You must plan for all sea­sons if you buy a Bri­tish hol­i­day let

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sally Coulthard

IF you’re lucky enough to own a sec­ond home in the UK, you’ve prob­a­bly con­sid­ered rent­ing it out as a hol­i­day let.

The ap­peal is clear – not only do you get a higher rental rate per week than a res­i­den­tial let but, as the owner, you can also make use of the hol­i­day home your­self.

Three-bed­room hol­i­day homes in pop­u­lar tourist spots reg­u­larly charge up­wards of £600 per week dur­ing peak times. That’s a healthy in­come , es­pe­cially if you’re not hav­ing to ser­vice a mort­gage on the prop­erty.

As with most things, how­ever, it’s not with­out its has­sles. The num­ber of hol­i­day lets in Bri­tain has rock­eted in re­cent years which has meant stiffer competition and more de­mand­ing guests. And, un­less you live close by, you’ll also have to em­ploy help to keep on top of the con­stant clean­ing and changeovers, man­age the guests, and take book­ings.

So, if you are think­ing of rent­ing out an ex­ist­ing prop­erty, or in­vest­ing in a hol­i­day home for the first time, what are the is­sues to con­sider?

Get the right lo­ca­tion. Bri­tish hol­i­day­mak­ers still tend to take their main hol­i­days abroad. It’s vi­tal, there­fore, you cor­ner the ‘long week­end’ mar­ket and choose a hol­i­day let in a pretty ru­ral area not too far from a big city or train sta­tion/air­port.

Do the sums. Can you earn enough from rental in­come to cover your out­go­ings in­clud­ing the mort­gage? The typ­i­cal oc­cu­pancy rate for a UK hol­i­day let is be­tween 20 and 24 weeks a year.

Re­mem­ber you charge dif­fer­ent rates for high sea­son (school and pub­lic hol­i­days), mid sea­son (from mid April to mid Oc­to­ber ex­clud­ing hol­i­days) and low sea­son. It can also take a few years to get es­tab­lished, even with a pop­u­lar hol­i­day let­ting agent.

Get the right house. Large prop­er­ties can be dif­fi­cult to let. A two or three bed­room prop­erty is ideal as most UK hol­i­day lets are young fam­i­lies, couples or small par­ties of friends.

Get help. Strongly con­sider em­ploy­ing a let­ting agent to take care of the hol­i­day let. They’ll take care of ad­ver­tis­ing, de­posits, pay­ments, clean­ing and main­te­nance. Ex­pect .to pay around 20-30 per cent of the an­nual rental in­come, more for the big play­ers.

Get a web­site. Whether you are em­ploy­ing a let­ting agent or not, get your­self a web­site. Most hol­i­day mak­ers like to see where they are go­ing be­fore they book – the more pic­tures, lo­cal at­trac­tions and visi­tor in­for­ma­tion the bet­ter. Cre­at­ing an at­trac­tive, wel­com­ing web­site isn’t as hard as you’d imag­ine – sites like moon­fruit.com let you do it for free as long as you buy your own do­main name.

The right decor. Out with the horse-brasses and Ar­tex. Most hol­i­day let­ters want a more mod­ern, taste­ful ap­proach on coun­try in­te­ri­ors. Get some ideas from mag­a­zines such as Coun­try Liv­ing or Pe­riod Liv­ing, both of which hit the right tone. Re­paint ev­ery year and up­date the fur­nish­ings ev­ery three to five years, de­pend­ing on wear and tear.

The right fa­cil­i­ties. Hol­i­day­mak­ers ex­pect a cer­tain level of fa­cil­i­ties, even in a ru­ral cot­tage. Dig­i­tal TV, DVD, mu­sic player and dish­washer are stan­dard. If you want to let to young fam­i­lies, don’t for­get fire guards, high chairs, cots and stair­gates.

Safety first. All equip­ment should be safe, clean and fit for pur­pose. Fire reg­u­la­tions also mean that ex­tin­guish­ers and flame-re­sis­tant fur­ni­ture are com­pul­sory.

The right in­surance. It’s ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial you are fully cov­ered. You need to have build­ing and con­tents and pub­lic li­a­bil­ity, as well as loss of rental in­come cover and can­cel­la­tion in­surance if you need a guar­an­teed in­come ev­ery month.

Tax. The rules for fur­nished hol­i­days lets are dif­fer­ent from res­i­den­tial lets both in terms of cap­i­tal gains tax and in­come tax. Get a good ac­coun­tant to guide you through the tax plan­ning.

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