Holiday homes will often have multiple tradespeople, cleaners and gardeners coming and going from the property and if it is left vacant for extended periods of time, the home can become an easy target for thieves and vandals. While owners can’t always be there to keep an eye on their property, below are a few tips to help provide holiday home owners added peace of mind that their investment is safe and secure.
Make it look lived in
If you have stayed in the holiday home over the summer break, avoid closing all curtains and blinds up on departing to help make the house look more ‘lived in’, even when there’s nobody there. Consider installing and scheduling timed lighting as an effective way to create a ‘lived in’ scenario by setting lamps to switch on and off throughout the night and don’t forget to install outdoor sensor lights at the entrances to the property.
Make friends with the neighbours
They’re going to be the eyes and ears of your property, so always introduce yourself and let them know when you’re visiting. They may also appreciate you giving them your contact details in case of any emergencies or disturbances while the holiday home is being rented.
Set a few rules
Inform all new guests of the security measures in place at the holiday home. Having a welcome letter with a few rules will help outline security considerations such as always remembering to lock windows and doors, along with instructions on how to arm and disarm the security system. Also, provide a departure checklist for guests to follow when they leave the holiday home.
Take advantage of new technology
There are many new systems available to help holiday home owners keep an eye on their property.
Search and Stay allow guests and hosts to review one another after a reservation is complete. This helps owners considering a booking, to make an informed decision about whether they should accept the booking. Remember, if you’re renting out your property, it’s a good idea to check if an applicant has received any reviews before you accept their booking. If another host has had a bad experience with that guest, chances are they will have written a review to warn others.
As an additional measure to protect your home against damage, homeowners should consider adding a bond to their listing. Most holiday homes and hotels ask their guests to pay bond or security deposit before their stay, which is refunded in full shortly after their departure. This means that should a holidaymaker damage anything during their stay, the owner isn’t out of pocket and doesn’t have to worry about chasing money retrospectively.
While most people staying in holiday accommodation have good intentions, it’s important to remember that you’re letting complete strangers into your home. With this in mind, always communicate directly through the Search and Stay website, rather than providing them with your personal phone details. It’s also wise to avoid giving guests a set of keys that can be copied. The best option to avoid keys is installing a keyless lock. Each time new guests arrive, you can set a new pin code, giving them entry to your home without the need for keys, or to meet them in person. Then, once the guest checks out, the pin can be changed.
Monitored security systems
Holiday home occupancy rates can fluctuate wildly depending on the property’s location; most holiday rentals experience a lull in bookings, leaving the rental vacant for weeks at a time. To help secure the home during the off-season, while also providing additional safety for guests during their stay, consider a professionally installed and monitored security system.
For owners who may be considering installing CCTV or other surveillance devices to keep an eye on their property, it is important to remember there are rules around personal privacy that must be respected. If you’re a short-term rental host with cameras located in or outside the property, the devices must be clearly disclosed to guests at the time of booking and are prohibited in certain private spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms, regardless of whether they have been disclosed.