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Safety first - a checklist for holiday home health and safety

Stef Scott

As a holiday let owner, it's important to ensure all guests are not put in any danger during their stay in your properties.

To help make sure your property meets the required standards, here is a handy checklist of the main areas you need to think about from a health and safety perspective.

This is not an exhaustive list and is only intended as a guide. TravelNest takes no responsibility for any omissions.

Gas safety

Under current regulations, all gas appliances should undergo annual safety checks by a registered Gas Safe engineer. You should keep records of these checks for at least two years and supply or display a copy of your up-to-date gas safety certificate for your guests to see.

On top of this, any room containing a gas appliance should also have a carbon monoxide detector fitted. These should be tamper-proof to prevent them from being disabled or switched off. Detectors should be checked either at least once a month, but ideally between changeovers to ensure they are functioning properly.

Also, make sure that you supply detailed instructions about the location of gas shut-off valves in the property. Put together a list of emergency contact numbers in your guests’ information pack or on a noticeboard in the property.

Electrical safety

You must ensure that all electrical supplies, fixtures, fittings, and appliances are safe. This should involve a minimum of:

  • A visual check of all appliances at every change over
  • Annual PAT (portable appliance testing) testing on all electrical fixtures and fittings
  • A full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out every five years

Again, documentation should be kept somewhere where guests can clearly see it.

Fire safety

Fire is one of the biggest risks in any property. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005, holiday properties are required to have a fire risk assessment completed, which identifies potential risks and takes steps precautionary to minimise the risk of fire.

Smoke alarms should be installed in every room and checked at every changeover to ensure they are functioning properly. You should also keep a full visible log of when they have been checked and shown to be in working order. Alarms should also be fully cleaned at least twice a year to prevent the sensors from clogging up with dust.

Other key fire safety necessities include:

  • A wall-mounted fire blanket in the kitchen, which should be positioned between the cooker and the door.
  • A fire extinguisher which should be serviced annually.
  • All doors should open from the inside and be free from obstructions.
  • Any open fires or log burners should have fireguards fitted.
  • Tumble dryers should be cleaned frequently and filters vacuumed to ensure there is no excess build up of dust that could cause them to overheat.
  • Torches and emergency lighting should be placed on each floor.
  • Emergency contact numbers should be provided in your information booklet or welcome guide, along with emergency procedures in the event of a fire.

Child safety

If you are planning to make your property available to families with children, then thinking about child safety in your property is a must. All equipment you provide needs to be child safe, this will include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Ensure all children’s furniture is clean and well maintained. There should be no sharp edges or signs of wear/damage.
  • Bunk beds must have a suitable ladder, as well as guardrails to prevent a child from falling out. They should also be checked regularly for damage.
  • Cots and high chairs with wheels must have working locking devices. High chairs should be free-standing and include a safety harness as well as a label clearly stating that the harness must be used at all times and that the child must not be left unattended.
  • If the property has stairs then stair gates should be fitted at the top and bottom.

Additionally, if you have an outside area or playpark for children, you need to ensure that all playground equipment is well maintained and that there is a sign stating that children should not be left unattended when using it. If possible, this area should also be surrounded by a fence or wall with a lockable gate.

Other important areas to consider

  • Furniture and furnishings – All new furniture bought after 1 March 1990 should meet standards set out in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 – you can see the full regulations here.
  • Glass partitions – If your property has large panes of glass extending below waist height feature, these should be safety glass.
  • Outdoor lighting – Automatic outdoor lighting should be provided so the area leading up to the entrance is well lit.
  • Clear signage to highlight any unexpected steps or low ceilings.
  • Replace any loose or broken tiles on floors.
  • Non-slip floor mats should be provided in bathrooms and shower rooms.
  • If you have a swimming pool, hot tub or sauna you will also need to take special account of these, clearly displaying signs advising on safe usage.

Find out more

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