Make your short-let a safe place to stay

Safety

When providing your property as a short-term let the safety of your guests should be at the top of your priority list.

There are lots of regulations that you must, by law, comply with and it is therefore important that you spend time ensuring that you fulfill your responsibilities as a landlord. As well as reassuring and safeguarding your guests this will reduce the risk of incidents and claims against you.

Here are some initial questions to consider:

  • Are your gas and electrical certificates up-to-date?
  • Do you comply with the latest fire and health and safety regulations?
  • Do you have an adequate first aid kit?
  • Do you have appropriate insurance in place?

Fire Safety

You will need to ensure that you comply with the latest fire regulations, but here are some important points to consider:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment.
  • Fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and ensure that they are tested regularly.
  • If your property has the option for your guests to have an open fire provide fireguards.
  • Ensure that any chimneys and/or flues are checked and cleaned regularly.
  • Provide fire extinguishers and blankets.
  • Avoid candles.
  • Ensure that there is an adequate means of escape in the event of a fire (and that guests have all of the necessary keys to open windows and doors). Also ensure that fire exits are clearly marked.

You should also consider providing your guests with a set of safety instructions that covers things like how to light and extinguish an open fire.

Child Safety

Parents will want to be reassured that their children are staying in a safe environment. There are a number of simple things that you can implement to help put their minds at rest:

  • Avoid window blinds with hanging, looped cords.
  • Fit stair gates and bed guards.
  • Install covers over electrical sockets.
  • Fit childproof locks on cupboards.
  • Fence off any areas of water, such as ponds.
  • Avoid providing equipment that has a high risk of resulting in injury, such as trampolines and swings.

Security

There are many things that you can do to make your guests feel safe and secure whilst staying in your property, such as:

  • Installing a burglar alarm.
  • Installing security lights.
  • Ensuring that the exterior doors are sturdy and have comprehensive locking systems.
  • Providing a lockable safe.
  • Installing gates and fencing, where possible, around the property.
  • Installing an intercom system.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Again there are health and safety regulations that you must comply with, but here are some important areas for you to evaluate:

  • Carry out a health and safety risk assessment.
  • Regularly inspect floors and eliminate any trip hazards. This includes things like floor defects and wires.
  • Regularly inspect and clean outside areas, such as driveways and patios, for defects.
  • Provide a non-slip bath mat.
  • Install handrails on stairs.
  • Make sure that any dark areas have adequate lighting.
  • If you have a balcony install appropriate railings.
  • Is furniture, such as chairs and beds, structurally sound? Also avoid furniture with sharp edges.
  • If you have a swimming pool or hot tub make sure that you have extra safety measures in place and that you comply with any additional guidelines and regulations.

It is also advisable that you provide your guests with a 24/7 emergency phone number. This will assure guests that you take their safety seriously and can also help to minimise any incidents from occurring.

Also provide guests with a handbook, this should include things like how to turn the gas and water off should they ever need to.

It is of the upmost importance when letting out your property as a short-term let that you comply with and keep up-to-date with legislation to ensure that your guests enjoy their holiday in the safest possible environment. If an incident does occur you will also need to prove that you have put the necessary measures in place.