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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where will I put my clothes or valuables that I wish to protect?
There are a likely to be a number of storage options available within your own home, cellar loft etc. the internet or a local self storage facility can provide boxes within which you can store clothes from wardrobes and drawers so your guests can use them. You could also utilise the self storage facility for the storage itself.
There are also a number of companies which will offer a packing, collect and return service with insurance on your possessions to save the hassle of doing it yourself. Once you have ascertained what you will need for your own holiday call in the professionals and the job will be efficiently outsourced.
How do I know my property will be looked after?
The best way to ensure your property is looked after is to try and develop a friendly rapport with your guests from the outset. The more affable and accommodating you appear the more likely anyone renting your property will take the view they are arranging accommodation from someone they know and therefore look after the property as if they were dealing with friends rather than the likes of a hotel.
Upon their arrival leave a welcome gift - bottle of wine a beer or two and a few essentials so the guests do not have to rush out to the shops, fill in and provide an overview of where to buy stuff and local attractions – if you assist the guests into a really easy and happy start to their holiday then this will hopefully pay off with them caring for your property like it is a special and treasured time in the lives.
Just in case of any accidental damages your rental contract will have a provision for a damage deposit in addition to the rental amount, this should be a reasonable figure but also enough to give some peace of mind in case of misfortune.
What about Tax, Insurance and Safety Regulations?
Even if you rent your home for a month or less, you need to declare the earnings to HM Revenue & Customs - however, you can reduce the tax liability on the income received by claiming expenses against the rental income. There is also a “Rent a Room scheme” which allows you to receive up to £4,250 a year tax-free in rental income if you rent out a furnished room in a residential property. More information on this is available at the direct.gov.uk website. We would advise you consult an independent financial advisor for clarification if you have any concerns.
Some borough Council’s have publicised they want you to obtain planning permission if you would like to rent your property on a “Short Let” basis and it is therefore worth checking the position of your individual council – the “City of Westminster” have a policy of not allowing his type of let without gaining relevant permission and for repeat offenders there can be hefty fines for those in breach of these regulations - but do check as there are specific conditions and parameters within which the councils must operate. See an interesting blog by an expert property Lawyer on the subject here.
If you have a mortgage on your property, your mortgage conditions may require seeking permission from you lender before letting your property, again check with your lender.
You should arrange separate insurance apart from your existing home and contents cover as there may be exception within these policies that make them invalid. Also you should arrange have public liability insurance cover in case of any accidents. You can arrange a quotation for cover for the property by visiting “Specialist Property Insurance Brokers Ltd” www.spib.co.uk
A gas safety certificate is also a legal requirement for any rental including a short term holiday let however these are relatively inexpensive, a local engineer can be found on the Gas Safe Register website. Useful information on electrical and fire safety can be found here.
Landlords are required to carry out a risk assessment on their premises, ensure that fire safety measures are in place for those using the property and make sure that these safety measures are kept under review for further details click here.
How will my guests get in?
You could either offer a personal meet and greet service yourselves before departing on your own break, or have a personal concierge service do this for you - click here for details.
Ask a friend or neighbour to let your guests in, point out your welcome pack and explain a few details before wishing them a comfortable stay.
You could send your guests keys by secure methods – courier / FedEx etc in a suitably advanced timescale to ensure they arrive on time.
Coordinate the transfer arrangements with your guests and have your chosen chauffeur company provide a welcome letter containing the keys upon arrival at the airport or train station - click here for a chauffeur company happy to provide such a service.
Arrange with a local estate agency to meet the guests for you - they may charge you a fee for the service and or to manage any issues that may transpire during the rental.
In any event it would be worthwhile having a back up set of keys with someone locally in case of problems or an emergency, there are key holder companies providing this service also.
What about a rental contract?
Organising a formal contract between yourself and your guests is imperative – we would advise consulting a solicitor to assist in drafting a relevant document.
Solex Legal Services can offer assistance with a rental contract and also offer extra peace of mind by offering an identity checking service of people from over 135 countries worldwide - click here for details.
If you are considering drafting your own, be sure to be as thorough as possible and then ask a legal professional to check it for you also... some of the details you should include would be:
Advise guests to have their own travel insurance and that you are not liable for any injury or damage to their belongings during the stay.
Clarify any “house rules” – no smoking, shoes off on the carpet, etc and anything the guests should know about rubbish days, parking or information relevant if you have a property with communal areas.
Include an “Act of God” clause to remind guests that you cannot be held responsible for natural disasters of other events outside your control.
Remember to have a solicitor or legal professional check and approve any document you draft.
Whether you want to rent a flat/apartment or rent a house for during the 2012 Olympic Games or for any other major sporting event, we hope our website goes a little way to making finding this accommodation easier. Rather than us acting as an agent, all enquiries will be submitted directly to the owner or representative of the property – please note - www.accommodationforthegames.com does not get involved in any aspect of the rental. Please use the enquiry forms at the bottom of each listing to submit your enquiry.
Remember that rather than a commercial entity you are likely to be dealing with a homeowner who is vacating their property and making it available for theses special events, if you offer a reasonable amount of detail as to who you are and subsequently develop a rapport with the owner then your trip will hopefully start with a spirit of cooperation and the holiday can feel more like renting from friends rather than just booking a place to stay.
What can I reasonably expect from a private accommodation rental?
It is reasonable to assume your rental should be as advertised clean, tidy and have storage provisions for clothes etc so you do not feel you are living out of your suitcase. Your typical services such as gas, electricity water etc should all be included in the price agreed and the only extra thing that may be paid for will be any phone calls made. Depending on arrangement this could for example be deducted from the damages deposit taken. Our online guides give an overview of many areas however also do your own investigation, use the likes of Google Street View to check out the postcode where the property is listed – the internet is a wonderful tool – use it to your advantage.
How do I pay for the rental?
Individual terms will be posted within each advertisement but generally to book, you should send the owner a deposit of 50% which would be non refundable should you cancel, to secure the holiday rental, with the balance due 60 days before arrival. If arriving within 60 days the full payment would be required up front.
How do I protect myself from fraud?
Some of the properties listed will be via private individuals and others by either local Estate agents or other business operators – in these latter cases you have the backup of dealing with an organisation you can easily track down and verify via the internet.
Research the property/accommodation you are considering booking using internet searches and online maps to verify that the address is correct... Use Google Street View and perhaps request a number of photos of the property from the owner or agent in addition to those that are posted online. This can help ensure they have ease of access to the property, in the case of your ability to identify the property on Google Street View - ask for a photo with the door open and of any landmark details you can see locally.
If you are using an agent, research them online and use their published number, also ask someone you may know locally to visit the property and meet the owner.
For private individuals the UK Land registry department offers an online service which provides information on who owns a property in the United Kingdom.
The cost of this information is £4. Simply check these details and arrange for the owner to provide proof during your discussions such as a photo ID and utility bill showing their address. If you are not satisfied you are dealing with the owner or a legitimate representative of the owner then reconsider proceeding with the rental.
A company based in the UK - Solex Legal Services are offering a service writing rental contracts – part of their obligation is to check the identity of their clients and that they own the property concerned – simply suggest to the people you are renting from, you are keen to have a formal agreement and by using this company you will have peace of mind ... click here for details.
What happens when I arrive?
Depending on what you have arranged with the owner, they or a representative may greet you and give a brief rundown on the property and how things operate. Hopefully a welcome pack will give you some more detail on the location and a few of the services and amenities on offer and a helping hand to help you enjoy your stay.
In case you would like extra assistance during your stay “Buy-Time” a personal concierge company can offer you a wide range of services to make your trip to the Games that more special or indeed a great deal easier – click here for details.
If you are travelling as a family with small children, an innovative enterprise “The Baby Loft” can hire you all types of baby equipment to save you from lugging these items with you – click here for details.