Question: I’ve purchased a holiday home to rent to holiday makers, how can I protect my property from damage over the busy holiday season?

Answer: By Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager, Terri Scheer Insurance

It’s that time of year when people start thinking about their summer holiday plans.

Summer is also particularly busy for investors with holiday homes in their portfolios.

While most guests do the right thing, even the most careful holiday makers can take a more casual approach to caring for a rental property when in holiday mode.

People who rent their holiday homes on a short term basis expose their property to specific risks.

These include theft, malicious and accidental damage and legal liability issues arising from a holiday maker injuring themselves on a property.

This can also lead to loss of rental income while damages are repaired.

The following tips may help protect your property from damage during this busy period.

Presenting the property

Before the busy holiday season begins, it’s important for landlords to prepare a well-presented property for their guests.

A fresh coat of paint or attending to gardening maintenance can help ensure the property remains well cared for.

An attractive home may give tenants greater incentive to take care of the property.

Safety

Landlords should inspect holiday homes regularly to ensure lights, white goods, appliances and smoke detectors are in working order and that the property is safe and habitable.

A detailed condition report should be completed, prior to each holiday lease, which can include photos and videos of the property and any valuable furniture.

By providing guests with a safe environment to live in, it may also reduce the possibility of injuries taking place which could potentially result in a liability claim for the landlord.

Security

Some guests may become casual in their approach to security while on holidays.

Often the warmer weather means doors and windows may be left open during the day or at night.

Landlords should ensure they have appropriate security measures in place to deter would-be thieves, including secured locks on screen doors and windows, outdoor sensor lights, a key box with PIN to store the key for guests coming and going from the property and fencing.

Welcome pack

Prepare a welcome folder for the holiday home that contains important information.

This may include the terms and conditions of the occupancy such as check-in and check-out times, the rental rate, the maximum number of occupants and vehicles to be housed at the property and after-hours emergency contact details.

The folder can also include a detailed inventory of the furnishings included for use and a list of keys, remotes and key cards.

This will enable tenants to check the list and replace anything that may have been broken or misplaced before they vacate.

You can include information about the general area such as garbage collection times, local restaurants and popular spots to visit, as well as a little bag of goodies containing teabags, coffee, sugar and biscuits to welcome the tenants.

This can help to encourage tenants to treat the property as if it were their own.

Appropriate insurance

Short-term rental holiday insurance can provide reassurance that property owners won’t be left out of pocket if their rental property is damaged or robbed over the holidays.

Landlord policies for holiday homes generally provide insurance for short term rentals of up to 12 weeks.

By protecting yourself from risks associated with renting a holiday home, landlords can make the most of their time during the busy period and help ensure their tenants have an enjoyable holiday this summer.

For further information, visit www.terrischeer.com.au or call 1800 804 016.

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Carolyn Parrella

Carolyn Parrella joined Australia's leading landlord insurance specialists, Terri Scheer Insurance, in 2004 and was appointed Executive Manager in 2009.
 
Carolyn oversees all operations within business, which aims to protect landlords against the risks associated with owning a rental property. These include malicious damage by tenants, accidental damage, legal liability for occurrences on the property that cause death or bodily injury, and loss of rental income as a result of damage to a property or a tenant absconding.
 
As a South-Australian based national insurance firm, Terri Scheer Insurance is the only company in Australia to specialise solely in landlord insurance.
 
Carolyn also owns two investment properties.

For further information, visit www.terrischeer.com.au or call 1800 804 016.