Short term Guest…? A Word of Advice to Property Owners!

John Sherwood, Pickering Office
 07 Aug 2019

As warm summer days are hopefully upon us, one may be tempted to have a few days away taking advantage of the numerous offers of rooms available in private homes or even taking over a whole property. However, a word of caution here as all is not quite as it might seem for the property owner.

Whilst it may be a good source of extra income if one has a spare room or property to let out, it can however be fraught with problems for the property owner. Consider;-

  1. We have all read in the press of damage done to a property after wild parties leaving the owners with a massive cleaning and repair bill with little recourse against the guests who are no longer contactable. Do try to check out your guests carefully beforehand.
  2. If your home is leasehold then it is important that you check your lease or tenancy agreement to ascertain that you can let a room for however short a period, or you might be in breach of your lease or tenancy agreement and give your landlord the right to take legal action against you. This could result in the tenancy being terminated.
  3. Your lease or tenancy agreement will usually state that the property is to be used as a private residence only thus preventing you from letting your property or sharing it for a short period with anyone else. Letting a room for however short a period requires you to check carefully that you will not be in breach of your lease or tenancy agreement.
  4. What about your Buildings and Contents Insurance? Again, your contract is personal between yourself and your Insurer and you may be in breach of the Terms and Conditions of your policy in allowing an unknown third party to occupy your home. If damage is caused the Insurer may well refuse your claim and the policy may be invalidated.
  5. Safety issues can also be a problem. Are all the electrical goods PAT tested and safe for the use of your guests? Is the building structure furniture and fittings safe for the guests and what are the fire safety procedures and certainly in a flat where is the Fire Escape? Are there Instructions as to what to do in the event of a fire?
  6. If your guest is injured on your property then the visitor may pursue a personal injury claim against you particularly if he or she can show that you owed them a duty of care to provide a safe and properly maintained property for their visit. This could be costly and of course your Insurers will not necessarily accept a claim for third party and/or public liability Insurance.

There are many pitfalls so do take care and prepare carefully before letting guests rent a room or your property.