As owners of an investment property in this area, you`ve probably thought about letting it out for holidays. Poole`s beautiful beaches, its harbour, and 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 – though don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the actual feedback from our owners in the testimonials section…
Q) As an investor, I want to maximise my return. How can Quay help?
A) Rental returns from residential long-term lettings are low, relative to the capital value of properties in Poole. Peak-rate holiday rents are up to four 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) 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, to families between house moves, or facing insurance claims.
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 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 charges a one-off Registration Fee to cover our time and outlay in initial set-up costs including professional photography stills, visitor guides, guest books, key fobs etc. We charge a percentage fee for bookings and management and a set charge 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 significant damages are very rare 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. For a fee, we can even agree a budget with you and source the items for you! 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. Leasehold properties may have restrictions against short-term letting – we can help you check. We are happy to advise on a property`s suitability, 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, third party web portals, 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 offices. 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 website 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 weekly statements to clients, 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) Recent changes to the taxation of buy-to-lets have made Furnished Holiday Lets (FHL’s) a much more attractive proposition. Provided your property conforms to the ‘qualifying tests’, there are valuable benefits to be had in terms of mortgage interest relief, Capital Gains Tax, Rollover Relief and Inheritance Tax, plus you may well be able to claim Capital Allowances on plant and machinery and furnishings.
In general terms, your property has to be available for commercial letting and sufficiently furnished for normal occupation, for 210 days per tax year. It has to be actually let for at least 105 days per year, on lettings of less than 31 days duration. You can let for periods in excess of 31 days, use it yourself or let family and friends use it, but this does not count towards the qualifying periods. For further information on the tax treatment of Furnished Holiday Lets, we recommend you contact an accountant qualified to advise you on the detail of the legislation.
Q) Okay, I think I want to give it a go. What happens next?
A) Simple – just call us on 01202 683333! 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.
Feedback from our owners
“The idea of letting our apartment out for holiday lets at Dolphin Quays was last minute to say the least, however, this did not seem to present much of a problem for Rachelle & Helen. In not much more than a week the property has been re-painted throughout, dressed out by Quay Holidays, and all under Rachelle’s keen eye. We have not had anything more to do than concern ourselves with when the first guest will book to stay, which as it happens has already taken place. The apartment was due for completion on the 5th August, this was finished ahead of schedule and the first month’s bookings have already come in. So we would just like to say thank you Rachelle, to you and your `TEAM` at Quay Holidays, you have really done a sterling job in getting this up and running for us in no time at all.”
Jason and Tracey
With regards to your staff at the office one member of staff has been exemplary – Rachelle. We have found her to be very personable, informative and willing to go out of her way to be helpful, both with us and other holiday makers that we have met. Kind Regards,
Katherine & Brian Patient
I just wanted to say a big thank-you to you and your team, I have been particularly impressed with your professionalism and helpfulness; everyone has been charming and made it all so un-stressful. Please pass on my thanks to your colleagues. Kindest