as we also need to keep it on file.

Oil safety

It is required by law (BS 5410) to have your oil appliances serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (usually every 12 months).

Although there is no legal requirement for holiday let owners to provide an Oil Safety Certificate it is recommended, and considered best practice, to have your appliances inspected by a registered OFTEC technician who can supply a OFTEC CD/12 Landlord Oil Installation Check form.

Electrical safety

Owners are required by law to ensure that all the electrical appliances, circuits and fixed installations in their property are safe and not hazardous to guests. All electrical items that are over five years old, such as kettles, toasters, microwaves, lamps, televisions and so on must be PAT tested by a qualified tester and the certificate sent to us to keep on file.

There is no legal requirement for you to provide an Electrical Safety Certificate, however it is considered best practice.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

It is compulsory for any building owner in the UK to get an Energy Performance Certificate to show the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property. The assessment must be carried out by a registered Domestic Energy Assessor and a copy sent to our office to keep on file. Find and engineer and check the register here.

Home insurance

It is important to ensure that you have appropriate holiday home insurance to cover the property, buildings and contents for holiday lettings (subject to the terms of the policy).

In addition to the buildings and contents cover you will also need:

Accidental damage, flood, storm or fire damage, theft, escape of water and public liability. Public liability insurance will cover any injury to the public (your guests) or damage to their property. It is not required by law however it is obligatory when letting with Duchy Holidays to take out public liability insurance cover up to £5 million, to ensure the safety of guests.

We also advise you to check your insurance policy for unoccupied home insurance disclaimers, as some insurance companies may not cover the property if it is left unattended for a certain length of time.

Tax on your holiday let

– First things first: if you have a holiday let property registered in your name then you must declare its rental income to HMRC as you may have to pay tax.

– If your property is let for 20 weeks or more per year you will pay business rates instead of council tax, as it is classed as a self-catering property.

– If your property is let for 30 weeks or more per year, you can register it as a Furnished Holiday Let. These are treated as a trade rather than an investment meaning you could be entitled to tax benefits. (A Furnished Holiday Let is a property available to let for 210 days or more, to be let as a holiday property for 105 days with no more than 155 days of extending lets or let for 31 days by the same guest.)

– Furnished Holiday Let advantages include:

– Claiming capital allowances for decorating, furnishing and maintaining the property, so you could deduct costs from your pre-tax profits.

– Your profits will count as earnings towards your pension.

– Profit sharing with a spouse enables splitting the profits for tax purposes.

– If you sell the property you can claim Capital Gains Tax relief.

For any further information on your requirements as a holiday home owner, just get in touch.

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