The things you need to know if you are renting out your home for the summer

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Renting isn’t always as simple as it seems

Travelling to Europe may have become a lot more expensive in the aftermath of the EU Referendum but – providing you’re a property owner  – there is one big plus. The fall in the value of the British pound post-Brexit has made Britain much, much more appealing to foreign tourists (flight bookings to the UK rose 7.1 per cent in the first month after the referendum, according to travel analyst Forward Keys), all of whom will need somewhere to stay.

Here’s how to promote your pad…

Sell yourself
Popular locations – here’s looking at the likes of London and Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles – have thousands of featured properties so take time to write an attractive profile of your pad. Include as much information as possible – read house rules, amenities, public transport links and the like – in your listing and upload proper pictures. (If you’re using Airbnb, avail yourself of the brand’s free photography service aimed at showcasing your property in its best light). 
If you’re targeting the American market, be sure to mention quintessentially English features – e.g. Georgian architecture and/or a terrace. Want to tap into the Chinese market? Consider including some Mandarin in your listing. And do some research on tv shows and films that were shot in your area – I always point out that parts of the hugely popular Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone were filmed at Harrow School, close to my apartment – to help market your property.

It’s not all about Airbnb
While Airbnb may dominate the headlines, it isn’t your only option. Boost your rental options by listing your abode on Airbnb competitors including Windmu (a Berlin asked company that offers more than 300,000 places around the planet), 9flats, (part of TripAdvisor) and
Own or live in a luxurious home? Look to Onefinestay (an upmarket Airbnb). Alternatively if you’re after an experience rather than cold, hard cash, make like Kate Winslet and Cameron D in The Holiday, try a house swap through a house swapping site such as HomeExchange.

Don’t cancel
Unless you really, really have to, don’t cancel a reservation – cancellations show up on your listings and will deter people from proceeding to make a booking. If you want to earn a super-host badge –  a badge of honour for the best renters – you’ll need to keep your commitments.
Think too about the cancellation policy you offer. ‘Strict’ entitles guests to a 50 percent refund unto a week before arrival, ‘moderate’ means a full refund up to five days before while  ‘flexible’ – the most attractive to potential renters – means guests can cancel up to the day before and still get a full refund.

Ask for feedback
If you’re confident your guest had a positive expensive, ask them to write a favourable review which will help you to get further bookings. Keep in mind however that guests typically only have fortnight in which to post a review, so politely give them a gentle nudge if necessary.

Be the best possible host
Of course to ensure that you receive glowing five star reviews, you’ll need to be the best host you can be. JAT’s top tips? Ensure that guest bedrooms and communal areas (think the bathroom, kitchen etc) are clean before each new tenant turns up. Change the sheets and towels and stock up on the likes of loo roll, washing up liquid et al and consider filling the fridge with staples such as milk and bread. When the guest(s) arrive, greet them with a smile, offer them a cup of tea or coffee (they may have had an long journey) and show them around the property. It’s a good idea to put together a welcome pack telling them a little about the home (including WiFi passwords) and surrounding area.

Do your homework
Don’t be caught out by red tape – there are lot of rules surrounding rental properties which hosts need to be au fait with to avoid falling foul of the law. Case in point? Airbnb hosts in London have only been allowed – as of January 2017 – to rent out an entire home for a maximum of 90 days per year in an attempt to stop landlords turning much needed housing in the capital into unofficial hotels.
What’s more, many people think that because they own a property their  free to rent it out but the reality is different. If you have a mortgage against your property, it pays to check with your mortgage provider as to whether there are any hosting restrictions.
Lastly don’t forget to tell the tax man…depending on the amount you make by renting out a room/ home, some of this may need to be declared to HMRC.

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