Renting your home on Airbnb

Like many areas of the UK, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of bed spaces available to our visitors.  More and more people are now welcoming paying guests into their home and we are certainly seeing an increase in visitor numbers throughout the whole year.

As a Tourist Board, we must adapt to these trends and acknowledge that increased bed-spaces are making a positive impact to the town we are all so proud of, and to the wider community.  We must also offer support to those who may not be aware that even if they rent out a spare room, they are bound by the same rules and regulations followed by professional accommodation businesses.

Bude has led the way in so many areas, the long list of success stories and achievements is a direct result of the numerous and hard working community groups and local businesses who are passionate about the town and its environment.

We want to ensure that Bude stays at the forefront of tackling issues at a local level and becomes the first place in the UK where most of the accommodation listed on the various booking sites are registered and declared to be safe and legal.

We are here to give FREE information (unfortunately we can’t describe this information as help or advice) to all accommodation owners, regardless of how or where they sell their accommodation.  

We hope that the new hosts will ensure they operate in a ‘safe and legal’ way – we’re here to offer FREE information at any time.  Alternatively, we are inviting them to participate in a low-cost (£40), Standard Cornish Quality inspection.  This will allow them to display a logo which will confirm that a serious effort has been made to ensure their guests safety and that their accommodation is operated legally.

The Bude Tourist Information Centre is open 360 days of the year.  Please do call in and have a chat if you want any further information, we are open form 10am every day.

You do not need to be a member of Bude Area Tourist Board  to take advantage of this free information service or to become part of the CQ scheme.  We simply want to engage with all hosts and ensure that Bude’s holiday accommodation is safe and legal.

Click on each section to view…

  • Residential insurance will almost certainly not offer cover once you start to accept paying guests.
  • If your property has a mortgage, you may be breaking the rules of your agreement.
  • Accidents happen and these days its very easy for a guest to claim compensation.  To be part of the Cornish Quality scheme, you must have Public Liability Insurance to protect yourself.

Speak to your mortgage and insurance company.  Tell them you will be accepting paying guests so they can alter your agreement.  You may find there is no extra cost, there may be a small fee to update the agreement or you may find that to you need to approach a different lender or insurance company.

Providing alcohol

  • If you sell or provide alcoholic drinks you will need a licence
  • There are two types of licence: premises licences and personal licences.

You need a licence even if you provide ‘free’ alcohol.  Leaving a free bottle of wine for your guests is an incentive to purchase and/or is included in your pricing structure. You’re charging a fee to stay in your accommodation, so your guest is paying a ‘consideration’ for the bottle of wine.

TV and copyright licences

  • If a TV is available to your guests, you need a ‘Hotel and Mobile Units Television Licence’.
  • If you play copyrighted music or have TV with sound in public areas, you may need a PPL PRS licence.
  • If you provide DVD’s you need a DVD Concierge licence.
  • If you provide an in-room entertainment system you will need a Hotel Vision licence.
  • Guests are not covered by their personal licence when staying in your accommodation.

Regardless of the type of accommodation you offer, if you provide a TV or a device which can show TV programmes, you will need to apply for a ‘Hotel and Mobile Units Television Licence’.  Don’t be misled by the name, it is applicable to all accommodation types and not just hotels.

Annual Costs

  • £150.50 for 1 to 15 units and an additional £150.50 for every extra five units thereafter.

*‘on the same site’ or ‘within the same premises’

Copyright licences for music

You probably need a copyright licence if you play copyrighted music (eg listen to the radio or play a CD) through a radio, TV, CD or DVD player (or any other device) ‘in public’ on your premises (even if you play the radio in your breakfast room).

You will need a licence, unless you meet the following criteria…

  • Music cannot be played in your guest’s bedrooms, through a TV, radio or other device.
  • You operate and own a single B&B or guesthouse that is your domestic residence, that has three guest bedrooms or less and your facilities are available only to resident guests or you operate just one self-catering property with three guest bedrooms or less.

Annual Fee:

  • Around £105.

Licences to show DVDs

If you make films available to guests, either through an in-room entertainment system or by providing even a single DVD, you will need a licence.  You do not need a licence if guests bring their own DVDs.  A licence permits you to provide an unlimited number of DVDs for guests’ use.

Annual Fee:

  • Between £20 to £30 plus VAT per room/unit
  • If you supply food you must comply with the provisions of food safety and hygiene legislation.
  • You must implement and follow a food safety management system to ensure that the food you provide is safe.
  • You must register with Cornwall Council as an accommodation business even if you only serve breakfast.
  • If the food you serve contains GM ingredients, you must comply with genetically modified food legislation.
  • You must provide information on the 14 allergens that may be used.

Fire risk assessment

  • Strict fire safety legislation applies to anyone accepting a paying guest.
  • A ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment (FRA) must be carried out and recorded.
  • You are responsible for the fire risk assessment and to ensure that fire protection and prevention measures are observed and maintained.
  • An emergency plan should be displayed in the form of a fire action notice in guest rooms and adjacent to the fire alarm call points.

There are numerous online resources to help guide you to produce your FRA.  It’s one of the most important documents (but also one of the most overlooked) you will have.  If you are unable to produce the document, you should employ someone who can.

  • Step 1 – Identify the hazards and calculate the risks
  • Step 2 – Identify who is at risk (especially young persons and people who are vulnerable)
  • Step 3 – Identify the control measures required using a hierarchy of control
  • Step 4 – Record your significant findings, make an emergency plan and instruct your employees
  • Step 5 – Review on a regular basis

Smoke alarms

If you don’t have a wired-alarm system, it may be sufficient to use battery operated alarms.  You do not know if your previous guests have tampered with the alarm or if it is operational unless you test it.  You must regularly test and keep a log of when you test the alarm and replace batteries etc.

Fire extinguishers & blankets

  • At the very least you should have a fire blanket in the kitchen.
  • Your insurance company may insist on fire extinguishers.

The more you do to reduce risk, the better.  If you place fire extinguishers you must ensure you take note of their expiry date.  Some will require professional testing or replacement every 12 months.  An out of date or broken fire extinguisher is worse than having no fire extinguisher.

You do not know if your previous guests have tampered with the equipment unless you check it.  If in doubt, throw it away and replace.

Fire safety (furniture and furnishings)

  • All furniture (new and second-hand) in your self-catering accommodation that is covered by the regulations must comply with certain safety tests.
  • To be part of the Cornish Quality scheme, all furniture within a hotel or B&B must also comply with the regulations.

Emergency lighting

If you don’t have an emergency lighting system, it may be sufficient to place a torch in key locations.  You’ll need to frequently check that it works, as guests may ‘borrow’ the batteries.  We advise our members to use ‘wind-up’ torches as they are easier to maintain.

Gas & Electrical safety

  • If you accept paying guests, you have a responsibility to ensuring that gas appliances and are safely maintained and checked.  All safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Electrical equipment safety regulations require that all electrical equipment supplied ‘in the course of business’ is safe.  You do not necessarily need professional annual maintenance (eg PAT), but you must ensure electrical equipment remains safe – check your appliances and plugs regularly.
  • You insurance company may demand that your electrical appliances are professionally tested annually.

Carbon monoxide

Across the UK, there are fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning every year.  The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 protects you and your guests.

To be part of the Cornish Quality scheme, you must install an audible CO alarm if you have gas (mains or bottled) or oil, or a wood/coal burning stove.

You do not know if your previous guests have tampered with the alarm or if it is operational unless you test it.  You must regularly test and keep log of when you test the alarm and replace batteries etc.

It’s normally fine to place a modest non-illuminated sign, or a sign where just the letters are illuminated, by your gate, driveway or within your grounds.

You’ll almost certainly require planning permission for illuminated signs or a sign larger than ‘normal’.  A ‘normal’ sign could be said to match those at nearby properties, with has just enough room for the business name and some essential information (such as phone number and tariff).

If you collect customer reviews, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prevent you from presenting the reviews in a way that could mislead your customers.  You cannot write or commission fake reviews and you must display enough reviews to accurately reflect your customers’ views, both positive and negative.  If you collect reviews, you must invite all guests to leave a review and you cannot choose which reviews to publish.

Its increasingly common to pay for endorsements.  It’s perfectly acceptable to pay a blogger to write about your business, but you must make it clear that you have paid for the endorsement. Simply state that it is an ‘Advertisement Feature’ or ‘Advertisement Promotion’.

If you sell availability via VisitBude, our booking system can collect reviews for you.  We can then add them to your page on our website.

Compared to advertising on paper or on your website, the ‘tone’ you use on social media will probably be much more relaxed and ‘chatty’.  You must be aware that everything you post on social media is bound by the Consumer Protection Regulations.  You must make sure that all information is accurate, not open to misinterpretation and does not make unfair comparisons.

Sending emails and text messaging

  • You must have the individual recipient’s prior consent before sending unsolicited direct marketing.
  • You customers must actively indicate that they want to receive your marketing communications. You may not present a ‘pre-ticked’ box where they must remove the tick if they do not want to receive your communications.
  • You must also provide a method for the recipient to opt-out of receiving further communications.

A ‘cookie’ is a piece of data stored and used by a website browser.  A cookie remembers a user’s preferences or settings when they revisit the website. ‘Tracking cookies’ store long-term records of an individual’s browsing histories so products and offers can be targeted to a specific customer.

You are not allowed to use cookies or similar devices unless:

  • customers are provided with clear information about cookie usage and have given their consent.
  • You have a duty to not undertake unfair trading practices (misleading, aggressive or lack due diligence) under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs).
  • There are 31 business practices that are banned outright, such as displaying a quality mark without authorisation.
  • The Business Protection Regulations impose restrictions on how you may compare your product with those of your rivals.

The legislation is particularly relevant to the tourism sector.  You will need to brush-up on the rules if you advertise your accommodation facilities and make statements about your facilities.

The CPR provides a framework for determining whether certain practices are misleading, aggressive or lack due diligence if they could alter the thoughts or behaviour of the ‘average’ customer.

  • It would be an unfair trading practice if your customer made a booking that they would not have made had they known the full facts, or were influenced by a false or deceptive statement or by facts which were omitted from a statement.

Most commonly, this relates to

  • the quality of the accommodation
  • the amenities and services available to guests
  • the location of the premises

You should therefore be very careful when using a statement suggesting how close your accommodation is to the beach and the views from the bedrooms (unless all rooms have the same view).

31 practices are banned outright. These practices include:

  • displaying a quality mark (eg grading scheme) without authorisation. This includes displaying a quality mark that is out-of-date.  You must give special consideration to an old website – even if you cannot update a website owned by a previous owner, the website is advertising your property, so you have a legal responsibility to have the website taken down or updated.
  • Suggesting your accommodation is approved or endorsed by an inspection body when it is not.  You may however say that your accommodation was ‘graded as 5-star in 2002’.
  • Suggesting that an offer is available for a limited time when it is commonly available

Unfair comparison

In addition to the Consumer Protection Regulations, the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 cover comparison marketing.

You must be very careful that you do not unfavourably compare the cost of staying with a neighbouring hotel.

  • You may refuse a guest if you think they will be unable or unwilling to pay or if they are not in a ‘fit state’ to stay at your property.
  • You must honour a booking unless the booking contains false information that impact on your normal provision of services or facilities.
  • You cannot discriminate against any guest.

Advance booking

If a guest has booked in advance, but has given false information, you may refuse the accommodate the guest and cancel the booking.  You can also claim damages if you are unable to re-let.  The more common examples include

  • Arriving with a dog at a cottage that does not accept pets.
  • The booking is for two adults, but the party includes two children who will ‘sleep on the sofa’.
  • Rather than cancel the booking, you may fairly increase the cost of the booking to allow for the additional dog or number of guests.

‘Walk-in’ guests

The Hotel Proprietor’s Act 1956 dictates that you can refuse to let a room to a walk-in guest if they appear unable or unwilling to pay, or is not in a fit state to be received.  You also have complete discretion as to which room to allocate.

You may not turn away a guest on the grounds of the following ‘protected characteristics’:

  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • age – this applies to guests aged 18 and above i.e. you cannot have a policy excluding under 25s.

To help ensure that you do not discriminate, you are required to undertake reasonable adjustments to your premises or to the way you deliver your services. This, for example, could mean providing improved access, undertaking training staff on equality issues or providing meals that comply with the religious requirements of guests.

Accepting bookings from under 18s

People under the age of 18 do not have the same legal capacity as an adult to make a booking.  You can accept bookings for someone under 18, but you should be careful.

  • If you provide accommodation, the Equality Act 2010 applies to you.
  • The Act protects the disabled, those thought to be disabled or those associated with someone who is disabled.
  • The Act gives these ensures rights of access to goods, facilities and services and that they are treated no less favourably than other customers.
  • You are required to make reasonable adjustments to the way you deliver your services and to the physical features of your premises to make it easier for disabled guests to use them.

The Equality Act 2010

We’re not going to elaborate too much on this Act, as there is much information available elsewhere.  You should be aware that you must make reasonable adjustments to the way you deliver your services to make it easier for disabled guests to use them.

Your duty is anticipatory, so you must think ahead and not wait for customers to ask you to do something.  You should make reasonable adjustments to ensure a disabled person would not be at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled.  You must decide whether the adjustment would be a reasonable one.

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the three requirements for making reasonable adjustments:

  • Continually monitor your policies and procedures and make reasonable steps so you do not put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage when they access your facilities and services.  Note that a service dog is not classed as a pet.  You may not refuse to accommodate a guest with a service dog, even if you do not allow pets.
  • Anticipate what aids or services your disabled guests will need.  For example, you can provide large-print menus and information packs.
  • You must make provision to remove, alter or provide a way for disabled guests to avoiding physical barriers that would hinder them from making full use of your facilities.  For example, you need to provide ramp access.

What is reasonable?

Simple measures can often make your facilities accessible.  For example, taking the time to help a disabled guest, letting them know how they can ask for help and by training your staff.  Alterations carried out by a large chain hotel or holiday park may not be reasonable for a small guesthouse or cottage owner.  You should consider how effective the possible changes/alterations would actually be in their entirety.

We generally believe that you cannot be expected to install a ramp to allow access to the reception desk if the nature of the building within presents further obstacles to disabled guests, which cannot be solved, such as when the rooms are on the upper floors with no scope to install a lift or stair-lift device.

Booking contract

  • Once you accept a booking, you must honour the booking (with a few exceptions)
  • You must follow good practice and have a set booking procedure,

Once you have agreed the terms of the booking with a guest (dates, accommodation type and price) and accepted the booking, you have entered into a legal contract (it doesn’t matter how the booking was made).  It’s OK to change the terms of the booking later, but only if you and the guest agree to the change.

You should have a cancellation policy and procedure to avoid problems with cancellations, no-shows and curtailment.  You must make the cancellation procedure clear to guests if you later need to use it.

Booking terms and conditions

When you produce your terms and conditions for the ‘provision of goods and services to customers’, these points are critical:

  • You must use reasonable skill and care in providing the underlying services.
  • You may not contract yourself out of your legal responsibilities.  For example, you can’t say that you are not responsible for any injury a guest may sustain whilst on your property.
  • The law does not allow you to limit your liability for death or personal injury.  You can only restrict your liability towards a guest as far as is reasonable.
  • A small % of the total price may be taken as a deposit to reserve the goods/services.
  • Advance payments should reflect your expenses and leave customers with a reasonable balance to pay on completion of the booking.
  • Customers should not lose large advance payments if they cancel
  • Best practice dictates that you should set a sliding scale of cancellation charges, increasing as the arrival date approaches.  This allows you to cover losses should the guest cancel.
  • If you produce a special offer you like to take a larger deposit or payment in full.  This is justified if your T&Cs state alternative conditions for special offers.

Good practice

You should keep an accurate record of the arrangements you discuss and agree for every booking.  You should also be consistent in the way you accept and discuss bookings.  A simple checklist will ensure you don’t miss any important information when a phone call or series of emails become ‘chatty’.

  • pricing
  • deposit
  • cancellations
  • data protection

When practical, you should confirm all bookings in writing/email.  This will ensure your guests are aware, and you have proof that you have discussed the T&Cs.  A generic ‘thank you for booking’ is all you need, with a link to your website T&Cs.  We certainly recommend that you always confirm your more complex bookings.

Pricing and charging

  • It is a criminal offence to give guests misleading information about price, facilities, services or goods.
  • It is a criminal offence not to do everything reasonably possible to correct a price indication that subsequently becomes misleading.
  • Prices must include VAT if you are VAT registered.
  • You cannot charge extra for credit/debit card payments.

Price statements

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) cover all statements made regarding the price of products or services.

Displaying prices on your premises

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) you must to be open and honest in your pricing and should not mislead or omit information that could affect the decision of your customers.

It is recommended that you fulfil your obligations by ensuring a price list is on display in a prominent position and be easy to read, even if this is only for your ‘standard tariff’.  This enables you to increase/decrease prices according to demand when alternative tariffs may be available (eg Last Minute or Early Bird Tariffs).  You must make it clear if meals are included in the price.

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 offers consumers various private remedies where they have been subject to misleading or aggressive practice under the 2008 regulations.

1. Unwind a contract and get their money back

The right to unwind allows the consumer to undo the transaction they entered into, restoring the consumer to the position he or she was in before entering the contract or making the payment. This must be done within 90 days of their arrival at the property and it must be possible to reject the service before the booking ends.

2.  Receive a discount on the price paid

The right to a discount when the right to unwind has been lost, whether due to delay, or because the goods or services have been fully consumed.

For goods or services that cost £5,000 or less, consumers have a right to a fixed percentage discount on the price, ranging from 25% to 100% depending on the severity

3. Claim damages for detriment caused

Consumers can claim damages if they have suffered losses that exceed the price paid for the goods or service. Damages can cover distress and inconvenience and losses suffered because of the contractor payment they made as a result of the misleading or aggressive practice.

Damage deposits

It’s very uncommon to take a bond (or damage deposits) as protection against damages when accepting a booking.   If you do, or if you retain a customers’ credit/debit card details, you must notify your customer of this prior to the booking being agreed.  Therefore it is important to confirm all bookings by letter/email.

You may retain money from the bond or charge a customers’ card only if the damage is significant, deliberate or negligent.  A broken kettle or dinner plate is not significant.

To protect yourself, it is good practice to show a customer around and to record pre-existing damage.  If significant, deliberate or negligent damage is discovered, always get photographic evidence and three quotes to repair if necessary.

If your T&Cs state a damage deposit is to be paid, you must do so in a fair and consistent manner.  You may not be selective on who pays the bond.

Credit and debit card charges

You are not allowed to charge a processing fee for payments by credit/debit card.  However, you may charge a fee if you process a commercial/business card.

  • You should have a written cancellation procedure to avoid problems with cancellation, curtailment and no-shows.
  • If a guest cancels or checks out early, they are in breach of the booking contract they have with you.
  • If you cancel a booking, you are in breach of the booking contract.

Cancellation by guests

If you make your cancellation policy clear to guests, you can easily rely on it to claim money lost from the booking.  We recommend that you:

  • Include a cancellation clause in your standard booking terms and conditions.
  • Charge a cancellation fee that increases as the arrival date approaches.
  • Be fair to the customer.  Only take full advance payment for special offers, otherwise the customer will lose the entire payment, regardless of when they cancel, and this could be deemed unfair.
  • Always send an invoice for the amount due, which is exclusive of VAT (as no services have been provided) and ensure any deposit that they have already paid is clearly listed.

Cancellation insurance

It’s good practice to suggest your guest have cancellation insurance.  Doing so confirms your commitment to a fair and positive outcome after a cancellation.  It’s especially important to discuss insurance if you are liable under the Package Travel Regulations.

Deposits

It’s quite normal to take a deposit or ask for credit card details to reduce your exposure to cancellations.  Indeed, your visitors will be expecting to pay a deposit and doing so gives then peace of mind that the booking is secure.  A 25% deposit or the full cost of the first night’s stay seems normal, with the balance due between six to eight weeks of arrival.  This gives you time to sell to another guest if they do not complete the booking and covers you financially should you need to sell the dates at a reduced rate.

Deposits are inclusive of VAT, so if a guest does cancel you must return the VAT component to the customer as no service has been provided.

If the guest refuses to pay

  • charge the amount to their credit or debit card
  • consider taking the matter to the small claims court

If you accept a telephone booking and take credit/debit card details and the guest later cancels or fails to turn up, you can take payment from the card provided you have proof that the T&C’s were accepted by the customer.  This is why we strongly suggest you confirm all bookings in writing or by email.

It’s likely that the customer will attempt to claim back the funds from their credit card company.  You will need this proof to protect you from a ‘charge back’.  Your online booking system should automatically prompt with a ‘tick-box’ to ensure the guest cannot book without confirming that they have read and accepted the cancellation conditions.

Claiming damages

A guest is in breach of the booking contract if they cancel or check out early.  You may be entitled to claim damages for any losses you have suffered from the cancellation/curtailment.

  • You must first make every effort to minimise your loss by re-letting the accommodation. If you re-let the room at the same price, you will not suffer a loss and so cannot make a claim.  If you re-let at a reduced price, there will be an element of financial loss.
  • If you cannot re-let the accommodation, you are entitled to claim damages to the value of the booking, or for part of the booking which could not be re-let, excluding the cost of a service you did not supply (such as breakfast, heating, electricity or cleaning).  You must off-set the value of the deposit already collected.
  • Your financial loss will be about two-thirds of the value of the booking.
  • You must wait until the end of the booking period before you send an invoice for the amount claimed.  If payment is not forthcoming, you will need to pursue via the small claims court.

If your guest arrives and refuses to accept your accommodation (or a suitable alternative that you may offer), you may be able to follow your cancellation route if you are confident that no untrue statements have been made or influenced the customer to book.

If you need to cancel a booking

If you need to cancel a booking, you are in breach of contract and you must attempt to find them an alternative place to stay of the same or a higher standard.  The guest will then be entitled to claim damages/compensation for losses incurred, but they have a legal duty to keep those losses to a minimum and be fair.  They cannot book into alternative accommodation of a much higher standard/better location and expect you to pay the difference.

  • You should have a written cancellation procedure to avoid problems with cancellation, curtailment and no-shows.
  • If a guest cancels or checks out early, they are in breach of the booking contract they have with you.
  • If you cancel a booking, you are in breach of the booking contract.
  • If you offer or sell two or more of following elements, you are probably subject to the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.

The elements include

  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Vehicle hire
  • a significant visitor service (eg excursions, an activity or a ticket to an attraction)

Regulations are valid if you sell different elements yourself, work with a business to sell different elements or provide you customer with a targeted offer to purchase an element from another business.

  • Regulations include specific requirements relating to how you market, book and deliver these products.

Package Travel Regulations

The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (commonly known as the Package Travel Regulations) cover situations where your accommodation can be linked to another service.

Your customer can create a package (dynamic packaging) because you introduce a ‘Linked Travel Arrangement’, by presenting an offer for a service provided by someone else once they have completed a booking.

You should be very careful if you promote a relationship with local activity providers, restaurants and attractions or simply promote something like an ‘activity break with B&B, surf and canoeing session’.

Luckily, linking a night’s room with breakfast is exempt because the price of the breakfast is always included in the room rate.

Selling Linked Travel Arrangements

A Linked Travel Arrangement has been formed if your customer books accommodation with you, and you provide them with a targeted offer (perhaps a discounted rate for a Surf Lesson).  This applies even if you receive no financial gain.

If you do enter into this domain, there are significant requirements about the information you must provide to the customer, the terms and conditions that must apply to the sale and the financial proportion that you must have in place.  You must also provide insolvency protection.

Exemptions

 1.  If the ‘Other Tourism Service’ element does not form a ‘significant part’ of the package

  • A ‘significant part’ of the package not defined in its entirety.
  • If the ‘Other Tourism Service’ constitutes over 25% of the cost of the package.
  • This allows you to review your pricing structure so that the service is priced to comprise less than 25% of the overall cost to the customer.

If the ‘Other Tourism Service’ is an ‘essential element’ of the package.

  • Even if the service is less than 25% of the total cost, it could be a ‘significant part’ of the package if it is deemed to be an essential element.
  • Be warned, if you sell a combination of accommodation and a surf lesson as a ‘weekend surf break’, the surf lesson is absolutely an essential element of the stay.
  • Instead, you should simply say that a Surf Lesson is a benefit of staying at your accommodation, as it would probably be deemed not to be an essential element.

2.  The 24 hour period

  • The Package or Linked Travel Arrangement is not formed the purchase of each element is 24+ hours apart.
  • A Package is booked if a customer books both their accommodation and a table at your restaurant at the same time
  • A Package is not booked if they book a table a few days later.  Nor is a Package booked if you provide the opportunity to purchase secondary products once they arrive (provided that they booked the accommodation 24+ hours before arrival).
  • Under the Immigration (Hotel Records) Order 1972, you must keep a record of name and nationality (for all guests aged over 16) for a period of 12 months.  You do not need to record address or contact details.
  • For not British, Irish or Commonwealth guests, you must keep a record of their passport/ID card number, place of issue, details of their next destination (including the address of where they plan to stay).
  • If you hold any personal information about your guests, you are bound by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • CCTV/surveillance equipment can only be used if there is a legitimate reason.  You must make guests aware, give notice to explain why and how you store that information.

Local police have traditionally shown no interest in these records, but it is best practice to ensure you comply to avoid a potential issue.

  • Cleaning chemicals can present a real danger to children.  You must ensure that all chemicals are kept out of the reach of children, and in their original packaging.
  • Consider all areas of your home (kitchen bathroom, garden shed etc).
  • If children and pets have access to your garden, it’s good practice to notify your guests if you have recently used slug pellets or weed killer in the garden.
  • Operating as a trade business, rather than a standard rental property carries a number of advantages.
  • To comply with the Furnished Holiday Letting (FHL) Rules, your property must be available for at least 210 days a year, let for at least 105 days and operated in a commercial manner.
  • Your accountant can give you the best advice.

If your B&B or self-catering unit is also your main residence, you can earn up to £7,500 per year tax free.  However, if you’ve invested in the property to host paying guests, you would probably be better off by registering as a business to claim back those expenses.

The resale of gas and electricity

  • If you have a voucher or coin-fed metre (or make a separate charge), you are reselling that gas or electricity so the amount you can charge is limited by the ‘maximum resale price rule’. You may not make a profit on the sale.

Waste collection

If you pay business rates (unless you qualify for an exemption under the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012), you may not use the domestic refuge collection.  Instead, you need to pay for a commercial waste collection.

The Controlled Waste Regulations provide an exemption from waste disposal charges for small businesses that:

  • were operating prior to 6 April 2012 and were eligible for free waste disposal at this date; and
  • are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (i.e. the property has a rateable value of less than £12,000).

Make it clear to your guests how they should store their rubbish, and if they should separate rubbish from recyclables.

  • Provide clear instructions for your appliances.  If you notice that several guests have difficulty operating an appliance, you could rewrite the instructions so they are easy to understand.
  • Provide some useful tourist information guides (lots are available for free).
  • Provide clear instructions on how to contact you, or your representative.
  • Provide a clear notice with the exact location of your property and the full address.  If your guests need to call the emergency services, they will need this information.  Don’t make them waste precious time looking through old emails to find it.
  • If you intend to enter the property during a stay, you must inform the guest.  This applies even if you open the front door and leave clean bedding in the hallway.

Become a member of the Cornish Quality scheme

  • For just £40, we will check your paperwork and visit your property with a view to award the Cornish Quality Logo.
  • Your guests will be confident that your property is ‘safe and legal’.
  • You’ll be confident that you’ve made a real effort to ensure your guests are safe and that you’re operating legally.
  • You’ll be helping us to reach the goal of ensuring all holiday accommodation in Bude is ‘safe and legal’.

Please note, the Standard CQ award covers the important ‘safe and legal’ elements.  It’s everything it needs to be, but should not be confused with the Cornish Quality Gold award we will now issue to our members who are also assessed on the quality of their accommodation.

Click here to start the application process…

We certainly hope these rules and regulations have not deterred you from acting as a host.  They really are fairly straight forward and they will protect you and the guests you will be welcoming into you home and to Bude.

The Bude Tourist Information Centre is open 360 days of the year.  Please do call in and have a chat if you want any further information.  You do not need to be a supporter/member of Bude Area Tourist Board and advertise with us – we simply want to engage with all hosts and ensure that Bude’s holiday accommodation is ‘safe and legal’.

Interested to see just how important the Visitor Economy is to Bude?  Have a look here…

No advice
This information contains general information about laws applicable to your business. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.
Limitation of warranties
The legal information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.  Bude Area Tourist Board Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information given.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, Bude Area Tourist Board Ltd does not warrant that:

  • the information will be constantly available, or available at all; or
  • the information is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading.

Professional assistance
You must not rely on the information as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional services provider.
If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional services provider.
You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information provided.
Liability
Nothing in this disclaimer will limit any of our liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law, or exclude any of our liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.

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