Beginner's Guide to Lending Your Holiday Home to Friends and Family

Safety checks and holiday home insurance implications

With holidays being in short supply in 2020, anyone with a second home or holiday property in the UK may feel like they want to treat family and friends to a change of scenery by offering them a staycation break in their home-from-home. Before you lay out the ‘welcome’ mat though, you may find it helpful to think about a few basics to avoid potential mishaps and to keep relationships sweet.

Before anyone visits it’s a good idea to double check that any applicable gas, electricity and boiler checks are up to date and that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly. Also, check your insurance to see if there are any instructions or restrictions that you should draw to your guests’ attention, so you don’t invalidate your cover. For example, this could include locking windows when the property is empty.

If your home is located on a complex or holiday park site, check that there are no new restrictions around allowing guests to visit following the pandemic.

See our FAQs for insurance when lending your holiday home, static caravan, or touring caravan to family and friends.

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Do a final sense-check

If your space is usually occupied by adults only and you are considering lending it out to a family with children, take a look around and perhaps pack away any potentially hazardous or valuable items for peace of mind.

Do you need to let anyone know you will be having guests; a designated key holder, concierge or just a friend or neighbour who keeps an eye on the place for you?

With just a bit of preparation you can keep your guests safe to enjoy a welcome break and your home-from-home in great shape for the next time you visit.

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Create a quick guide

Every home is different, so your guests won’t know its quirks and how yours operates. Typing up a quick guide that you can leave on the kitchen table or better still, email to them beforehand can be a great way to provide helpful information and to set some expectations about looking after your bolthole. Here are some examples:

Pre and on arrival

  • Do they need to bring their own towels, bedding, tea towels, bathmats, beach towels?
  • How do they find it? If it’s gated, what is the entry code? Where is the parking, are there any considerations/restrictions?
  • How do they get the keys? What is the alarm code, plus turning off and setting alarm instructions?
  • Where is the stopcock to turn the water on? Where is the gas shutoff valve (if applicable)?
  • How does the heating and hot water work?
  • How do key appliances work? This is particularly relevant for hobs, ovens, washing machines, TVs etc. If you have the operating instructions to hand, put them in a folder so they can be referred to by guests.
  • Where is the consumer unit (fuse box) to re-install power (if applicable) or in case any circuits trip?
  • Where are any fire extinguishers and fire blankets kept?

During the break

  • What’s the WIFI code? Is it on the back of the router?
  • Where do you keep spare batteries, fuses, light bulbs and any other useful items?
  • Where do you keep cleaning materials and bin liners?
  • When are bins collected and where from?
  • How do window locks work and do you expect windows to be locked every time your guests go out?
  • What are your expectations about using chopping boards, dining at the table, removing shoes and muddy boots etc?
  • What are your expectations about replacing anything they use/consume? i.e. if you use the last teabag please buy some more!   

On departure

  • Do you want the fridge cleared and all food items removed?
  • Do you want the bins put out?
  • Do they need to clean and leave it as they found it?
  • What electricals should be switched off and what should be left switched on e.g. fridge and freezer left on?
  • Do they need to turn the water off at the stopcock?
  • Do they need to leave the keys with anyone?

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Holiday home insurance from Towergate

If you own a holiday home and you’d like more information on Towergate’s cover for your property, see our dedicated holiday home insurance page or give us a call on 0345 266 8561 to speak to a specialist adviser.

We can also offer insurance for static caravans.

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About the author

Alison Wild Bcom Hons MAAT MATT Taxation Technician Commercial Tax Pensions Insurance And Marketing Specialist AuthorAlison Wild BCom (Hons), MAAT, ATT, Taxation Technician is a highly respected industry professional who has been working with and advising SMEs in areas including tax, pensions, insurance and marketing for over 25 years. She is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Association of Tax Technicians (AAT) and also has considerable experience as a residential landlord.