Safety and Legal Requirements

The Safety and Legal Requirements for your Rental

With vast amounts of conflicting information out there on the legal requirements for an Airbnb property as well as the safety features that should be considered, it can all get a bit confusing. We’ve narrowed down everything you need to know into one simple guide to make it easier for you to get started with your rental before you even set up your Airbnb listing, here are some things you should know.

1. Get Registered

Firstly you’ll want to register with your local council as a landlord. You can do this by simply signing up online here. This is required by law regardless if you are renting out a room in your home, or the entire property.

2. Comply with UK Tax Regulations

The rent a room scheme allows you to earn up to £7’500 tax-free in the UK. Properties and circumstances vary so ensure that your rental complies with these regulations. Make sure to fill out a tax return if your earnings are higher than this tax-free amount and keep accurate accounts of income and expenditure for tax purposes. Declare all earnings from your property when completing your annual return to HMRC. You can find some helpful information about this through the Scottish government website for the rules and regulations in Scotland as well as a self-assessment help sheet for the ‘Rent a Room Scheme.’

Electrical Safety and Legal Requirements

3. Ensure your Home is Compliant with all Local Health and Safety Regulations

You may need to obtain an Electricity Performance Certificate for your home. We also recommend that you have your appliances PAT tested to meet UK safety regulation standards. These can be carried out by a reputable electrician. We also suggest doing a thorough walk through of your property to ensure there are no electrical hazards. From a rental perspective, you need to ensure your property is as safe as possible for the guests who will be staying there. Some top tips on things to look for are included in this Home Electrical Safety Guide. 

4. Have you had a Gas Inspection Lately?

As the home owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that gas appliances and boilers are serviced regularly and that any maintenance work is carried out. You should have gas safety inspections carried out annually whereby a gas safety certificate should be provided. For more information on gas safety, please take a look at this Health and Safety Executive article outlining the importance of complying with gas safety regulations and what’s required.

5. Have a fire risk assessment carried out of your property

You should always ensure that smoke alarms and CO2 detectors are installed. Further information on this can be found using this helpful Airbnb article.  We suggest that you invest in both a fire extinguisher and fire blanket for your rental, and keep these in a place that is accessible to guests. You can use this helpful fire safety guide for further information and advice. Or for fire safety advice that’s specifically relating to Scottish laws you can find more information here on the Scottish government website.

Gas Safety and Legal Requirements

6. Adequate Insurance cover is Essential

Make sure you have the correct property and home and contents insurance in place to cover you as a landlord. Although Airbnb provides Host Protection Cover and their Host Gaurantee. These should not be considered alternatives to personal insurance cover for your home and your possessions. We suggest taking extra care and attention when choosing a policy as there are so many different ones out there. Take the time to find the one that best suits your home and your circumstances. For more information on Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, you can find their terms and conditions here. Ensure you are covered against damage, accidents, liability and loss of earnings. Public liability insurance is also recommended.

7. Does your Rental Require an HMO?

An HMO (house of multiple occupants) certificate is required for properties whereby more than 3 people from 3 different families are occupying one residence. If your property is an HMO you will need to ensure that you are following the specific guidelines required for your home to meet those standards. You can find out more about  HMO licences, as well as how to apply for one here.

8. Ensure that your Property meets Repairing Standards

These checks are to ensure that your property is wind and water tight and as well as having water, gas, electricity and heating installed. All of these, as well as some other key factors, are important to have in place before renting out your property. Use this link to find out more about Repairing Standards for your local area.  Your rental should also meet the Tolerable Standards Guidelines outlined here. 

Airbnb Safety and Legal Requirements

9. Ensure that your Mortgage is set up Correctly to Accommodate Airbnb Rental

Various mortgage lenders have different rules and restrictions on renting out your home so make sure you are clear on what the regulations are for yours. If the property was originally purchased as your home but you are now renting the property out full time, you will need to change this over to a buy to let mortgage. But in the instance that you are renting out your home but also living in it some of the time then you wouldn’t qualify for this. Always do your research and speak to your mortgage lender for the best advice that applies to your circumstances.

10. Create an Information Pack about your Property for Guests

This information pack can be a go to guide for guests during their stay. It should be displayed in a folder somewhere visible, such as on a coffee table or hallway console table and contain emergency information that may be required for guests. You should include numbers for local emergency services and an address for the nearest hospital. Not forgetting emergency contact details for you and also someone else as a backup, in the instance that you aren’t contactable. If you use a property management service for your rental, their details should be included as the first point of contact for emergencies.

You should also include a mapped fire exit route for your property to comply with safety laws. And we would also recommend providing information on where the stopcock is to turn off the water supply and how to reset the electricity if a fuse blows. You should also insert a copy of your house rules as outlined on the Airbnb website to ensure that these are accessible for guests during their stay.

Home Safety and Legal Requirements

Alongside this, we would also include a first aid kit with essentials. Plasters, antiseptic wipes etc. This should be kept in a kitchen cupboard for guests to use should they need it.

Airbnb Management Edinburgh

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful to increase your knowledge of safety and legal requirements for your Airbnb rental. Most of the information referenced throughout this guide applies to Scotland so we suggest that you look into the requirements for your local area to ensure that you are following the correct guidelines. Hopefully, this article has laid the groundwork for you and provided a good starting point to getting your rental up and running.

By considering all of these factors, not only are you keeping in line with safety and legal requirements but you are demonstrating to your guests that you are a professional host and that you are concerned about their safety and well-being while staying in your rental. Why not extend this service by providing professional property management for your Airbnb property? Here at Air Property Management, we provide a whole variety of services and tailor made packages to suit your needs. With premium Airbnb management Edinburgh, we can help you make your holiday let a success.

For more in depth information on the topics, we have covered as well as other useful information, please take a look at Airbnb’s Responsible Hosting guide.


*This article was published in July 2017 and all articles referenced provide up to date information at that time.

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