Wellies & Windbreaks has many years experience managing and marketing self-catering holiday homes. We pride ourselves on working closely with you, the homeowner, to present your property to its best advantage and help you maximise your income potential. We also aim to offer the same quality and dedicated service to our guests, as we believe strongly in the value of building loyalty and repeat bookings. Positive experiences are critical as in this social media age, the reality is that comment really counts. As we operate only in the Witterings and surrounding Manhood Peninsula area south of Chichester, our knowledge of ‘our patch’ and what our guests are looking for is exceptional.
If you already own a property and this is the first time you have thought about holiday letting, or if you are currently letting through a different agency and are considering a change we are here to answer any questions you may have. Equally, if you are thinking about buying a second home and are looking for some good sound advice about holiday lettings, we can guide you every step of the way.
To discuss Wellies and Windbreaks managing your property or to simply ask some questions, email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org
We know you will have lots of questions so we have tried to answer some of those which tend to be at the forefront of homeowner’s minds.
Will paying guests look after our home?
This is probably everyone’s biggest concern. In our experience, you can expect your property to incur normal wear and tear as a result of being occupied, often at capacity, by guests. By the same token a well-presented, clean and cared-for property generally commands the greatest of respect. To ensure peace of mind we require a security deposit for each booking which is refundable subject to no loss or damage following an inspection of departure. We do wish to highlight to homeowners that reasonable wear and tear should be expected. Cutlery, crockery and glassware do go missing occasionally and breakages do happen. Walls will scuff and towels and bedding will wear over time. We expect such small issues to be absorbed by the homeowner and your rental income will offset this. However, if there is material damage to your home or something of value goes missing, a portion of the security deposit will be retained to replace or repair the item.
Can you guarantee only suitable guests will rent my property?
When letting your property there are no guarantees. However, Wellies & Windbreaks take several steps to mitigate this: we send a comprehensive set of booking conditions explaining the Terms & Conditions [hyperlink through to the Ts&Cs] and restrictions on occupancy for all houses to all guests interested in holidaying with us. We require all guests to complete a booking form detailing the names and ages of all members of the party staying in the house. We are also available on the phone to speak to all guests and answer any questions they have, either prior to or during their holiday. We always recommend that clients do not choose to let their properties to stag parties or ‘end of exam’ school leavers.
Will letting my property be financially worthwhile?
From our experience there is always a demand for quality self-catering holiday homes in the Witterings area. There are a variety of tax benefits available for offering your second home as a Furnished Holiday Let and it is worthwhile consulting your accountant on this. Together with the rental income, this can significantly help with the general running costs of your house and towards achieving a healthy return on your investment.
Wellies & Windbreaks is happy to offer an assessment of the potential rental income achievable from your property. Just give us a call and we’ll arrange a visit. There is of course no obligation or cost for this service.
How much does it cost for Wellies & Windbreaks to manage the letting of my property?
We charge a one off set up fee to new clients of £250 to cover all marketing costs. This includes developing all property listing content for both our site and which ever other public listings website we together, choose to list your home on. There are a number of options available to you including Beach Lets, Trip Advisor, Holiday Lettings, Home Away, Owners Direct and airbnb. There is no obligation to list on any external sites and you can choose to just list on the Wellies & Windbreaks site. It depends of the level of exposure you want and what level of bookings you hope to achieve. Wellies & Windbreaks will discuss all the options with you and offer our professional advice.
Wellies & Windbreaks charge a commission of 18% + VAT of the total rental income for each period your property is let by us.
Do I have to organise my own cleaners, laundry, gardeners etc?
Wellies & Windbreaks can recommend the trusted cleaners who we work with locally and are also happy to work with your existing cleaner or housekeeper.
We will liaise directly with your chosen cleaner / cleaning agency, sending them a weekly schedule detailing upcoming arrivals & departures and specific housekeeping instructions where relevant.
We can also recommend gardeners and maintenance contractors. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the house is well maintained and continually presented to the high standard which its rental rate commands and which guests expect. This includes gardening, window cleaning and general property maintenance.
What do I have to do to my holiday home to get it rental ready?
Wellies & Windbreaks can offer advice on how to get your home rental ready. We have a very detailed “Homeowners Guide which we share with all new clients. This tells you all you need to know about preparing your home for paying guests and has a room-by-room guide to what you need to provide.
What Information do I have to provide for guests?
We ask all our owners to provide house notes for guests. This will include information on how to work the TV, washing machine, heating system and any house-specific information that guests will need.
Wellies & Windbreaks can advise you on the content if required and can also send you information about the local area to include in your house notes. Wellies & Windbreaks will provide a branded folder for you to put all of the information into.
You are also required to provide a fire safety risk assessment with clear and detailed information as to how guests can escape the property in the event of a fire. Wellies & Windbreaks will help you to create a “Safety & Security” document for your house and this must be available for guests to read in the folder. You are also required to have a copy of your gas safety certificate in the folder for guests to see. This must be updated annually by law. Visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/firesafety and download the free guides.
When and how do I get paid?
Each month you will receive an Owner Statement of Account, showing income generated from rentals, less costs, for the previous calendar month. These costs will include Wellies & Windbreaks’ 18% + VAT commission and any other costs incurred on your behalf for example the cleaners, tradespeople etc. Payment will be made by bank transfer into your nominated account.
Wellies & Windbreaks remit your income less our commission at the month end during which the guests have stayed.
Are there any restrictions on my personal use of the property?
Absolutely not – it is your home and you are free to use it as and when you wish. Obviously, you need to ensure there are no existing bookings in place for your dates and it is important to let us know in advance to ensure that we do not book it out to guests at the time you want to stay in it. We will not be able to cancel an existing guest booking once it is in place.
Do I need special home insurance?
Yes. This is critical and it is important that you have adequate cover as you could be held liable for significant damages if a guest has an accident on your property and sues you. Whilst guests do sign a terms and conditions document when they book, which stipulates that they use the facilities at their own risk, this may still be challenged if a case is taken to court. In many cases your existing home insurer will cover holiday letting (probably for a small additional premium). You will need to ensure that your policy covers you for sufficient Public Liability and the standard is £5million with a minimum of £2million. Should your current insurer not cover for holiday lets there are several specialist insurers who provide holiday-let insurance. It is also important to inform your mortgage company that you intend to let your home out to paying guests. Wellies & Windbreaks cannot let your home out for you without confirmation on the above from your insurance company and mortgage broker.
How will Wellies & Windbreaks attract bookings?
Every Wellies & Windbreaks client is listed on our own website and many are also listed on one of the other property rental websites. There are a number of options available to you including Beach Lets, Trip Advisor, Holiday Lettings, Home Away, Owners Direct and airbnb and Wellies & Windbreaks will manage all of these listings for you. There is no obligation to list on any external sites and you can choose to just list on the Wellies & Windbreaks site. It depends of the level of exposure you want and what level of bookings you hope to achieve. Wellies & Windbreaks will discuss all the options with you and offer our professional advice.
In addition to website marketing, we have a well-developed social media marketing strategy including Facebook and Instagram marketing and a regular email newsletter to our established database of previous guests and enquirers. We are constantly developing our marketing strategy in order to keep ahead of the competition and secure valuable bookings for our clients.
A one off set up fee of £250 is charged when you agree to let us manage your property, which covers the cost of developing your property listing.
What obligations do I as Owner have to undertake prior to letting?
There are certain statutory and other requirements that you as the property owner are responsible for prior to letting your holiday home:
INSURANCE: Your existing home insurer will probably cover holiday letting for a small additional premium. It is worth calling them first. You will need to ensure that your policy covers you for sufficient Public Liability (a minimum cover of £2,000,000 is recommended). Should your current insurer not cover for holiday lets there are several specialist insurers who provide holiday-let insurance.
FURNITURE REGULATION: All beds and upholstery must comply with the Furniture Fire Safety Regulations 1988 (all upholstered furniture purchased after 1st March 1990 should meet these requirements). The only exception to this regulation is furniture made and/or re-upholstered before 1950.
GAS: The Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations came into force in 1994 and state that an annual safety check must be carried out by a suitably registered engineer. All appliances must conform to the current legislation and be maintained safely. For further details please contact your local Health & Safety Executive.
ELECTRICAL REGULATIONS: All owners have a duty of care to ensure electrical systems and appliances are well maintained at all times and must (at least) carry out a visual inspection each year to check for general ‘wear and tear’ and other potential defects.
It is recommended that a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) be undertaken by a suitably qualified engineer on a regular basis. Any new installations or alterations must be undertaken by a qualified electrician and formally approved by a member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation.
FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT: As property owner you must ensure that your property has a clear means of escape, warning systems installed and appropriate fire fighting equipment available at all times. Statutory records must be kept to verify annual equipment tests and ensure fire certifications are always up to date.
To enable this process to be completed effectively it is recommended that an independent contractor should undertake a risk assessment at your property, supply and install any required fire fighting equipment, maintain a log book, issue a fire safety certificate and provide a leaflet of instructions for your tenants on what to do in the event of a fire. The contractor will also carry out an annual inspection of your property to ensure that you remain compliant and will implement any changes should the laws governing fire regulations alter.
However you can do this yourself. Visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/firesafety and download the free guides. Wellies & Windbreaks can help you to create a “Safety & Security” document for your house and this must be available for guests to read in the folder.
Your property will require the following equipment:
SMOKE DETECTION SYSTEM
A 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm to BS standard is recommended and a minimum of two smoke detectors will be required (at least one on each floor). NEST Protect is also a valid option.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR
Properties with gas or oil supply only.
2KG DRY POWDER EXTINGUISHER
For small kitchen fires.
WATER FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Only be required for properties with an open fire or properties that have a thatched roof.