2012 saw an increase in property owners renting out their homes to people visiting for the Olympics. This trend has continued. A good number of home owners in the UK are prepared to pack up their things and rent out their homes for a few weeks of the year as a way of making some extra money.
But is it really worthwhile? Maybe the thought of packing up your personal belongings fills you with dread. Or the prospect of having strangers living in your house and using your much loved possessions really doesn’t appeal. Alternatively, perhaps the idea of increasing your income by a few thousand pounds a year is worth the effort and it will enable you to set off on your own travels for a few weeks each summer.
Apart from a few obvious areas to consider, such as where you will live and store your personal belongings, here are a few things that you will need to think about.
Is your property desirable enough?
The UK holiday market already has its fair share of holiday homes available for renting, so to successfully rent out your home for the summer season it needs to have something special to offer. This brings us down to the old cliche ‘location, location, location’. If you have a cottage by the sea, or in an area popular with tourists, then you stand a good chance of renting it out. It will also need to be decorated and furnished to a relatively high standard. Take a look at our guide on setting up your holiday cottage here.
Major cultural and sporting events, such as the Edinburgh Festival or the Grand Prix, will also attract additional tourists to certain areas, so it is worth considering if you have any local events during the summer months.
What type of guests do you want to attract?
Give a little thought to the type of person your property is likely to attract and the type of guests you want to accommodate. If you are only renting your property out for a few weeks of the year it is unlikely you will want to make any big changes. Take a look at our guide on setting up your cottage for short breaks. If you have a stylish home with cream carpets and sofas, you may not wish to rent out to families with young children. If you have a property with solid floors and an enclosed garden, you may decide to open your doors to dog owners. You have a choice, so it is worth deciding from the onset who your property best suits to ensure you don’t get excessive wear and tear and you manage your guest’s expectations.
You will need to list your property on holiday rental websites such as Independent Cottages or OTA’s (online travel agents) such as Airbnb. There will be associated fees for advertising and you will need to check if there are any additional charges.
It is important that your property is accurately and appropriately advertised so that guests know exactly what they are getting. For example, many people renting a cottage would not expect to see personal possessions such as family photos or wardrobes full of clothes. If you are planning on leaving some items in the property, or having some areas ‘out of bounds’ and locked, then make sure this is highlighted in your advert and guests are made aware of it before booking. You will also need good photos. Whilst the written description needs to be detailed, ultimately it is your photos that are likely to catch someone’s eye.
Health and safety
Once you rent out your property you are technically a ‘landlord’ and you will need to adhere to regulations and standards to ensure that your house is safe and legally compliant. For example, you will need gas and/or electrical safety checks and a Fire Safety Risk Assessment to name just a few. You can find out more information about your responsibilities as a landlord here.
We also have our own guides on these topics to help reduce the legal jargon:
Energy Performance Certificates for holiday homes
Fire Safety Regulations for holiday homes
Legislation for holiday home owners
If you have a mortgage on the property you will require permission from your mortgage lender. This may not always be granted or may come at a higher rate of interest.
When renting out your property you will need to check if you are covered by your current insurance. Some insurers might continue to provide cover for an additional fee, but others might require you to take out specialist holiday rental insurance cover. You could approach companies such as Schofields for a quote. This will protect yourself and your property against the risks associated with being a landlord, along with providing necessary cover for your guests.
You will need to declare your rental income on your tax return. You should be able to deduct day to day running expenses. Speak to an accountant to better understand what you can and cannot deduct against tax. If you are renting out a furnished room in your home you may be eligible to earn £7,500 tax free under the government’s Rent a Room Scheme.
If you are renting out the property yourself you will need to handle enquiries, take bookings and process payments in a timely manner. We strongly recommend that you’re able to take credit card payments as a holiday home owner. You will also need to create terms and conditions with agreement details and relevant information for holiday letting.
If you plan to head off into the sun for a few weeks over the summer period then you will need to make arrangements for cleaning and housekeeping whilst you are away. Guests will need to have a reliable point of contact during their stay in case they have any queries or problems.
If you do decide to dip your toe into the holiday rental market for a few weeks of the year, it certainly can be lucrative. For many people it pays for their own summer holiday, or allows them to boost their income. However, make sure you do your homework beforehand to establish if it is right for you. Whilst this list provides a few considerations, it is just a starting point and is by no means exhaustive! Check out a few of our other guides here: