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Holiday Let Rules and Regulations - The Legal Requirements

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Owning a holiday let can be very advantageous. Not only does it provide enjoyable holidays for your family and friends, but it can also provide an additional income.

So what are the advantages of becoming a Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) and what does it mean when it comes to tax?

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Holiday Let Rules and Regulations

As a holiday let property owner, it is essential that you are up to speed with the latest holiday let legal requirements.

Health & safety

Some general holiday let health and safety actions to consider as an owner include:

  • Child proofing your property

  • Identifying and eliminating trip/slip hazards

  • Secure handrails on staircases

  • Hazard warnings where relevant e.g. low ceilings

  • List of emergency contacts

 To help you with a risk assessment and plan of action for your property, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has resources for businesses.

Fire safety

If you provide holiday accommodation in England or Wales for paying guests, it’s a legal requirement to carry out a fire risk assessment. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, you are responsible for taking measures to protect those staying in your property from the risk of fire.

If you supply any equipment such as fire extinguishers or fire blankets, ensure this equipment is checked regularly and there are clear instructions on how to use these items for your guests.

Fire safe furnishings

If you provide self-catered accommodation containing upholstered furniture, you must abide by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

Smoke alarms

The type of automatic detection and fire warning system that you will need to install depends on the size of your property. If you are unsure about which system your property needs, your risk assessment should held identify this.

Electric and gas safety rules in holiday lets

Electric safety

Faulty electrics can lead to fires, injuries and even more serious consequences, so it’s your duty of care to make sure that your property is a safe environment for guests.

You should perform regular visual checks of electrical items to make sure that they aren’t deteriorating due to wear and tear, and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) at a minimum of every five years.

Gas safety

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues should be maintained and are in a safe condition. Annual gas safety check on each appliance by a Gas Safe registered engineer should be carried out and a Gas Safety certificate (also known as a CP12 certificate) issued.

It is also best practice to install a carbon monoxide detector in every room where gas or oil is burnt and in rooms where there is a wood burner or open fire.

Swimming pool and hot tub rules

As with other potential hazards in your holiday let, you should undertake a thorough risk assessment of your swimming pool to ensure that your negligence isn’t the cause of an accident.

If your property has a hot tub, you will also need to undertake a risk assessment, and make sure you understand how to operate and maintain your hot tub safely for guests.

TV, DVD and music licences in holiday lets

If you have a TV in your accommodation and guests can watch or stream live TV on it, you’ll need a TV licence. For holiday lets, you’ll need a special type called a Hotel and Mobile Units Television Licence (hotel licence). Currently, a single TV licence costing £157.50 will cover up to 15 accommodation units on a single site – so if you have holiday cottages in different locations, you’ll need a separate licence for each location.

 You will also need a license if you provide a DVD film library for your guests, as providing films to paying guests without a licence is an infringement of copyright law (the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988).

 Depending on the size and type of your holiday let, you may also need a copyright licence to play music on a device, as the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states “any use of copyrighted music in public is possible only with the permission of the person who holds the copyright to the music being played”.

 However, you probably won’t need a licence for music if you only own one holiday let with three bedrooms or less. You operate only one self-catering unit and that unit has three guest bedrooms or less.

What insurance do I need for letting a holiday property?

It is advisable to have suitable and adequate insurance in place, in your name, that covers your property and the guests that occupy it when (i) you’re holiday letting it and (ii) at all other times. Home insurance that isn’t designed for holiday letting or that doesn’t allow you to holiday let won’t suffice.

Holiday let insurance may include buildings and contents insurance. Another important element of it is Public Liability Insurance where the Sykes Family asks its property owners to have a minimum level of cover of £2m per event/claim.

If you’re looking for holiday let insurance, let us introduce you 2 companies who are trusted partners of Sykes who may be able to help, Pikl and Gallagher.

For Holiday Let Insurance from Pikl, please go to Pikl

Sykes Cottages Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Pikl Insurance Service Limited Registered Number 10449346 who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority firm number 773457. Registered Office: Suite B, 2nd Floor, The Atrium, St Georges Street, Norwich, England, NR3 1AB.

 For Holiday Let Insurance from Gallagher, please call 01625 855746

Sykes Cottages Ltd is an introducer appointed representative of Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Office: Spectrum Building 7th Floor 55 Blysthwood Street, Glasgow G2 7AT. Registered in Scotland. Company Number: SC108909.


If you provide accommodation, the Equality Act 2010 applies to you. You must ensure that you treat disabled guests as you would other guests and make reasonable adjustments to your property.

Holiday let council tax and business rates

While you will pay council tax for your home, if your holiday property in England is available to let for short periods totalling 140 days or more in a year (20 weeks), it will be classed as a self-catering property and you’ll have to pay business rates rather than council tax. Rules are different for properties in Wales and Scotland so check with your local authority.

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