The Old barn

If you own a holiday cottage in Northumberland, Cumbria or Co Durham, why not sign up with us today?

There are NO upfront fees, NO restrictions where you can also advertise and NO rules regarding when you choose to let.

We’ll advertise your cottage on our website and in our brochures free of charge.  In addition we can organise cleaning and management if you require us to. All you pay is 20% commission when we secure a booking, and 20% commission on any property management (where required).

In return, we simply ask that you keep your online calendar up to date when you have a booking elsewhere.

Managing your property

  • Cleaning: We have a list of professional cleaners that have the experience and knowledge to understand the standards required for holiday cottages. When you sign up with us, we’ll give you an estimate of how much time the cleaner will require and an estimated cost.
  • Maintenance: We have a list of trusted local tradespeople, including handymen, gardeners, builders and plumbers. When you sign up with us, you can ask us to take care of any maintenance for you.

Pennine Country Cottages has a list of compulsory safety requirements which all landlords must comply with.  Please take the time to read the following information.

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – 10 year life span
  • Electrical Safety Certificate (ESC) – 5 year life span
  • Portable Appliance Test (PAT)) – required annually
  • Gas safety certificate (CP12) – required annually
  • Oil appliance service - required annually
  • Landlord Building Insurance - required annually
  • Liability Insurance - required annually
  • HETAS certificate – one off
  • Smoke Alarms – located on every level of the property
  • Carbon monoxide detectors – located in every room where there is a fossil fuel burning appliance
  • Fire blanket – located in the kitchen
  • Chimney Sweep – required annually

Energy Performance Certificate

A domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for a holiday rental whenever a property is rented out for more than 4 months in a year. The total four months can consist of any combination of individual bookings; these may be for a period of days, weeks or months.

The Certificate is only required for a building or part of building which has walls, a roof and an energy conditioned interior. Mobile homes, caravans and park homes as defined by regulations are exempt. Energy Performance Certificates are not required when individual rooms are rented out, for example Bed and Breakfast rooms and hostels. The certificate is valid for 10 years and must be equivalent of an E grade or above.

Electrical Safety

Faulty electrics can result in serious injury, death or fire. Electrical equipment and wires deteriorate with use and time, and it is important to ensure your guests are safe during their stay.

There is no current legal requirement for you, the landlord, to obtain and renew an Electrical Safety Certificate (ESC), however we anticipate the law on this will change in June 2020. The resulting certificate provides you with proof that the inspection has been carried out and that you have met your duty of care as a holiday let owner. Inspections will check the condition of your electrical installations against the BS 7671, the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations. The checks carried out by the engineer will establish whether the appliances and installation are safe for your guests. Pennnie Country Cottages company policy stipulates all landlord must hold a valid ESC. You will need to renew your ESC every 5 years.

Any hazards must be acted upon immediately. This may be as simple as removing or replacing a defective appliance from the property that you believe to be hazardous, to getting an electrician to replace or repair a fitting. Unofficial inspections should be carried out wherever possible, either by yourself or whoever manages the changeover at your property. Having a checklist of items to inspect will be a huge advantage to the efficiency of this inspection.

Since July 2008, it has become a legal requirement for all circuits in new builds or rewired homes to include an RCD Residual-current device (RCD). If your home was built or rewired before this time, then should consider have an electrician inspect your circuits and rewire your home if necessary. At a minimum, you ought to have RCDs added in areas that are damp, such as kitchens, bathrooms, hot tubs or pools. RCDs need to be tested frequently by pushing the “test” button. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how often this should be done.

PAT testing

As your duty of care applies to both installed and portable electrical appliances you should also undertake regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). There appears to be no laws stating how often PAT testing should be carried out but Pennine Country Cottages requires you to have your appliances checked once a year. It is also important to carry out regular visual electrical inspections yourself. Look out for damaged cables, loose sockets, frayed wiring, burn marks, hot sockets or plugs, flickering lights or tripping.

For more guidance see: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf

Gas Safety

Having gas appliances in your property comes with associated risks; these include fire, explosion, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. You, as the landlord, are responsible for the safety of your guests and are required, by law, to hold a valid Gas Safety Certificate, also referred to as a CP12.

A Gas Safety Certificate provides details of your latest inspection by a Gas Safe registered engineer. It will cover all items checked during the inspection. These are required when there are gas appliances in your property (or grounds) and the inspection will assess the safety of appliances, flues and pipework. You will need to renew your Gas Safety Certificate every 12 months.

You are required to keep your certificates for a minimum of two years; however, it is good practice to keep a record of all your certificates.

For more guidance see:https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg285.pdf

Oil Safety

Similar to gas, faults in oil appliances can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Along with the various regulations, you will need to ensure you are in compliance with, you’ll need to consider the following things to warrant the safety of your guests. It is recommended that you have your appliances and equipment inspected by an OFTEC Registered Technician who can supply an OFTEC CD/12 Landlord Oil Installation Check form. By law (BS 5410), you are required to have your oil-fired appliances and equipment serviced periodically, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions – this is usually every 12 months. It is recommended that you inspect the storage tanks and supply pipes frequently for any leaks.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Inhaling this gas can be fatal. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels, such as gas or oil, aren’t burnt fully. Burning charcoal, running cars and cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide gas.

As well as having appliances, such as your boiler, frequently inspected and serviced, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed to identify the presence of this harmful gas. You are legally required to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a fossil fuel-burning appliance, such as a boiler, oven or log burner. Please ensure the alarms either have the British Standard Institution (BSI) or CE stamp and that it is located above door height, approx. 1.5 metres from gas appliance or stove and not near a window. You should check that the alarm is functioning correctly on a regular basis (a minimum of once a month) and ideally at every change over between guests. The batteries should be changed at least every 6 months. Alarms last between 5 to 7 years, see instructions for life span of your specific alarm.

Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, introduced in 2006 requires you to carry out a fire risk assessment and taking steps to protect the people using your premises from the risk of fire. This assessment will determine if there are any fire hazards and who is at risk so you can put steps in place to minimize these risks.

A full comprehensive guide can be found on the government website including guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment (see the web address below). Pennine Country Cottages can provide a blank copy of a risk assessment should you require one.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/do-you-have-paying-guests

During your fire safety risk assessment, there are certain things you need to evaluate and identify. You can conduct a fire risk assessment yourself, but if you’re unsure, you should seek advice or hire a professional to conduct this assessment for you. You will remain legally responsible for the assessment as the home owner regardless of who conducts the assessment.

Follow 5 key steps when carrying out a Fire risk assessment:

  • 1)What is a fire hazard?
  • 2)Who is at risk?
  • 3)What is your plan to keep people safe?
  • 4)Record plan and train
  • 5)Maintain your fire risk assessment

You are required to keep this assessment up to date, but the laws do not specify how regularly this has to be done. Pennine Country Cottages requires your fire risk assessment to be renewed every 12 months, be on display for the guests to view and for there to be a fire blanket located in the kitchen.

Smoke Alarms

It is a legal requirement for you to install a smoke alarm on every floor of your holiday let that is used for living space. However, the more smoke alarms you have, the safer your property will be. For maximum protection, an alarm should be installed in every room, except bathrooms. Attention should be placed on rooms that are most likely to cause a fire, for example, a kitchen or room with an open fire. The most reliable type of smoke alarms are those that are wired into your property’s electrical supply and have a separate battery backup in case of a power cut. The “test” buttons should be used frequently to ensure they are in working order at least once a month, we recommend this to be part of your changeover plan. Batteries should be changed at least every 6 months.

Log burners or open fires

Having a log burner or open fire in your holiday let is an extremely desirable feature. Such a feature comes with associated risks. If you have an open fire or log burner in your holiday let, then here are a few areas you ought to consider:

  • Regular chimney sweeping
  • An adequate hearth
  • A suitable fireguard (if you cater for children, then an additional child guard will be necessary)

Pennine Country Cottages requires landlords to provide their HETAS certificate to prove the stove was installed by an approved engineer and for Chimneys to be swept annually.

Furniture

By law all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, cushions and pillows must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Saftey) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 and 1993) and meet the set fire resistance standard. This includes ensuring the upholstered furniture has a fire resistant filling material, the cover fabric passes a match resistance test and the cover fabric and filling material pass a cigarette resistance test.

All furniture that meets these requirements will have a permanent label stating ‘Carelessness Causes Fire’ as well as information about the supplier, the item and its manufacture, or a label stating that it complies with the British Standards BS 7177. The regulations apply to both new and second-hand furniture but not to antique furniture made before 1950.

Selling your property

Pennine Country Cottages is a sister company to Pennine Ways Sales and Lettings. www.pennine-ways.co.uk

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