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Knowledge Share: What do I need to do to make my holiday let safe?

Nov 24, 2023

To make your holiday let safe, you need to comply with various health and safety regulations which make provisions for achieving safety in a variety of areas. These include:

Fire safety:

Fire is the biggest risk to your guests and to your property. Making sure your holiday let is fire safe is critical and a legal requirement. Recently, the changes for safety and particularly fire safety for Airbnb properties has been in the media. Whether you have an Airbnb, or a full-time holiday let, you must provide for the fire safety of your guests. Uncertainty around what needs to be done considering the changes to Airbnb lettings has had our phone ringing lately. It is a good idea to seek professional advice to ensure that you comply with the regulations. JCH Safety can help you with your holiday let fire safety.

Briefly, you need to conduct a fire risk assessment first. JCH Safety provide fire risk assessments for holiday lets, Airbnb properties as well as other leisure properties such as glamping pods and camp sites. The fire risk assessment is an audit of compliance with fire safety legislation and identifies shortfalls which can then be fixed. It is important that your property has automatic fire detection installed. It is not sufficient to just have battery smoke alarms. You should install appropriate fire detection such as hardwired smoke alarms to the bedrooms, circulation and lounge areas and a heat detector to the kitchen. These detectors should be installed with battery backup. They must be regularly inspected, particularly between each letting. You also need to provide fire extinguishers/ fire blankets such as for the kitchen area. If you have a log burner you need to have a fire guard, a suitable hearth and provide safety information about how to use it. You need to provide emergency lighting, which could be full on lights for larger properties or just simple nightlights and emergency torches which glow if the power fails. Fire doors are required for doors which are on your escape routes. This usually means for all bedrooms and rooms on escape corridors. You also need to provide clear fire escape route information and instructions for your guests. A good fire risk assessor will be able to help you to navigate through the requirements and help you feel confident that you are compliant with the rules. Remember, failure to abide by the regulations can result in prosecution, fines and even imprisonment. Fire safety is vital.

Gas safety:

It is a legal requirement to keep your gas installations in good condition. You must ensure that all gas appliances and fittings are installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer which includes boilers, hobs, and fires for example. You also need to obtain a gas safety certificate every year and display it in your property. Remember you also need to install carbon monoxide detectors in rooms where there are gas appliances.

Oil safety:

You need to ensure that all oil appliances and tanks are installed and maintained by an OFTEC registered engineer. Obtain an oil safety certificate every year and display it in your property. Carbon monoxide detectors should be provided in rooms where there are oil appliances.

Electrical safety:

Electricity provides two main risks, the potential for fire and electrocution. Both have the potential to kill and so it is vital to keep your electrical equipment in good order. You need to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances are safe and comply with the relevant standards which apply to them. Obtain an electrical installation condition report (EICR) every five years from a competent electrician. Carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) to obtain a certificate for your devices with plugs every year. You also need to make sure you provide adequate sockets and avoid overloading them with multiplug adapters and extension leads. If necessary, have a competent electrician install some more sockets! Check your equipment over visually between each letting and remove/ replace anything that has become damaged.

General health and safety:

You need to identify and eliminate any potential hazards that could cause harm or injury to your guests. These could include providing handrails for staircases, making sure that access paths are clear, lit, and safe, installing proper railings on balconies, removing any sharp or protruding objects, childproofing your property if it is family-friendly, and providing warnings if there are any low ceilings or unseen steps. Walk the property through as if it is new to you and think about trip, slip and fall risks and look out for sharp items. Keep a check sheet to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Outdoor areas:

When thinking about fire and general health and safety also consider risks outside of the property. Do you allow BBQs for example or have a fire pit? If so, think about the risks from these such as leaves catching fire or people becoming trapped. If you do allow BBQs think about their location and ensure to provide quality, safe equipment which is away from the property. If you have ponds, streams, or rivers, think about the risks here too. Provide lifebuoy stations at sensible locations and provide some signage relating to deep water, strong currents, or water quality risks. Are there farm animals or dogs running about? If so, think about risks here to. Consider parking, pathways, and stairs. Make sure trip hazards are removed and that weather related risks such as ice are countered. Also, think about risks to animals. If you allow dogs at your property, provide information about local vets and point out known risks such as any poisonous plants or other hazards such as roads or electrified fences. If you employ more than 5 people in your team you must provide for written general risk assessments.

These are some of the key holiday let safety requirements that you need to follow. For more information, you can refer to the official guidance from the government website or look at trade bodies who provide lots of useful information. We are always happy to help customers, so please feel free to contact us for help with your holiday or Airbnb letting. I hope this helps you make your holiday let safe and comfortable for your guests.

JCH Safety are based in Warwickshire and work across the Midlands. We can help with general health and safety and fire risk assessments for holiday lets, Airbnbs, pubs with rooms and hotels.

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