At the time of writing this post, all holiday homes are closed and there is no essential travel. It will have hit us hard financially receiving a loss of income due to not letting out properties. High profile persons who have visited a second home have not been popular and for some, it has cost them their job.
If you have a holiday home that you let out, then you will probably be considering how do I prepare for letting out my holiday home after lockdown?
Now is the time to check that all of your records are up to date such as:
- Gas safety check
- PAT testing
- Fixed/Hard Wire electrical testing certificate
- Wood burner/open fire certificate
- Private water supply testing
If you think that some of these certificates may not be in date when you have your next booking, then contact the relevant contractor to ensure that you are first on their list for a service.
If you sign up to our holiday homes advice membership this will tell you the frequency of testing for all compliance records within the UK.
Fire risk assessment
Always remember, Fire Kills! Fire safety is important as you provide sleeping accommodation.
Now is the opportunity to review your fire risk assessment. Every holiday home let out to the public must have a fire risk assessment by law in the UK.
You may have completed your own fire risk assessment and if it’s over a year old, then why not sign up to our membership where you can find an up to date template and start to prepare your updated one. It is strongly recommended that if you complete a fire risk assessment away from your property, then as soon as you can, you review it when in the property. This is so you do not forget anything and your fire risk assessment is accurate or as the fire service would say ‘suitable and sufficient’.
If an external fire risk assessor has completed a fire risk assessment for you, then have a look at the action plan and see what is outstanding. Can you arrange for any contractors to go in prior to your first booking to complete any fire safety works.
Prior to your first booking, you will need to ensure that all fire systems are in working order such as:
- Emergency escape lighting
- Smoke detectors and heat detectors
- Fire panel
- Fire suppression system (normally Wales)
You may need to record this information if required in a fire log book.
You may also need to consider if there are any fire systems that require a service before your first booking and now is the time to speak to your contractor about being first for the service.
Health and Safety
If you have carbon monoxide detectors in place, then these will need to be checked. It is good practice and manufacturer’s instruction now state that you should have one on each floor.
For those of you with swimming pools or hot tubs, then ensure that contractors have completed any maintenance required and you carry out the normal checks prior to your first booking:
- Clean and refill hot tub and complete water checks.
- Complete water checks on swimming pool.
For all holiday home owners, prior to the guests arriving on the first booking, there are simple tasks that can be completed:
- Run all taps and showers for a minimum of 2 minutes. Disinfect and clean shower heads.
- Run a short cycle through the dishwasher.
This is to prevent any potential legionella bacteria from building up in the pipework.
Finally we come to the section that everyone is talking about. Your guests will want to know what arrangements you have made with regard to disinfecting the environment that their family and friends will spend their next break.
In terms of risk assessment, can we guarantee that a holiday home will be completely 100% free of the COVID-19 virus?
Of course, it is vital that the persons who are going to be cleaning between changeovers are carrying out a thorough job and that everything that can be cleaned and disinfected is.
Have you considered a company to come out and carry out a full deep clean sanitisation and decontamination treatment such as Fogging? This will inevitably add to the costs of running a holiday home, do you absorb the costs providing some sort of guarantee that a treatment has been undertaken to get the booking or do you state that comprehensive cleaning has been undertaken between each changeover?
Fogging could be another issue to overcome as will there be enough machines to purchase or companies to deliver that service?
Cleaning and disinfection
Just a recap to help you understand the process of cleaning and disinfection.
- Cleaning is the removal of dirt, debris and dust.
- Disinfection is the removal of micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
- A sanitiser is a combination of cleaning and disinfection.
So when we are thinking about doing a good thorough clean, it has to include disinfection too. Cleaning product labels will tell you the type of product you are using.
To prevent the spread of viruses the following type of surfaces need to be disinfected:
Disinfect all hand contact surfaces e.g.
- Light switches
- Door handles
- Appliance handles e.g. fridge freezer, dishwasher, microwave
- Cabinet handles
- WC lids
- TV remote
Disinfect all food contact surfaces e.g.
- Chopping boards
- Kitchen equipment
- Kitchen preparation surfaces
Disinfect all hard surfaces e.g.
- Bedroom furniture
Where possible all removable linen should be washed e.g.
- Bed linen
- Removable cushion covers
Cleaning materials such as cloths should be disposable.
It was mentioned earlier, could we completely eliminate the risk? For small properties, it is likely that a single family unit will be staying at the property. For larger properties, individual groups of people may be staying and it is unlikely that social distancing could take place, therefore potentially spreading the virus.
There are so many questions around when we will be allowed to open and its safety. We will always do our best to let you know the latest government guidance within the UK.