There are various legal requirements which must be in place when you let a holiday cottage. Every property is different so there isn’t a one size fits all approach - the following links to these government websites are a good guide of what is required and helps you to make sure you are making your cottage as safe as possible for your guests. The second link is aimed more towards larger holiday properties.
The key points to look out for are laid out below:
Fire Action Plan
There must be a Fire Action plan clearly displayed at the cottage - this makes visitors aware of what they need to do in the event of a fire. A Fire Action Notice looks like this in most commercial properties.
These are readily available from most DIY stores or online. You don’t have to have this particular one and you can produce your own. As long as there is one though and it is clearly displayed that is fine.
Fire Risk Assessment (FRA)
Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement. This identifies all the possible causes of fire at the cottage and makes sure action has been taken to mitigate these.
Visitors need to be able get to a safe space in a timely way in the event of a fire at the cottage. Remember that visitors are not familiar with the property - a fire may happen on their first night, possibly when they have arrived late in the evening and aren't fully familiar with the layout of the property. You need to think who could be in the group, which could include babies or people with limited mobility.
Once you have identified the risks, you need to take appropriate action to make sure that everyone is able to exit the building safely. You need to document the risks you have identified and the actions you have taken to mitigate these in your FRA. If your visitors escape route to a safe space is NOT simple and obvious, then you need signs (and possibly lighting) in place so they can be guided out. This is certainly the case for larger properties. We can give you links to help you get the right signs.
If there is a chance of a fire starting in a part of the building, that wouldn't necessarily immediately trigger an alarm in an area where guests are staying, then you need wired in (and interlinked) smoke detector alarms covering the relevant areas of the property. For those properties with more than one staircase or if you are on three or more levels it may be appropriate to have a fire panel instead of the interlinked smoke alarms for added safety.
Smoke Alarms, Fire Blankets, Fire Extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms (if required) should be checked and tested regularly.
There are various accredited companies who can carry out a Fire Risk Assessment on your behalf if you don’t feel confident in doing this yourself. They will then advise you what may be required for your particular property - we can give you the contact details of people who we have used in the past.
If you have a gas boiler or any gas appliances in the property then you are required by law to have a gas safety certificate in place and this must be carried out on an annual basis. We also suggest that you have the boiler serviced annually when obtaining your gas safety certificate. If you look at it like a car, the gas safety certificate is the equivalent of an MOT but you still need to service it so it remains in good working order. If your gas safety certificate isn’t in date you cannot accept paying guests at your cottage.
The National Grid, offer a 24 hour service to help out with gas leaks or carbon monoxide issues. If you use gas at your property or have a woodburner or open fire this may be useful to your visitors. You can find all the information via their website here: https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/safety-and-emergencies. We would recommend that you include these details in your cottage, so that visitors have access to the information and are able to use it in an emergency if necessary.
If you have an oil fired boiler then this needs to be serviced annually.
Your portable appliances need to be tested annually (known as PAT testing). These are items with a plug eg toaster, kettle, bedside lamp etc.
You are also required to have your electrics checked periodically, usually every 5 years if you are letting a property, you will most likely find this is a requirement of your household insurance as well.
Open Fires and Wood Burning Stoves
You will have most likely covered this as part of your FRA but you must have your chimney or flue swept at least every 12 months.
You will require Public Liability Insurance at your holiday cottage. At Sally’s Cottages we ask that you have at least £2million public liability insurance in place. This is advice we have been given by insurance companies and use this as our guide. Safety Declaration Form If you are choosing to join up to our managed service then we will ask you to complete a form called the Safety Declaration Form. We are unable to start accepting guests at your cottage until this is completed and all up to date. We will then send you reminders on an annual basis when they are soon to be due for renewal.
If you have any questions or if there is anything else we can help with at all please just get in touch - we're on 017687 80571 every day until 9pm or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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