Chances are, if you own an investment property in this area, you`ll have thought about letting it out for holiday accommodation. Poole`s beautiful beaches, its leisure facilities, and its proximity to wonderful Dorset countryside make it a favoured spot for both short breaks and longer vacations.
But do you really want to get involved? After all, isn`t holiday letting hard work, the income uncertain, and the whole enterprise generally not worth the hassle?
Well, yes and no! At Quay Holidays we make it our business to take the hassle out of holiday letting, and in response to these frequently asked questions here`s how...
Q) As an investor, I want to maximise my return. How can Quay help?
A) Rental returns from traditional long-term lettings are low, relative to the capital value of properties in Poole. Peak-rate holiday rents are up to three times higher than rents from Assured Shorthold Tenancies over the same period.
Q) That`s great, but summer`s the easy bit! What about the medium and low seasons? Won`t my property stand empty?
A) Well, no. This is where Quay Holidays` marketing, its extensive database of satisfied customers, and its contacts with local businesses come to the fore. We work hard to achieve longer-term lettings (less than five months) in the low season – for example, to clients on work contracts in the area, or to families between house moves.
Of course, we cannot guarantee your property will be fully occupied all year round, but we do aim to achieve 70% occupancy – which becomes easier over time as more satisfied customers re-book in subsequent years.
Q) But if I decide to give holiday letting a try, won’t I be faced with additional costs?
A) Well yes, there are additional costs. You would be liable for the cost of electricity and gas, television licence, insurance, standing charges for
telephone and broadband, water rates and council tax. You may however be eligible to pay business rates, which generally offer a significant reduction and, if the property is your sole `business`, you may receive a further 50% small business rate relief. You will also pay service charge where applicable and the cost of repairs - but most long-term lettings still make these costs a
landlord`s liability anyway.
Quay Holidays makes a one-off Registration Fee to cover our outlay on initial set-up costs including professional photography stills, visitor guides, guest books, key fobs etc. We charge a management fee and a booking fee for each letting, but the costs of marketing and advertising are borne by us (360 degree; video promotions excepted). We charge you for laundering and cleaning (and the provision of ‘welcome packs’ to guests) but all our cleaning staff are directly employed to keep costs down.
Q) Okay, but what about the cleaning and maintenance? Won`t the holiday
guests mess my property up?
A) At Quay Holidays, we recognise that cleaning and presentation are vital to promote guests’ satisfaction, and to protect our clients` investment. That is why we only use our own trained cleaning staff, overseen by our own supervisors. They know each property intimately and act as our eyes and ears. Occasionally accidents do happen but we take meaningful damage deposits, which are rarely called upon in practice. In our experience, well-maintained and
thoughtfully-equipped accommodation is treated with respect.
Q) I`m interested in letting out my holiday home, but does that mean I won`t get to use it myself?
A) Not at all! Provided you give us reasonable prior notice, we can block-out owners` bookings, so that you and your family can enjoy the property
as much as your guests. That way, you have the benefit of the property when you are there – and the income when you are not!
Q) But if I decide to give holiday letting a try, won’t I spend a fortune kitting out the property, and how will I know what is needed?
A) At Quay Holidays, we provide an inventory proposal – reviewing what you may already have, and advising you what else is required. All of our properties are put forward for VisitBritain assessment, and we can advise you what is needed to achieve the necessary star rating. For a fee, we can even agree a budget with you and source the items you need! Our experience means that we know how to equip clients` properties for maximum effect with minimum outlay. This does not mean we advocate buying the cheapest of everything - our guests rightfully expect good quality furnishings. After all, that is what they have paid for, and quality items look good for longer.
Q) Okay, I`m interested, and I`m thinking of buying a property, but what makes a good holiday letting proposition?
A) From the moment you decide to invest in a holiday let, you should be talking to us. We are happy to advise on a property`s suitability, its likely
VisitBritain rating, the income you could expect to achieve, how to equip it to its full potential, and a whole host of issues which will help you make the right choice.
Once your property is signed-up with us we prepare a professionally photographed colour brochure, which is extensively marketed through our comprehensive
website, through VisitBritain`s website, through national advertising, and specialist publications.
From our base in Poole Old Town, our marketing team works tirelessly, 7 days a week, fielding telephone calls and
e-mail enquiries, and welcoming customers visiting our High Street shop. Out of normal office hours, we offer a 7-day-a-week on-call service until 10pm each night - enabling enquiries and bookings to be processed immediately via our remote-access computer booking system. In addition, our enhanced web-site now allows clients to book on-line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
Once the booking is made, we collect deposits and balancing payments, make access arrangements, provide cots, Z-beds, and high chairs (Quay Holidays buy and supply), clean, launder, and generally do everything reasonably possible to make the guests` stay as enjoyable as possible. After all, happy holidaymakers = repeat bookings and recommendations = more business!
Q) So when would I receive the income?
A) We send out monthly statements to each client, setting out the income received and the expenditure incurred, and we transfer the net proceeds directly to your bank account.
Q) But what about the tax?
A) Following the change in government brought about by the May 2010 General Election, the previous Labour Government`s plans to stop Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL`s) qualifying as a `business` for tax purposes were scrapped. This was great news, as it meant that FHLs continued to enjoy the considerable tax benefits, including the ability to off-set trading losses against other income, capital allowances, and roll-over relief, afforded to other businesses. There are qualifications - the property has to be available for commercial letting for a minimum of 140 days per annum, and actually let for at least 70. Lettings of more than 31 days to the same person do not count.
Since we are not authorised to offer tax advice, we strongly recommend that you contact an accountant for more information and to appreciate the full tax benefits, and obligations, of Furnished Holiday Letting over conventional residential investment.
Q) Okay, I think I want to give it a go. What happens next?
A) Simple - just call us on 01202 683444! We’re always happy to talk through your ideas and queries, and we can make an appointment to meet, either at our offices or to look over the property you are thinking of purchasing. There is no obligation, and we look forward to your call.
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