Looking for practical health and safety tips for your holiday let?
I know that running a holiday let can be stressful at the best of times, and it’s so easy to get paranoid about whether or not your guests are going to be 100% safe whilst spending time in your property – if you’re anything like me, you always worry about whether you’ve overlooked something!
There’s also a lack of specific legislation in some areas of general health and safety when it comes to holiday lets, although owners have a general duty of care to ensure guests are not put in any danger during their stay.
That’s why I thought I’d come up with a practical checklist that includes everything you need to know about health and safety for your holiday let – so you can have peace of mind!
DISCLAIMER: This is not by any means an exhaustive list and we take no responsibility for any points that may not be covered below.
1. Gas safety
- Annual Gas Safety checks should be carried out and a CP12 certificate covering all the property’s gas appliances issued by a Gas Safe registered heating engineer
- Records kept for a minimum of two years, with a copy displayed in your property for guests to see
- Long-life carbon monoxide detectors fitted with tamper-proof batteries in any space containing a fixed combustion appliance (including log burners and open fires)
- CO detectors tested on a regular basis (once per month recommended)
- Detailed instructions on gas shut-off valves and emergency contact numbers included in guests’ instruction booklet and near the boiler
TIP: Read my blog for more information specifically about gas safety in your holiday let.
2. Electrical safety
- You must ensure your property is electrically safe; this includes all installations that supply electricity to the property, along with fixtures, fittings, lights and portable appliances
- Conduct a 5-yearly electrical safety inspection; this includes an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and a PAT (portable appliance testing) check
- Annual PAT tests should be carried out by a qualified electrician
- Carry out regular visual inspections (changeover days are great for this)
TIP: For the full low-down on electrical safety in your holiday let, take a look at my blog post dedicated to the subject.
3. Furniture and furnishings
- All new domestic furniture purchased after 1st March 1990 should meet standards set out in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (check labels)
- Optional – treat previously untreated fabric with fire-inhibiting sprays (although bear in mind their effectiveness can be rendered ineffective by laundering or spillages)
4. Glass partitions
- If large panes of glass extending to below waist height feature in your property, they should be glazed with safety glass
- Clearly mark the glass with identifying stickers at adult height (eye level, approx. 1.5 metres) and child eye level (approx. 0.8 metres)
- Glass must be fitted securely in balcony door frames and windows
- Balcony door handles must be fitted with door handles on both the inside and outside for ease of use
5. Child safety
(Bunk beds, high chairs and cots)
- Check bunk beds, high chairs and cots for sharp edges and signs of wear or damage
- All children’s furniture should be kept clean and well-maintained
- Cots and high chairs should include locking devices if wheels are present
- Bunk beds should be fitted with ladders suitable for a child’s use, and should be checked regularly for flaws or damage
- When a bed base is more than 800mm above the floor, there must not be a gap in the base itself of more than 75mm
- Adequate barriers should be in place at the top of beds or bunk beds (at least 10cm from the top of a mattress) to prevent a children falling
- High chairs should be free-standing and include a well-maintained 3-point harness at the very minimum
- A warning notice should be included on high chairs saying the harness must be used at all times, and that a child should not be left unattended whilst in the chair
- For clip-on high chairs, age and weight limitations should be clearly marked
- Child’s play areas must be located in a suitable, safe area for children
- When possible, a fence or wall should be placed around the play area, as well as a gate that can be locked at night
- All playground equipment should be well-maintained and kept in a good, serviceable condition
- Playground equipment should be placed in a way to allow free movement
- Play area surfaces should be impact absorbent and suitable for children to play safely on
- The area should be kept clean and free of litter and debris
- Clear signs should be displayed indicating that children must be supervised by an adult at all times
(Windows and balconies)
- Children should never have access to a window opening that is greater than four inches (10cm) regardless of the type of window – fit window restrictors if necessary
- A secure safety gate should be provided for young children when there are stairs involved
7. Fire safety
- All doors in the property must be easy to open from the inside, with no obstructions in the way
- Smoke alarms should be tested every week and noted in a log
- Alarms should be checked and dust removed from the sensors at least twice per year
- Tumble dryers should be cleaned frequently and filters vacuumed to ensure there is no excess of dust or lint build-up that could cause them to malfunction or overheat
- A wall-mounted fire blanket should be provided in your kitchen between the cooker provided and the door (between 1 and 1.5 metres off the floor)
- Fire extinguishers (one every 25m or so) of a reasonable size should be provided and serviced once per year
- Fit fire guards to open fires and log burners
- Fire retardant waste bins should be placed in all living rooms and bedrooms
- Torches and emergency lighting should be placed on each floor of the property for guests to access in an emergency
- Emergency contact numbers should be provided in your guests’ instruction booklet, along with emergency procedures to follow in the event of a fire
- A fire risk assessment of your property must be carried out
8. Garden & outdoor lighting
- Automatic outdoor lighting should be provided for guests when approaching the property at night, so the area leading up to the entrance is illuminated
- Pathways, patios and walkways should be well-maintained and kept clear of litter and debris (and ice/snow in the winter)
- Walls and balustrades next to walkways should be over 1 metre high from the floor up, with any gaps less than 10cm.
- Garden furniture and barbecues should be kept clean and in good condition
9. Swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas
- Clear notices and warning signs should be included for swimming pools, including ‘THIS POOL IS NOT SUPERVISED’ and ‘CHILDREN MUST BE SUPERVISED BY AN ADULT AT ALL TIMES’.
- ‘No diving signs’ must be placed where water is less than 1.5m deep
- Contact details should be displayed nearby in case of emergencies
- When possible, the pool should be locked to prevent accidents when not in use by the owner or guests
- Depth markings should be accurate, clearly visible and easy to read
- Pool chemicals, disinfectant, pump and filtration plants should be securely locked away – with records kept of any chemicals being used in the pool
- Pool showers should be cleaned frequently
- Regular visual checks should be made for any cracks or hazards around the pool area or in the pool itself
10. General health & safety audit
- Look for any other areas that may be considered a risk, such as an unexpected step up or down, or a low ceiling when descending stairs – add friendly warning signs where applicable
- Replace any loose or broken tiles on floors
- Shower heads and taps should be free of any rust or sediment
- Non-slip floor mats should be provided in bathrooms and shower rooms
- Basins, shower trays and toilets should be free of any cracks
TIP: Recently I found you can now buy irons which automatically shut off after being left on a certain amount of time. They cost the same as a normal iron (around £21.99), so I’m planning on ordering one for every single one of my holiday lets!
I hope this checklist has helped set your mind at ease, or inspired you to take another look at your property for any areas you might not have known were a possible risk to your guests. Safety should always come first, as I know I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to one of my guests during their stay!
If you think there’s anything I’ve missed out, or you have any questions about the checklist above, please feel free to leave a comment below – I promise to get back to you ASAP!
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