Holiday let rules and regulations made easy

Holiday let rules and regulations made easy

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Sometimes, with all the jargon that comes with rules and regulations surrounding holiday letting, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. The legal requirements for letting a holiday property are there to protect you, your guests and your employees against avoidable harm, and to ensure you are all covered should the worst happen.

They include health and safety regulations, fire, gas and electricity safety and an understanding, assessment and limitation of risks specific to your holiday property, guests and staff. If you are running a holiday let, these rules can't be overlooked but are fairly straightforward to adhere to.

Below is a simple guide to holiday let health and safety regulations. You should always consult a legal expert if you are in any doubt.*

Ensure you have adequate property insurance

Rascarrel Bay Platinum 3

It is important to ensure that you have adequate buildings and contents insurance, plus specific holiday home insurance which must include public liability cover that must be in place prior to your first booking. You may wish to consider loss of earnings insurance which should protect your income if the worst should happen. Where you employ people, including those cleaning and maintaining your holiday home, employers’ liability cover is a legal requirement. 

Find out more in our article about holiday let insurance.

Furniture laws for holiday lets

Beautiful bedroom from Pump House - Ilkley

The law requires that furnished accommodation must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 and 2010). This applies to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, cushions, and pillows. It does not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950.

Comply with Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The legislation laid out in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is extensive but particularly state that all electrical systems in the property are maintained so as to avoid danger to all who use the premises. This applies to portable appliances as well as installation. Most insurance companies will insist on this.

Uphold your fire safety obligations

Wood burner in Milkmaids Cottage

All properties must comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (England & Wales) and under part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 that came into effect in October 2006. Part of your obligation is a fire risk assessment which your holiday letting agent will most likely need to keep on record. 

Adhere to gas safety legislation and install carbon monoxide alarms

Gas appliances should be safe and conform to the relevant safety standards. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require annual testing of gas appliances by a Gas Safe registered installer. Records should be kept for two years. A valid certificate should be displayed in the holiday accommodation at all times.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. As of 1st October 2015, it is law for private residential landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms containing a solid fuel burning appliance (i.e. an open fire, log burning stove, etc). Appliances should be tested annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

Comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005

Ground floor bathroom

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 requires your property to have a written Accessibility Statement which, as holiday letting agents, we keep on record. Your access statement should provide accurate, detailed information on the facilities and services within and around your property and should be left in the property, but also be available to send to a guest in advance of their arrival.

Swimming, gym and outdoor safety considerations

Swimming pool at Herdsmans View

While there are no specific regulations governing swimming pool and gym safety, you need to make sure that the comply with general health and safety legislation as laid out in the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. A thorough risk assessment should be carried out.

Safety legislation surrounding a private water supply

Glass of water from a tap

If you have a private water supply which is used by guests in your holiday let, you have a duty in law to ensure the water, along with the filter system, is safe and tested in accordance with regulations. Your local council will be able to advise you on the regulations relating to private water supplies.

COVID-19 government guidance for hotels and guest accommodation

Extra cleanliness for COVID prevention

The UK government website has a useful section on guidance for people who run guest accommodation in England, with separate information for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The COVID-19 guidance for holiday home owners mainly focuses on thorough and regular cleaning, with an emphasis on touch points such as handles, keys and surfaces throughout the property. Risk assessments should include 'a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace' and control measures should be identified to manage that risk. There is a detailed explanation on how to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment for your holiday home on the government website.

For more detailed information on any of these points, please consult Visit England’s The Pink Book Online. If you're looking for more information on holiday let safety requirements, there is a lot of general information for business owners on the government's Health and Safety Executive website.

Holiday let building regulations


If you are planning to build, extend, renovate or change a residential property into a holiday let, your first port of call should be consulting your local planning department. They will be able to tell you if you require planning permission. This online tool can help you find your local planning department.

*Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is provided for informational purposes, and should not be construed as legal advice by on any subject.

Here at, we come across all sorts of questions regarding holiday letting on a daily basis, if there's anything we can help you with (free and no obligation advice), please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Posted by Clare on 22 November 2015, updated 2021

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