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  • Holiday Lets

    Legal compliance surrounding holiday lets

    I am contemplating doing holiday lets with what is currently my main residence.  I've had someone out from Sykes Holiday Cottages and this is the route I am planning on but I have some questions.

    1. Will I still be liable for just council tax or will this become a business with business rates?

    2. I am concerned that as I am in a residential area, in the north west, neighbours may complain.  Do I need any kind of permissions from the local council or do I need to clear anything with them before I start this up

    3. what sort of insurance would i need, other than public liability?  Is there a type of insurance that would cover damage over and above usual wear and tear?

    Thanks,

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    Hi Karen,

    Here are my answers:

    1. Will I still be liable for just council tax or will this become a business with business rates?

    If you just have the one holiday let, then its very likely that it will just be council tax.  If in doubt, check with your local authority.

    2. I am concerned that as I am in a residential area, in the north west, neighbours may complain.  Do I need any kind of permissions from the local council or do I need to clear anything with them before I start this up

    You do not need any specific permissions for a single holiday let as far as I am aware.  If you run your holiday let professionally, there is little reason for neighbours to complain.  However, if you think they may be impacted in any way, such as a shared driveway, then it would be best practice to let them know your intentions and invite them to contact you in the event of your holiday letting impacting negatively on them.

    3. What sort of insurance would i need, other than public liability?  Is there a type of insurance that would cover damage over and above usual wear and tear?

    You need specialist holiday let insurance for your building and this can be obtained from Property Tribes' insurance partner, Alan Boswell Group, by calling 01603 649736 .

    Here is my guide to setting up a holiday let >>> Guide to sourcing & setting up a holiday let 

    Hope that helps and good luck with your holiday lettings!

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    Thanks for the information - very useful.

    On Sykes Holiday Cottages , does anyone have any experience with them?  In particular they gave me forecasts for achievable lets and income per annum, without a hot tub and with one.  Interestingly there was quite a difference just in those figures. 

    I'm a bit concerned that I will be tied in for 12 months.  I'd be interested to know if anyone who lets with Sykes found the figures quoted initially to be fairly accurate?

    My gut feeling is that their rents are low but their marketing seems excellent so I am leaning towards Sykes rather than another holiday let company.  I'm not interested in self managing due to all the hassle. 

    Are there any other similar letting companies?  Sykes seems the most well known to me.  I'm in an area which I think is a great location but its not a typical holiday place and my house does not have amazing country cottage kerb appeal although there are some things I can do to improve that, I'm still out of  what Sykes called a "honeypot area" by about ten miles.

    Another question - having done typical buy to let in the past, for many years, I have now almost got out of this. 

    For me the biggest downside of buy to let was the condition I got the houses back in as even with the best tenant there would be changes to the house / garden etc as it was their home and a lot of work between tenants to get the house back to the standard I wanted.  

    I am hoping that by doing the holiday cottage instead I can keep a lot more control over the state of the house, enter it a lot more often, do improvements and improve on the decor / gardem etc. to my taste without changes being made. 

    The idea is that if in the future I decide to sell the house is going to be in the best possible state   I'd be interested to know , from others doing holiday lets, how much typical wear and tear there is and how much work is actually involved in keeping the house to an excellent standard.

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    I've been doing holiday lets for 20 years, and BTL as well for 10yrs, and I would say the maintenance in our BTL is much lower.

    Factoring in the weekly cleaning, replacement of furnishings and furniture, and to be frank, the hassle was why we put 5 of ours into long let. We still have 3 left.

    Bigger margins, bigger overheads.

    Interesting what you say about Sykes, we market ourselves, but have spoken to them at trade shows, but they want 20% commission which seemed steep. Hope I don't sound too doom & gloom, it can be rewarding, probably just tired on a change over day! lol

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    I have found wear and tear on our holiday lets less than BTL.  In around 11 years, we have only done minor upgrades/refurbs as ours are high quality products, and people tend to respect them.

    I have only really had to have the stairwells repainted to date, as they tend to get heavily marked with people dragging cases up and down the stairs.

    Our cleaners do an excellent job and notify us of any minor repairs, so we run a rolling programme of on-going minor refurbisment, rather than a large one.

    Having said that, one of our holiday lets probably needs a complete redecoration at the end of this season to maintain its high standards.  The agent has informed me of this, but I've not been to look myself because its always booked out!

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    1. Will I still be liable for just council tax or will this become a business with business rates?

    Properties which are available to let for more than 140 nights are eligible for business rates, not council tax. We have encountered instances of enforcement for failure to register for business rates, so if you are intending definitely to make the property available for more than 140 nights a year, you should register for business rates.

    2. I am concerned that as I am in a residential area, in the north west, neighbours may complain.  Do I need any kind of permissions from the local council or do I need to clear anything with them before I start this up

    No specific permission is needed to short-let. However, please note that local authorities may interpret regular short-letting as a material change of use in the property, and demand that planning permission is required. Each local authority is free to interpret this as they please.

    3. what sort of insurance would i need, other than public liability?  Is there a type of insurance that would cover damage over and above usual wear and tear?

    There are companies which offer specialist insurance products, as most home insurance policies will not cover short-term rentals. You can find out more about this here.

    You can find more information about all of these topics at our Host Guidance page.

    Best,

    UK Short Term Accommodation Association

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    I'm with the cottages.com group, which is now owned by Awaze.  They market me over cottages.com, Hoseasons, Scottish Cottages (they also own various other regional brands) and put me on booking.com and Airbnb. 

    Their standard rate when I signed up was 24%+VAT, I'm on 18+VAT and unlimited free owner weeks, because they were short of properties in my area and wanted people to sign with them.  I've been really happy with them, the commission is more than covered by what their pricing algorithm charges over what I initially thought I could rent it for.  All I do is sort out the cleaning and maintenance.

    Don't know if I'm allowed to mention it, but there's a forum specifically for people running holiday lets and B&Bs called Lay My Hat, you might want to read some of the experiences people have had with Sykes on there. 

    The problem with any of the large agencies is the length of notice you have to give them.  If I want to end the agreement, I have to let them know by May for removal from the following January, and I already have bookings for 2020, so if you sign with any of them, bear in mind you're tied for a significant period.

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    Faint heart never won fair holiday let...