How to holiday let your property: 10 essential tips to get you started.

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

If you have a spare home or holiday home, turning it into a holiday let could give you a lucrative revenue stream. In this article, we discuss what a holiday let is, how to do your research, and how to get started.

What is a holiday let?

Put simply, a holiday let is a property that is let out to short term visitors that are on holiday. If you have an additional property located in a popular holiday destination then this could be an option for bringing in additional income.

How much effort can you put into it?

Between meeting visitors, cleaning, dealing with admin systems and logging accounts, running a holiday let can be a lot of work. Consider whether you have the time to dedicate yourself to these activities or whether you can afford to pay someone else to run it for you.

Is your property in a popular holiday location?

Luckily, this should not be too difficult to assess. If you live near somewhere like London, you probably know the answer already. Look at a map of your surrounding area. Do you live near any attractions or beautiful landscapes? Are there many hotels? Do you have many visitors during the holiday season? Take a look at popular holiday let websites and see how many listings are in your surrounding area. If there are a lot then the chances are that there is potentially significant demand. If you do not think your property is in a popular destination, do not let that put you off. You can still try and test the waters but do not be surprised if you do not pick up as many bookings.

Make sure your property is ready

Your visitors will expect the same experience in your home as they would in any hotel and so it is essential that it is kept clean and safe at a minimum. Check out our guide to being an Airbnb host for more useful information about this and how to comply with legal regulations.

Think about your audience

Type in ‘holiday lets’ or related terms in your area and have a look at the competition. How are the properties presented? How have they been marketed? Think about the type of people that might come to these properties and present your home accordingly. Your price and property description should appeal to these target markets as well.

How are you going to market it?

There are several places to market your holiday let but the easiest place to start with is a holiday let website. These will have specific target audiences that are already looking to rent out a holiday let.

Another alternative could be to start your own website. Given that this can be quite a competitive market however, marketing your website to get it in the top search results online or getting people to click on your ads is a lot of work and can be expensive. If you are planning on running the holiday let yourself then it may be best to outsource the marketing of the website to someone else if you can afford this. You may struggle to have the time to do everything otherwise. For people who cannot afford to do this, it may be best to just list your property on a holiday let website or platforms like Airbnb instead.

To maximise the number of bookings you get, consider listing your property on several holiday let websites (but do not forget to to sync your calendars to avoid overbooking).

Learn how to use the system(s)

As with any business, the key to running a successful holiday let is providing a service your customers are happy with. That said, most holiday let websites have their own review systems and way of promoting properties. To maximise your potential revenue, you may need to get used to how each one works. To start with, write a description for your listing and compare it with the potential competition. Pick the competitor with the most reviews. How does your listing stand out against the competition? Are your photos better than theirs? If they are not, the chances are that you will not get as many bookings. Get used to how each platform works, obtain more reviews and you should have a better chance of succeeding.

Consider a holiday letting agent

The benefit of using an agent is that they can manage practically everything on your behalf from meeting guests, taking control of paperwork, and looking after your property. A good agent should have local knowledge of your area. They can also help market your holiday let to maximise the chances of you getting better returns. Bear in mind that an agent will charge commission and you may want to consider how this could affect your profits. Whether you think it is worth it will depend on your appetite for time-consuming activities or your ability to market your property. If you think someone else would be better doing this and provided you can afford it, you may be better off appointing an agent instead.

Think about tax

You might have to pay tax on any income you earn. The first £1,000 of your property earnings is tax-free but regardless of how much you earn, it is important to consider the tax implications of running a holiday let before you start. If you plan to rent it out for most of the year, your property may qualify as a furnished holiday let. If you are unsure about tax, it may be best to consult with an accountant or HMRC.

Check your mortgage

A vitally important step is to check the terms and conditions in your paperwork. If your property is currently covered by a residential mortgage, your terms and conditions may forbid you from running a holiday let. There are specialist mortgages available so it is important to check you are covered and that you do not risk breaching the terms of your agreement.

Are you insured?

Before you start, you may want to check that you are covered by your insurer for having paying guests to stay at your property. Ideally, a specialist insurance policy designed to cover you for holiday lets will give you the most comprehensive level of cover. Check out our holiday let insurance guide for more information.

Why use Airbnb?

Estimated read: 10 minutes

Airbnb has exploded in popularity worldwide due to its ability to offer personalised, authentic experiences that hotels can’t offer. If you haven’t already taken advantage of this phenomenon already, we provide some top reasons why you should consider listing your spare room or property online.

Earn extra income

You don’t need an office and a warehouse full a stock to make money. All you need is a room spare to start earning extra cash. Some key benefits include:

  • Covering the short-fall in your rent. Maybe you need a roommate or your rent is too high. You can list your property on Airbnb at anytime and doing so is a great quick cash injection, even if you only plan to do it occasionally. If this situation applies to you, make sure you get consent from your landlord for doing this.
  • If you are looking to make serious cash, it’s possible to do this through Airbnb depending on your circumstances and how much you want to earn. If you live in a popular location then it is possible you could get high demand for guests looking to stay at your property. Have a look at Airbnb listings in your area, which could give you an indication as to how popular it is.
  • If you are just intending to use items already in your house (e.g. bed linen, furniture etc) then there are very few additional start up costs to consider when listing your Airbnb. This is unlike some other businesses, where some level investment is required before any money comes in.

Higher returns.

Letting our your room or property via Airbnb could be more profitable than through traditional means such as through a landlord tenancy. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Charging a daily rate. Like a hotel, the rate you would typically charge a guest is higher than if they were living there all of the time.
  • Peak times. During the holiday season, you can charge even more and reasonably expect guests to pay this provided that you are not too out of step with what other Airbnb hosts in your area charge.
  • Airbnb is still an emerging market. Unlike the traditional landlord market, which has landlords competing against each other for tenants, the Airbnb sector is less established.
  • If the house you are listing is a luxury property and has the relevant ‘wow’ factors, guests may be willing to pay more money to stay there. Have a look on Airbnb to see if there are any such properties in your area.

It’s worth bearing in mind however that there are several factors that could affect how much income you could earn over the year. Check out our Airbnb vs landlord guide for more information.

It’s a great alternative to hotels.

Some Airbnb properties can have an advantage over hotels for users looking to:

  • Rent out an entire home.
  • Find accommodation at a cheaper price.
  • Have a more authentic local experience.
  • Stay in convenient locations.
  • Find houses that have novelty value.
  • Have a more personal experience.

If you think your home could fit one of these descriptions, you could be missing out on a potentially lucrative revenue stream. Think about what makes your place unique. What does it offer that a hotel can’t? Write down a list. If you can’t think of any good ideas, try to cast your mind back to when you stayed somewhere great that wasn’t a hotel. What made your stay special? What could you do better? If you can create an experience for your guests that is difficult to replicate elsewhere, guests will keep coming and you might have a potential full-time business, if that is what you are looking to do.

It’s flexible.

You can list your property as many times as you want on Airbnb and if you get someone else to manage your property such as a co-host or a host management company, you won’t even have to be there on a regular basis. This makes being an Airbnb host a flexible business that can be attractive to many individuals including:

  • Stay at home parents. If you have a spare room or annex, you can work from home, look after the kids and still have income.
  • Travellers. If you go on holiday and the house is empty, you could bring in extra cash whilst you are holidaying elsewhere.
  • Remote workers. If your goal is to work remotely, you can do this as long as you can get or hire someone else to manage the property whilst you are away.
  • Landlords. If your property is in between tenancies, you can list your property on Airbnb and fill that gap in income.
  • Self employed workers. One of the risks of working for yourself is that your income is vulnerable if you only have one revenue stream. Rather than putting all of your eggs into one basket, it makes sense to diversify where you get your money from and Airbnb is an easily accessible means of doing this.

You can host unique experiences

Do you know how to cook and would be interested in holding courses teaching other people? Do you have a unique skill? Airbnb allow hosts to hold ‘Airbnb Experience’ days. Hosts that do this hold events or classes that go beyond the usual class atmosphere and put the guest in the shoes of the host’s world. You don’t even need to share their home to do this. All you need is a skill or hobby that they want to share with the world. Top reasons to consider hosting your own experience are:

  • Unique selling points. If you can host a unique or quirky event for guests, you’ll attract more of them and may even get more positive reviews.
  • Personal touch. You’ll be connecting with guest in a completely different way and get to know them better.
  • It’s fun. Running an Airbnb doesn’t have to just be about the mundane tasks of cleaning, meeting and greeting. Host an experience for something you are passionate about.

To start with, have a look on Airbnb’s website and see what kind of things are on offer. You will attract more guests to your experience days if you are able to stand out from the crowd. What knowledge do you have that sets you apart from everyone else? Don’t be afraid to let the world know! Once you’ve come up with your idea, you’ll need to submit it to Airbnb for approval.

Meet new people

Airbnb doesn’t have to be about making money. It’s also a great way of making friends. If this is your goal, consider renting your room or annex rather than your entire property. Here are some tips to make sure that both of you enjoy your guest’s stay:

  • Make a meal for your guest. If you are a good cook, why not make them a local meal?
  • Give your guest a tour of the local area. Immerse them in an another culture.
  • Think about the type of guest your want to stay at your property. If you have a particular type of person you want to stay at your home, this should inform how you present your property and describe your listing.

Travel the world

Once you have done Airbnb for a while there is a good chance you will have made friends with people all over the world. You will potentially reap benefits from this including:

  • Returning the favour. If you have made friends with guests, why not visit them in their country?
  • Meeting people from different cultures can give you a new perspective on things. If you do gain some insights, you may want to use these to improve your guest experience. You could even travel to an Airbnb in another country to see how things are done differently elsewhere.

Even if you don’t want to travel, meeting people from different cultures can be an enriching experience and it can be fun too!

Low start up costs

The great thing about running an Airbnb is that you may not have to incur any large additional costs just to get up and running when you start out. If you want to experiment with Airbnb but don’t want to spend a lot of money, here are some handy tips to get you going:

  • Search classified ads or websites such as Gumtree for second hand items such as furniture on the cheap or even for free.
  • Items such as televisions and mirrors are bulky but guests are likely to want these kinds of things when they stay at your property. You might be able to find some great collection only deals at local locations on websites that sell secondhand items.
  • Guests often expect items that they get in hotels such as tea and coffee but these things don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Many supermarkets have value brands for these items that are much cheaper. If you can source packaging from elsewhere, you can still give these items a personal touch without the appearance of being cheap.

Learn about business

If you are already doing it and having fun, you may not have realised that Airbnb is a business just like any other. To be successful and make a money from it, you will have to learn how to:

  • Make your customers happy. Part of doing this is to understand what your guest wants, listening to feedback and constantly striving to make their experiences better.
  • Keep a record of income, expenses and costs. Not only will you need to do this for tax reasons, you will also need to do this to make sure more money comes in than goes out.
  • Deal with problems. Like any business, not everything will run smoothly. Guests may complain, things could break or bookings could decline. Learning how to overcome such issues are invaluable skills that you can put to good use in any future business venture you choose to embark upon.

Taking things further

There are many great reasons to become an Airbnb host. If you are looking to take things further, check out our guide on being an Airbnb Host. Before you list your property online, it is also important you speak to your insurer first to make sure you are covered. Our Airbnb article for homeowners and our guide for landlords can give you some important tips if you are not sure if you will be covered.

Running an Airbnb vs becoming a Landlord: Which one is best for you?

Estimated Read: 15 minutes

Maybe you are a landlord considering moving into Airbnb. Or maybe you are wondering whether you should be a landlord instead. There are benefits and disadvantages to doing either. Choosing which option is best for you may depend on what you are trying to achieve and what type of work you are willing to do.

You may make a higher return on investment with Airbnb.

Given the short-term nature of Airbnb, hosts can often charge guests a higher proportional rate than they would if they were a regular landlord with tenants. Take London as an example. Airbnb’s UK Insights report confirmed that the typical Host in London earns £2,600 a year with 35 days being the typical amount of nights hosted per year for a typical listing. That’s £74.28 a night for the typical host. According to a report by the Office for National Statistics in December 2019, the median monthly rental income for long term tenancies in London was £1,450. Comparing the potential annual income you could get from both figures (before tax and other costs are deducted), you get the following:

Potential annual income from Airbnb (if rented out 365 days a year): £27,112.20

Potential annual income from long term tenants: £17,400.

It worth noting that there are lots of caveats to consider here. Whether you can get a high occupancy rate through Airbnb will depend on your location and having it occupied every day of the year might be unlikely. If you were are doing everything yourself, it could be an enormous amount of work if you spent every other day meeting guests and cleaning the property before the next ones arrive. Local restrictions like the London 90 day rule (limiting how many days you can host to 90 days a year) will also affect how much income you can earn. However, when simply looking at the potential ratio for return on investment, there may be significant benefits to running an Airbnb.

You may have more spare time with long-term tenants.

Once you are all set up and have tenants in the property, the day to day management of being a landlord could be easier than running an Airbnb. Provided that you are following all of the required regulations, have a good tenant and your property is safe and well maintained, your involvement would mainly be needed when a problem arises. Many landlords hire an agent to manage the day to day running of their properties, giving them even more free time. Contrast this with running an Airbnb where you may be responsible for meeting guests, cleaning the property and dealing with day to day issues on a regular basis. If you are considering running a full-time Airbnb or have multiple Airbnb properties however, you may also want to consider hiring an agent to manage this for you to free up your time.

There may be less regulatory hurdles if you run an Airbnb.

To get set up as a landlord, you will need to conduct risk assessments, health and safety checks and make sure your property is safe and well maintained. You will also have to adhere to regulations regarding tenant rights and handling deposits (check out our article on becoming a landlord for more details on what is involved). The Airbnb industry by contrast is still an emerging industry and is yet to catch up. You will still have to follow basic regulations such as for fire and safety and it makes sense to keep your property in a good shape if you want to attract more guests (see our article, on how to be an Airbnb host for more information on how to get started). You will also have to follow less regulations than if you were a regular landlord. As calls for more regulations around Airbnb grow however, it also makes sense to focus on providing your hosts with a safe, comfortable experience. Doing this may also improve your bottom line.

Landlords may have a more stable income.

Both landlords and Airbnb hosts may experience periods where their properties are unoccupied. However, once a landlord gets a tenant in their property, the typical minimum tenancy period is 6-12 months. Give the short-term nature of Airbnb hosting, Airbnb hosts may have more periods where no one stays at their property. How often this happens may depend on factors such as the location of your home, how good you are at promoting your property and general market trends. If your property is in a popular holiday destination then you may be affected by seasonality as well. Properties situated in big cities like London may be less affected by this. Crises such as economic shocks may also convince guests to travel less. In times of uncertainty, it could be tempting to stick to more traditional property sectors than short-term lets.

Running an Airbnb may give you a more flexible lifestyle.

The beauty of listing your home on sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and Booking.com is that you can list or delist your properties from their websites when needed. Don’t feel like having guests over? No problem. But if you are a landlord with a tenant on a fixed term, assured shorthold tenancy then you will have a lot less flexibility. Typically, you will have got them to sign a contract allowing them to reside in the property for a minimum period of 6-12 months and getting them to leave during this period is not straightforward. As the landlord you must give a legal reason that a tenant must leave the property during the tenancy (such as rent arrears) and would have to get a court order to evict them. If you put a premium on flexibility then running an Airbnb property will make more sense for you.

Being a landlord may expose yourself to less risk.

Landlords and their agents often require tenant background checks to minimise the risk of things like rent arrears. Given the long term nature of tenancies, doing this makes sense and the tenant may have more of an incentive to look after the property if they are living there. If you are running an Airbnb however, you won’t have time to conduct these types of background checks. If you accept automatic bookings, you may struggle to do any kind of checks at all. Hosts can require guests to complete Airbnb’s guest verification service. However, this type of check is basic and will not be as thorough. If you are running an Airbnb, you run the risk of having guests who are not who they say they are. Not only that, without extensive background checks you will not know what type of person you have allowed into your property. In addition, if you have a high turnover of guests there could be a greater chance that you may have to claim.

Airbnb is a growing market.

Since its UK operation was founded in 2012, Airbnb has generated an estimated £3.5 billion to the UK economy, according to Airbnb’s latest Insights Report in 2018. Several regions within the UK have seen over a 70% increase in the growth of inbound Airbnb guest arrivals. Companies like HomeAway and Booking.com have also entered the market, giving hosts a wider range of platforms to market their properties on. Whilst there will always be a demand for the long-term rental sector, the growth for short-term rentals may be appealing to landlords that have seen their returns on investment diminish in the face of subsequent regulations by different governments. With the Covid-19 crisis impacting world trade at the time of writing it looks like this growth has been halted abruptly. However, once this crisis is over it inevitable that people will start travelling again.

Landlords may have less trouble with mortgages and insurance.

The landlord market is well established and there are several buy to let mortgage and insurance products available to landlords. By contrast, most home insurance policies don’t cover Airbnb. If you have a landlord insurance policy, whether your insurer is prepared to cover you for Airbnb may depend on whether you do this in between tenancies or are intending to do this during a tenancy. Unfortunately, most landlord insurers do not provide adequate cover for platforms like Airbnb either. Specialist insurance companies like Pikl can cover you is you are not covered for this. If you have multiple properties, you may want to consider checking out our portfolio insurance.

Many mortgage providers including buy to let mortgages do not allow short-term guests in their mortgage terms. However, there are now some specialist mortgage providers starting to cover this. Speak to your provider if you are unclear regarding the terms of your mortgage.

Which option is better? It depends on what you are looking for.

Which option suits you will depend on your goals and the lifestyle you want to live. If you are planning on doing one or the other, you may want to write down a list of what is important to you. There are lots of variables to consider. Broadly speaking though, the decision could be broken down as follows:

If you are already a landlord, you could try Airbnb in between tenancies to maximise your level of income (provided your mortgage provider and insurer is comfortable with this). For those with a mixed portfolio of properties, running some properties as full-time Airbnb homes and others as traditional rental properties may be a good way to balance any risk with the potential gains in income.

Airbnb vs the alternatives. Which Vacation rental site is the best?

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

There are now several vacation rental platforms that compete with Airbnb. Given the variety of choice that is now available, choosing the right one can be confusing. Lets look at the pros and cons of using each one.

Airbnb

Whilst they are not the oldest of all of the companies on here, they are the most established. The dominant player with a huge global reach, Airbnb has become a household name.

Advantages of using Airbnb:

It’s booking fees are relatively modest compared to other platforms at 3% (with some exceptions).

Unlike some other platforms it does offer some protection to its hosts if something goes wrong (e.g. if a guest damages your house or is injured).

Airbnb allows you to rent out just a room unlike some other platforms. This is great for people that aren’t ready to rent out their entire property or are just looking to test the waters.

It is the big player in the market. Its name is global and you could have a potentially larger reach of guests that could be interested in your property.

Disadvantages of using Airbnb:

The protection offered by Airbnb is limited. If you rely on them to cover you, you could be seriously out of pocket if they do not pay out on a claim.

Unless you are a hotel or hospitality business, Airbnb charges guests a service fee to cover the costs of things like credit card fees and customer support.

Being global could mean that you have more competition. This is better for guests but could be tougher for hosts in terms of maximising the number of bookings they get. If your property is in a popular area then this may apply to you.

HomeAway and VRBO.

Owned by the Expedia Group, HomeAway was actually founded 4 years before Airbnb. In 2015, Expedia also acquired VRBO.

Advantages of using HomeAway and VRBO:

Like Airbnb, HomeAway and VBRO also offer some protection to its hosts such as if a guest is injured or if a guest damages someone else’s property.

It also has worldwide reach.

Both HomeAway and VRBO give you the option to pay annual subscriptions.

As the Airbnb industry grows and becomes widely seen as an acceptable alternative to hotels, more and more people may seek Airbnb alternatives. Savvy hosts may also look to use alternative platforms that already have brand recognition.

Disadvantages of using HomeAway and VRBO:

The protection offered by both platforms is also limited and unlike Airbnb they don’t cover any host property damage. Check out our HomeAway article for more info.

Unlike Airbnb you can only rent out your entire property. If you can only rent out your room then HomeAway and VRBO will not be the platforms for you.

Their host fees are higher than Airbnb’s.

Booking.com

A massive player in the hotel and travel industry, Booking.com now also allows hosts to list their property online and compete with hotels.

Advantages of using Booking.com:

Booking.com charge a single fee, which makes it more straightforward than other platforms that have different charges.

They are a household name in the accommodation industry, meaning that you will have visibility to a wide audience.

Unlike websites like Airbnb, Booking.com also lists hotels on its platform. This could give you exposure to a different audience to other platforms.

Booking.com does not charge guests any additional fees unlike platforms such as Airbnb, which could make it more attractive to some guests.

Disadvantages of using Booking.com:

You will get no insurance protection if something goes wrong.

You can only list entire homes.

At 15%, their commission is the highest of the platforms listed here.

Being listed alongside hotels could be a double-edged sword as you could be competing with them.

TripAdvisor and FlipKey

Whilst being primarily well known across the world as a social media travel review website, TripAdvisor also allows visitors to look at comparison tools for booking holidays and accommodation. FlipKey is a vacation rental website like Airbnb. It was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008. HouseTrip is similar to FlipKey and was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2016.

Advantages of using TripAdvisor, FlipKey or HouseTrip:

TripAdvisor is a big company with millions of visitors to its site.

TripAdvisor is already a household name in the travel industry, which will help it attract potential guests. This brand recognition also benefits owners listing their property on FlipKey and HouseTrip.

On TripAdvisor you can also book hotels and flights, which could give your property exposure to a more diverse audience than on websites like Airbnb.

Owners on FlipKey and HouseTrip may face less competition in the UK as they are less well known.

Disadvantages of using TripAdvisor and FlipKey:

No protection is offered to owners if their property is damaged by a guest or if a claim is brought against them.

You can only list your entire home.

Like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, FlipKey and HouseTrip charge additional fees to guests, which could put them off.

FkipKey and House Trip are less well known in the UK. You could have less guest bookings.

On TripAdvisor, you will be competing against hotels.

Which platform is the best?

It really depends on your situation on what your goals are. Your market research and the type of guest you want to attract could also decide which platform you decide to use. If you are completely new to hosting, you may want to check out our guide on being an Airbnb host.

Renting out a room, just starting out or want your property to be viewed by lots of guests?

Airbnb is a good place to start if you fall into this category. It is the only place listed here that allows you to rent out just your room, it has instant brand recognition and millions of guests worldwide that use its site every year.

Do you want to use a platform that offers protection if something goes wrong?

Airbnb and HomeAway are the only platforms at the time of writing that offer some protection. HomeAway however, offer no cover for damage to the host’s property unlike Airbnb. Overall, the cover that both platforms is limited. You may also want to consider taking out specialist insurance with a broker such as Pikl as most home and landlord insurers will not provide adequate insurance cover either.

Looking for an Airbnb alternative or more flexible fee options?

Whilst less well known than Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO are also big players in this market with lots of guests also using their service. Their annual subscription option for hosts is a nice option if you are tempted by the idea of paying a lump sum annual fee rather than paying a commission per booking.

Want a service that doesn’t charge guests fees?

Booking.com is the platform to use although its host fees are quite steep at 15% per booking.

Are fees important to you?

If you just want to use the site with the lowest commission then Airbnb and TripAdvisor are the cheapest. Booking.com is the highest but as you would be competing with hotels, customers on there may expect to pay higher fees.

Are you trying to reach out to customers that would ordinarily use hotels?

Booking.com and TripAdvisor are the clear winners here.

Looking for less competition?

The competition you will face with other owners will depend on other factors such as where your property is based. However, you may want to consider using well known websites in the UK such as FlipKey and HouseTrip if you’re facing stiff competition elsewhere.

Looking for a platform with brand recognition?

Airbnb is a household name and HomeAway also has a worldwide following. Booking.com and TripAdvisor are already household names. If a platform with brand recognition is your main concern, you probably could not go wrong with any of these.

Are you doing this as a full-time business?

You may want to consider using as many websites as possible to maximise the number of bookings you get. Don’t forget to sync your calendars so that you don’t overbook. You will also need to factor in the different costs into your business plan so that they do not eat into your profits.

How to rent out your parking space.

Estimated Read: 5 minutes.

Many people do not realise that there is a low maintenance, potential income generator sitting on their property. If you live close to an area where events take place or near a commuter route, you could earn some extra income by renting out your parking space. If you do not use your driveway or your garage is gathering dust, doing this is an excellent way to put it to good use.

Why do it?

You could earn extra cash from renting out your parking space without having to do too much. Unlike many business ventures, you will not need to pay for any equipment or stock to get started. Once you have reached an agreement with someone to use your space, there is very little need for you to do anything unless a problem arises. There are some things you will need to check however before you start advertising your parking space.

How does it work?

To start with, you will need to find a place to advertise your space and create a description. After you have created your listing, you should be ready to go. If you are renting out your garage you will need to meet the guest initially to hand over a copy of your keys (unless there is another method of access such as key code entry). If handing over keys sounds like too much hassle, renting out your driveway may be an easier option. Unless a problem arises, the agreement you reach with the guest should allow them to come and go as they please within the times they are allowed to park there.

Are you allowed to rent it out?

If you rent your property, you will need to check with your landlord first to avoid breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement. If your property is on a lease, you will need to check the terms of this as well. For those who require a parking permit from the council, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to rent out your parking space. If you own your own property and do not require a permit for parking then you should not have a problem.

Is it safe?

It is important to highlight that you will be letting strangers use your driveway and safety should be an important consideration. If the thought of doing this makes you nervous, consider whether this is right for you. If you are worried, you could install a security camera and let your neighbour know that you intend to rent the parking space out. Restricting parking use to daylight hours is an easy safety measure but bear in mind that this could affect the amount of revenue you generate. Think about the times guests may arrive and whether you want people coming too early in the morning or late at night. Whatever you choose to do, consider the impact that having lots of cars turning up at your property may have on people that live close by.

How much money could you make?

You will probably make more money if you live in populous areas like London and the most in demand areas could generate £1000s in income. Think about the potential people that may want to rent your space. Are there lots of commuters in your area? Do you live in a popular holiday destination? Research events nearby. Do you live near places where regular events are held such as music venues and football stadiums? Your location will determine both your revenue potential and any seasonal changes in demand. Look at the competition in your area on parking websites and use this as a guide when setting your prices. Some parking websites have calculators that can estimate your potential income but it is best to use these as a guide only.

Where should you advertise your parking space?

There are several parking websites just a Google search away that can allow you to do this. The advantages of using a parking website is that all of the marketing is provided for you and is a natural place that car owners will look to. Be sure to factor in all of the fees for using these websites as they could eat into your profits. Ultimately, you can list your parking space anywhere but if you are not doing it on one of these platforms then you will have to sort everything from marketing and payment collections yourself.

Are there any laws you need to consider?

The government has previously published advice confirming that no specific planning regulations are required to rent your parking space unless there are “substantial planning concerns such as a public nuisance to your neighbours.

You will also need to consider whether you have to pay any tax on your income. If you make more than £1,000 from your parking space, you will need to notify HMRC.

Getting bookings.

You will receive more bookings if you get more positive reviews. Send a follow up email to your guest after their stay to increase the chances of getting these.

Make sure you create an accurate description for your listing. Inaccurate descriptions could leave to negative reviews and decrease your chances of getting more listings. Take a well lit photo of your parking space so that users can see what it looks like as well.

If you are still struggling to get bookings, consider changing your prices.

Rent it out to multiple users

If you rent out your parking space to regular users, consider renting it out at different times to maximise the number of people using it and get more income. If you have a large parking space that can fit multiple cars, you may have even less of a restriction when it comes how many people can use it.

Set the ground rules.

Setting reasonable ground rules are important. Remember that it is your property and establishing boundaries is important. If you choose not to use one of the main parking websites and use something like Gumtree instead, get them to sign a written contract that signs them up to your rules. Make sure they are responsible cleaning up any mess they leave and that you are not liable for any actions caused by them. Having a clause in the contract that allows you to terminate the agreement means you can end it easily if you no longer wish to continue with the arrangement. Think about what rules you want to set and how these may effect your neighbour.

Keep records.

It might be easy to make money from your parking space but do not forget to keep a record of how much you earn if you are liable for paying tax. If you are investigated by the taxman, you will need to keep meticulous records.

Are you insured?

In our parking insurance article, we showed that many insurers will not cover you if any claims arise as a result of renting out your parking space. Whilst it may seem unlikely, you could still be liable for damages if something bad happens (such as a guest crashing into your property or injuring someone). If you do not have cover for this, getting cover with a specialist provider such as Pikl is quick and easy.

How to house swap for a holiday

Estimated Read: 5 minutes

Not all people like the anonymity of hotels. Luckily, there is a new, exciting way to travel. Welcome to the world of house swapping.

What is a house swap?

The concept of a house swap holiday is simple. You swap houses with another interested party, go on holiday and avoid the hassle of using hotels. Not only does this add a unique twist to your usual holidaying experience, house swapping may make you see travel in a different way.

In addition to being unique, there are some advantages to be had over your usual hotel experience, including:

No hotel fees. You could potentially save £1,000s in accommodation costs.

If the house you are staying in is in a local setting, you may get a more local, authentic experience rather than living in an anonymous hotel that is in a popular tourist area.

There is a growing global community of house swappers. Get involved, make new friends and have fun!

You may also want to consider the potential downsides of doing a house swap:

At the time of writing, the websites that facilitate house swaps do not verify the houses themselves. You will have to rely on your own judgement to make sure the experience goes well.

You may need to do more research than is typically involved in booking a hotel. You will need to establish if the property is suitable, establish a relationship with the other house swapper and set up ground rules.

Unlike some package holidays, there is no industry regulator to protect you if something goes wrong during your holiday.

How does a house swap work?

1. Find a website

To begin with, you will need to find somewhere to facilitate your house swap. There are plenty of established websites that allow you to do this if you search online. One of the benefits of using specific house swap websites is that they are already established communities. You can use their knowledge to make sure your experience goes smoothly and search for reviews of properties that you are looking to stay in. You could also consider using online advertisements or social media to reach out to people that could be interested. Doing so comes with its own risks as you will not have access to the infrastructure that house swap websites can provide.

2. List your property online.

Once you have decided how to do your house swap, you will need to create your online listing. Make sure your house is tidy and take photos with good lighting so that your property stands out. You will also need to create a description for your listing. It helps to be detailed in your description and make sure you mention any unique features. Potential house swappers may also be interested in any local information specific to your area.

3 . Find someone to swap with.

If you have settled on a particular house, you will need to reach out to the person that owns it. The other person could potentially be staying in your home so make sure that you establish a good relationship. If either of you have any specific requirements (e.g. looking after pets, putting the bins out for collection or paying for bills), make sure you both establish these early. Setting ground rules are essential to avoiding mishaps or falling out later on.

4 . Check your insurance.

If you have read our house swap guide to insurance, you may be aware that most home insurers do not provide adequate cover for house swaps. Check with your home insurer before you agree to swap. You may need to get additional cover elsewhere (more on this below).

5 . Agree your swap.

Once everything is established, agree a date and time and confirm everything in writing. Communication is essential and it is important that you keep talking up to the point of exchange. House swap websites recommend that you keep conversations online so that there is a record in case something goes wrong.

6 . Enjoy your holiday!

You have done the hard part so now it is time to enjoy your holiday. If you have established a good relationship with your fellow house swapper, you will hopefully have gleaned some useful local knowledge to maximise your experience. You may also pick up some new friends along the way!

Key house swap tips

Consider potential website costs. Whilst you will avoid the cost of hiring a hotel, you may want to factor in the costs of using different house swap websites to know if you are getting a good deal.

Is the house and location suitable for your needs? If you are used to staying in hotels whilst on holiday, you may be getting a completely different experience. Consider what is important to you. Does the house and location meets the needs of you and your family?

Consider asking for references. Not all house swappers have reviews. Independent verification may help and do not be afraid to ask for a character reference if your fellow house swapper does not have any reviews.

Pick your person wisely. No matter how careful you are, things do not always work out. Ultimately, it is down to your judgement. If you have not established enough rapport with the other person to build trust, do not be afraid to pull out before the exchange.

Keep valuables out of sight. If you leave your valuables in your home whilst another house swapper stays there, you could potentially increase the chances of them being stolen or damaged. Consider taking your valuables with you or putting them in storage. If this is not possible, you might want to lock them away securely if you are able to do this.

Consider specialist insurance for your home. Even if your home insurer does not cancel your home insurance policy, they may not provide all of the cover you require. A specialist insurance broker like Pikl can give you a high level cover of property insurance for house swapping if you think you need this.

You may want travel insurance. If you are going abroad, a flight cancellation or medical emergency could give you lots of hassle and stress. A good travel insurance policy should be able to cover you for these things.

Check with your landlord. You may need permission to do a house swap if you are renting as this type of activity could be excluded in your tenancy agreement.

Use the community. Find out the pros and cons of house swapping from people that have done it before.You can also get a feel for whether house swapping is right for you.