Renting out a property is a great opportunity to maximise income, but it comes with a wide range of responsibilities. It’s especially true when mixing long-term lets and short-term lets.
When hiring out your home to short or long term guests, it’s important to understand your legal obligations to keep them safe. The laws and regulations which apply may differ in your city or country, and there might be separate rules if your property is part of a building of community.
Besides, there are additional things to look out for to do short-term lets, but making sure you are compliant is crucial. Here is a good checklist of some of the most important things to consider to improve safety, but you should always get legal advice if you’re not sure about your responsibilities as a landlord.
Fire safety rules and check in a rental property
Safety should be your number one priority, and a full fire-risk assessment should be carried out. There are different fire safety rules and regulations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so make sure you do some research about what’s required.
Make sure you reduce the risk of fire and prevent fires by removing fire hazards. Make sure you have working smoke alarms fitted throughout the property, and inform guests about the escape plan should a fire occur. Smoking can be a fire risk if guests are not careful – have you thought about what your smoking policy is?
Finally, adding a fire extinguisher isn’t a requirement but can be an important add-on to your property.
It’s worth noting than safety-minded guests may also be filtering properties based on whether they have a smoke detector or a fire extinguisher. This is especially true of business travellers, which is why Airbnb asks for properties to have a smoke detector to be listed on Airbnb Plus and Airbnb for Business.
If you are considering letting with Hostmaker, we can help arrange a fire-safety check and smoke detectors for you with vetted partners.
Carbon monoxide & gas safety check
It is also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors, especially if the property has a solid fuel heating system, gas appliances or an open log fire or stove. The same way, making sure to have a recent gas safety check, as well as service your boiler once a year, are important criteria.
If you are considering letting with Hostmaker, we can help arrange a carbon monoxide detectors or gas safety checks for you with vetted partners.
Remove any electrical or accessibility hazards
Take steps to minimise hazards throughout the property, to reduce the chance of an accident or a fall. You could welcome a range of guests into your home, and some may have access requirements (less able to stand, less able to walk…) or won’t be aware of the potential hazards.
Eliminate hazardous electrical wires, install handles or railings near stairs and give warnings for any low ceilings and uneven flooring. It can also be a good idea to add an anti-slip carpet to your shower or bath tub, as well as railings.
First-aid kit and emergency numbers
You should provide a well-stocked first aid kit in case guests have any medical emergencies while staying in your property. You should also include phone numbers of emergency services and local health centres in the house manual and welcome pack, for your visitors to use if required.
For instance many people think that the emergency number is the same as that of American TV shows, 911, whereas it’s 999 in the UK, and 112 all over the European Union.
You should check the current rules in your building (if relevant) regarding pets before allowing guests to bring pets into the property.
They can increase the wear and tear in your property, as well as disturb your neighbours, so consider speaking to them about your plans. If you decide to have a pet-friendly property then include relevant local information, such as keeping dogs on leads, cleaning up after them and where to find pet supplies.
Being pet-friendly can be beneficial: it can help you to let your home for a higher price. Do make sure it makes sense compared to the added wear and tear and deeper clean that would need to follow, however.
Whether you are renting out your home for a few nights a year or on a permanent basis, the safety of your guests is paramount. If you need help managing your property, our experts are here to make the process straightforward!