Peace of mind when renting out your home to holidaymakers

aeroplane wingTechnology has changed the way we find and book our holidays and business travel. Of course there are still travel agents on the high street, but increasing numbers of people are choosing to organise their travel themselves. Booking directly through tour operators and flight companies and using home exchange sites or rental sites like Airbnb can be a way to find interesting and alternative places to stay. So, with more people looking for that ‘home from home’ experience when travelling, more people are finding they can earn a little extra income by renting out their home or a room in their home to holiday makers or people travelling for business.

If you are thinking about doing this yourself, it won’t be a decision you’re likely to take quickly. The reality is that you’ll probably have questions and concerns; after all it’s not quite the same as having family come to stay! Safety and security are the 2 things that normally cause worry. What do I do with my personal belongings? What if I don’t want someone going into certain cupboards? How do I know the people will look after my room or home? All very valid questions and most good companies that operate these schemes have information available to answer those concerns. But if you think about it, your visitors are probably having the same thoughts. After all, they don’t have the weight of a big hotel chain or travel company guaranteeing their health and safety or the standard and quality of accommodation either.

If exchanging homes there is that added factor of you being in their home when they are in yours – it tends to bring a little more security. But if renting out your home or rooms in your home, there are things you should do to ensure your peace of mind and that of your guests.

Smoke alarms
Households should really have smoke alarms installed anyway but carbon monoxide detectors are also becoming increasingly common. If you want to ensure the safety of your home and that of your guests ensure you have both and that they’re working. Test them regularly.

Emergency contacts
Even if you are only renting out a room in your home, it’s likely that you won’t be there all the time. Make sure that you have a list of emergency numbers for people to use. These should include not just 999 for the emergency services, but also things like gas, electricity, water and even just a neighbour to help if your guests are unsure.

How things work
Our electrical and gas appliances can be very different to similar appliances overseas. Don’t leave things to chance, keep the operating manuals or a clear set of instructions somewhere your guests can easily find them.

Personal belongings
This is one of the key areas where people become uncomfortable. If you have personal items or items of value that you worry about you can do 1 of 3 things

  1. Lock them in a safe or cupboard
  2. Lock up a room
  3. Remove them altogether

1. Use a safe or cupboard
Ideal for important paperwork or smaller items of value. You just might feel more at ease if your passports, insurance papers, favourite jewellery etc. are locked away when you’re not at home.

2. Have a locked room
Great if you are leaving your home altogether and want to keep a number of things secure or larger items such as vases, ornaments or pictures. Even if you have to get a locksmith in to put a lock on a door, the cost will soon be recovered from the rental fees. However, consider that you will be reducing the size of the space available to rent by a room.

3. Remove them altogether
If you want to guarantee the safety of your items and maintain the maximum space available to rent in your home then removing any private or precious items is the only way to do it. You may have friends or family that can take your items for a while or you may prefer the total security of a small self storage locker or unit for a short period of time. With a self storage locker you know that your goods are protected by robust security systems and that no-one but you has access. Whether storing with friends and family or in self storage, remember to pack fragile items carefully. Don’t go to the trouble of removing them for safety and security only to damage them by packing them poorly.

Space Centre Self Storage has facilities in Stroud, Gloucester and Bristol with units ranging from 10 sq ft up to 200 sq ft in size. We do not tie people in to long contracts and provide free insurance up to the value of £3000. If you need self storage, get in touch.

Do you rent out your home to holiday makers or have short term guests to stay? Have you got any good advice for those considering it for the first time?

Image credit: Ross Parmly