Holliday letting

 GUIDE FOR HOLIDAY LETTING AT CITADEL QUAY

Introduction

The growth in short term holidays lets through specialised leisure letting agents like ‘Airbnb’ has had a mixed reception and it appears to this committee that while the majority of our owners administer their lets responsibly some guidance in this area might be helpful. It is hoped this draft guide will encourage ‘best practice’. It does not claim to be comprehensive or authoritative, has no legal standing and it is the sole responsibility of each owner to ensure they are working within the rules. Owner’s thoughts are welcome.

1. Meet your legal and other obligations

a) Deed of Conditions: Owners hosting short term holiday letting should obtain legal advice in respect of the obligations contained in the Citadel Quay Deed of Conditions. Should the lets themselves or any actions related to the lets be prohibited by the Deed owners could leave themselves open to legal action. A copy of your Deed of Conditions is available on your owner’s website:  Deed of Conditions

b) Be aware of all regulations: There are a number of important laws, regulations and rules that apply to landlords. If you’re considering letting, you need to be aware of all your responsibilities from the outset. These cover things such as gas and electrical safety, carbon monoxide detectors, fire and smoke alarms and much more.

c) Registering as a landlord: Information about the need to register as a landlord can be found in the government website: https://www.mygov.scot/renting-your-property-out/registration/

e) Buildings and Public Liability insurance: Owners have a duty to check all insurances relating to their property to ensure they fully cover damage, loss or injury resulting from the letting. Any change of use or circumstances must be reported to the insurers and to the factors. The ‘free insurance’ offered by holiday companies is restricted and should tenants cause damage to common areas within buildings, contravene health and safety legislation, or commit a nuisance you could leave yourself open to a claim or expense not covered by your insurance. It is believed our common building insurance gives the insurer the right to reclaim insurance payouts from owners in breach of their policy conditions.

d) Mortgage lender’s permission: Changing the use of your property might have mortgage implications and owners are strongly advised to check with their mortgage lender particularly if you have a ‘buy to let’ mortgage.

f) Tax implications: You should consider consulting the tax authorities or your tax advisor to ensure you are complying with the tax law.

g) Fire safety: Owners should ensure that their properties comply with the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 as it relates to gas certificates, smoke alarms, fire blankets, fire extinguishers, instructions for the use of the boiler, providing an emergency fire action plan, and other fire related issues.

h) Planning consent: Holiday letting might require planning consent for a "material change of use” ; from residential use to commercial short term leisure letting. You are advised you to check with your local council.
 
I) Building security- Key boxes: All owners should ensure that they have the necessary permission before taking any actions which involve additions to, enlargements of or structural alterations to the buildings. Unless written permission is obtained from the factor key boxes fixed to any walls or common areas are liable to be removed. Key boxes are a clear danger to security and owners are encouraged to have keys collected at some central point away from the estate where some control is exercised.


 2. Meet the best practices for holiday letting 

All owners renting out their flats have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that their tenants do not disturb the lives of residents, cause damage to property or otherwise reduce the quality of life. As some landlords already do, tenants should be personally vetted and a degree of supervision exercised while they are on the estate. The Deed of Conditions makes it clear that no owner should take any action which, ‘may be or tend to become an annoyance, nuisance, damage or inconvenience to the prejudice of any of the proprietors or occupiers of the development.’

a) Meet and greet and vetting: In some areas a ‘meet and greet’ service is offered where guests are welcomed by a host, given keys, instructions about the secured entrance, boiler use, lift use and discuss several do and don’ts. Should damage and nuisance result from unsupervised letting you leave yourself open to legal and other action.

b) Avoid: Experience shows it is advisable not to book hen/stag nights or unsupervised lets by young people.

c) Pets: In the Deed only one pet is allowed to reside per flat under the condition that this pet is well behaved, on the lead in common areas and does not cause a nuisance to other residents.

dNoise and disturbance: Undue noise, music, TV etc results in complaints and carpeted wooden floors do reduce noise. For their own and other’s safety children should be supervised while on the estate.

e) Fire prevention: Fire safety is paramount and tenants must be briefed on fire safety and escape procedures. Failure to do so puts them and other residents at risk.

f) Hygiene: Tenants should be advised on the proper use of the refuse bins and the separate collections of recyclable and non recyclable items.

g) Parking: Tenants should only park in the owner’s designated parking bay or use the many public spaces available outside the estate.

h) Lifts: Elderly and disabled residents in our estate depend on the lifts. To avoid breakdowns and costly repairs we advise instructing tenants about the proper use of the lift. Repair to lifts being jammed open and overloaded is proving costly for owners.

i) Advice list: Good practice dictates that all tenants be supplied with an information leaflet incorporating essential information related to their stay on the estate.

Conclusion

Newton Property and the Owner’s Committee support responsible letting but also have a duty to ensure the safety and quality of life of residents is not compromised and that unnecessary damage is not caused to common property. This draft ‘best practice guide’ does not claim to be comprehensive or authoritative, has no legal standing and it is the sole responsibility of each owner to ensure they are working within the rules. Feedback on this guide is welcome at citadelresidents@talktalk.net

Citadel Quay Owner’s Association: August 2018