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Thousands of Brits are exploring the idea of letting out their homes to holidaymakers or festival-goers this summer but don’t know how to do it. There are legal and tax obligations to be aware of, while other factors such as home insurance, cleanliness and practicalities also need to be considered.

Alok Alstrom, CEO of leading gig economy platform AppJobs, said: “Putting your home to work is often a good way to earn some extra cash, but it’s important to know how to do it safely and legally. For example, the extra income is considered taxable and it is advised to factor this into your finances and potential profit margins.

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“Meanwhile, it’s not as simple as just letting someone sleep in your spare room. There are certain standards of cleanliness, privacy and convenience that it’s recommended you adhere to. There is also a risk that things might not turn out as well as you had expected, such as a guest causing damage to your home or overstepping the boundaries.

“Make sure you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for and be confident that you are making the right decision.”

Different laws in different cities

Greater London applies a planning restriction where it is often considered a change of use if you rent out a home, and as such entire home listings in London are limited to 90 days per year unless you have the planning permission to host more frequently.

Planning permission may also be needed in Glasgow and Edinburgh, while Northern Ireland requires a licence from Tourism NI.

Some individual buildings, such as high-rise apartment complexes, can have strict rules and regulations against sublets.

Be careful to check the small print of your lease or contract to make sure you don’t fall foul of your neighbours.

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Mortgage and home insurance restrictions

Some mortgages won’t allow subletting, so it’s important to clear it with your mortgage provider to make sure it does not invalidate your policy.

The same goes for home insurance as you might need specific cover. Airbnb has a product called AirCover for Hosts that includes host damage protection and liability insurance.

Safety and emergency contacts

It’s advisable to make sure your guest is aware of what to do in an emergency, such as a fire or break-in, and who to contact. Also make sure they know where the medical supplies are should they be needed.

It’s good to flag any issues with the property that they might need to know, such as a window that doesn’t open or a plug socket that isn’t safe to use.

Being a good neighbour

Some big apartment complexes will have rules on how shared amenities such as gyms, swimming pools and rubbish disposals are used.

Make sure you communicate these rules to your guests to make sure you avoid any conflict.

By Neil Shaw

Source: Kent Live

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