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.
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. It is also best practice to complete a general property risk assessment too.
– A fire risk assessment must be undertaken prior to letting. This can be completed by the owner or a fire safety consultant. If you would like us to, Duchy Holidays can arrange an assessment visit from a qualified fire expert (a charge will apply).
Further information can be found on Cornwall Council’s website, here.
You can also download a fire safety risk assessment template here.
– It is necessary to install an interconnected fire alarm system throughout the property, with smoke detectors in each room (including bedrooms, hallways and landings, but excluding bathrooms) and heat detectors in the kitchen(s). If your property is more than two storeys then alarms should be wired to the mains. New legislation (2021) requires the system to be radio interlinked so that if one alarm goes off, it triggers all the others to sound too.
– A fire action notice with what to do in the event of a fire, and the assembly point, will be included in your Duchy Holidays Property Welcome Folder, but it is advisable to have it on display too.
– It is obligatory to provide a foam fire extinguisher on each floor plus a fire blanket on display in the kitchen(s).
– Exit doors (front or back) must be able to be opened without a key, for example, a Yale / thumb turn lock, providing an emergency fire exit.
– Emergency (rechargeable plug-in) torches that come on automatically if the power fails should be provided within the property. If your property is more than two storeys, more sophisticated emergency lighting is required.
– Properties with an open fire or log burner should feature an adequate hearth and provide a fireguard. Chimneys should be swept annually.
– A carbon monoxide alarm is mandatory in every room where there 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.
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.
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.
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 an engineer and check the register here.
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.
If you wish to supply any food or drink for guests on arrival you will need a Health and Hygiene safety certificate (level two or above). Alcohol cannot be supplied to guests as part of a welcome hamper / arrival gift, without an Alcohol Licence.
By law, holiday lets and self-catering accommodation are not permitted to use the Council’s household collection. Holiday home waste collection is classed as commercial waste and must be collected by a licenced contractor.
Duchy Holidays can help
Duchy Holidays can offer advice, recommendations and management for many of the above requirements as part of letting with us.
For any further information on your requirements as a holiday home owner, just get in touch.