letting your Static Caravan

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Top Tips Before You Hire Out Your Static Caravan

Ever heard the phrase ‘make your money work for you’? As with any property, static caravans allow you to maximise your investment by hiring it out when you are not there.

If you are a static caravan owner who has never hired out your holiday home previously, it can feel like stepping into the unknown. That’s why we have put together this article. It’s packed with tips on how to manage the process, as well as key considerations to make during the planning stage. We’ve also found space for some expert advice from an industry insider.

So without further ado, here are our top tips for hiring out your static caravan:

-          Check that you are permitted to hire out the caravan

It’s a schoolboy (or girl) error to devote time to preparing and advertising your static caravan, if you aren’t allowed to hire it out anyway. Holiday parks typically have no problem with you hiring out your property, but it is important to note that there are restrictions in place at some locations. There could be a rule which requires the owners to go through the site operators themselves when subletting, paying a fee for the service. Or in some cases you might find that subletting is not allowed at all.

For your own peace of mind, and to avoid wasting your own time, be sure to study your contract and confirm that you have the option to sublet.

-          Remember that rental income is taxable

You need to inform HMRC of the rental income which you receive from providing static caravan hire. That’s because rental income from hiring out your static caravan is taxable. If this has come as an unwanted surprise, consider that on the plus side there are many costs associated with hiring out your static caravan which can be claimed as expenses. Tax relief can be associated to furniture, equipment and fixtures, and you might also be able to claim Capital Gains Tax relief.For more information, see HMRC’s page on Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) here.

-          Count your certificates!

As the owner and landlord of a static caravan, you must ensure that you are operating on the right side of the law when it comes to safety. You can cover yourself by ensuring that you have all the necessary certificates, including; a fixed electrical installation certificate; a passed inspection certificate for any gas appliances which you may have; and a Fire Risk Assessment certificate copy (the park operator can provide you with this).

For those with gas appliances, a CO detector for carbon monoxide safety is required by law. And if not already provided by your holiday park, you should ensure that all guests are given full instructions of what to do and where to assemble in the event of a fire.

-          Ensure that you have Public Liability Insurance

In order to cover you and your guests for any damages or casualties which are the result of accidents which happen at your static caravan accommodation, you must hold Public Liability Insurance. Whether this is included in your static caravan insurance policy, or is held as a standalone policy - it should be viewed as a non negotiable requirement.

-          Weigh up the market rate before setting your price

Now we’ve addressed some of your financial and safety obligations, it’s time to look at your hiring strategy. You might have a price in mind which you would like to charge, but is it realistic? You can get a good idea of what represents a competitive rate for hiring out your static caravan by taking a look at the prices advertised on the rental market. Take into account the model, age and condition of your own caravan, and compare it to those which you see offered.

The location and desirability of the holiday park itself is another factor, as is the quality of fixtures and fittings inside, and the spec of the electronic appliances. Whether you are offering ‘mates’ rates’ to friends and family for their static caravan holidays, or are seeking to get the most bang for your buck – do your research before pricing your rental fees.

-          Market your static caravan effectively

You have a wide range of free and paid-for options available to you when it comes to advertising your static caravan on the rental market. You can use public platforms such as Gumtree and Craiglist, as well as local newspapers. Bear in mind that these channels may have more of a ‘haggling’ culture than more specialist advertising boards. There are also dedicated holiday home hiring platforms which charge a commission fee, but could offer the advantage of more reliable rental customers.

If your contract requires you to hire out your static caravan through your park operator, it might be that the operator themselves takes full responsibility for advertising activity.

Whichever platform you use, remember that imagery is everything!  Take some brilliant pics which benefit from plenty of daylight, and truly show off what your static caravan has to offer.

-          Decide if you want to delegate or go it alone

Depending on factors such as how much time you have, and how many days you will make your static caravan available for hire on, you will either involve an agent in the hiring process, or manage your bookings independently. Agents can offer the perks of arranging key handovers and viewings on your behalf, as well as taking payments.

If you have the time to manage the hiring out process and are only making the property available for limited periods, it might be entirely feasible to take care of every element yourself. Conversely, if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, and are eyeing a considerable rental income from a large number of static caravan bookings, it could make sense to partner with an agency.

-          You get out what you put in

In the property market, as in life – the old saying applies; ‘you get out what you put in’. There has never been more incentive to ensure that your static caravan is full of the items which could be deemed ‘essential’ or ‘useful’ to holidaymakers.

We live in a ‘review’ culture which means your hiring strategy could sink or swim according to the online ratings and feedback which you receive.   So if you don’t have them, invest in the everyday appliances which make meal times easy, think about purchasing a first aid kit, and consider the nice touch of offering some local guidebooks. You could even leave a simple welcome gift, such as a box of chocolates, for your guests.

What does the expert say?

Kevin Barrett, Editor of Holiday Home Living magazine, believes there is nothing wrong with static caravan owners being selective when it comes to who hires their property.

Kevin has the following advice: "Choosing tenants to rent your static caravan is at the complete discretion of the static caravan owner. It might be a good idea to think twice before accepting bookings from groups of young people who are planning a party, at risk of upsetting your neighbours. It is standard practice to request a deposit to be sent, either by bank transfer, cash or cheque, in order to book your static caravan in advance."

Are you in the market for a static caravan that provides the perfect holiday home, as well as rewarding rental yields? Browse the Midlands’ leading static caravan range at http://www.salopleisure.co.uk or call 01743 282 400 and speak to the Salop Leisure team.