Get your home working over Christmas

Anna Tobin
House for rent in the middle of winter
House for rent in the middle of winter

Thousands of people lock up their homes for Christmas, whilst they go off to stay with or near friends and family for the festive season.

But now you can actually get your home earning whilst you holiday.

Very short term rental

You can rent out your home for just those few days that you're going to be away. All you need to do is market it.

First, take lots of snaps of your property looking its best. Take photos of every room, plus an exterior one from the back and the front. Try to ensure that the photos show as much of your home as possible, if prospective tenants know what they are getting you will reduce the likelihood of getting complaints later.

Then post these shots, along with details of your home's location, proximity to the nearest transport links, information on local restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, etc. on a holiday rental site.

Sites to check out include Holiday Lettings, Airbnb and House Trip. Most sites are free to list on, but they will take a commission on any resulting rentals. To get an idea of daily or weekly rental rates, check out what similar properties in your area are asking for.

Some sites offer additional security, such as handling the financial transaction side of things, taking a deposit to cover any damage and providing extra insurance against damage to your property and to protect you should one of your guests have an accident whilst on the premises.

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Airline Lists Night on a Converted Plane on Airbnb
Airline Lists Night on a Converted Plane on Airbnb

Tips for short-term landlords

Check that your mortgage or tenancy agreement will allow you to rent out your home whilst you holiday.

Inform your home insurer that you are taking a short-term tenant and take out public liability insurance to cover you should anyone injure themselves or damage their belongings whilst staying in your home.

Don't sign a rental contract with anyone without checking that they are who they say that they are and seeing their ID.

Try to enter into an email, telephone or face-to-face exchange with potential guests before accepting any money from them or handing over the keys, this will help you to judge whether they will treat your home as you would want them to.

Remember, paying guests will have high expectations, they will expect you to have cleared several wardrobes, your fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards, for example, so that they have more than adequate storage for their luggage and food.

If you'd rather not have four-legged paying guests or young children, specify this, but the more inclusive you are the easier it will be to find lodgers.

Respond quickly to enquiries as many people will email several homeowners at once and the early bird catches the booking.

When your tenant arrives, it is helpful to be able to meet them personally. Putting a face to a name will make you more real to them and, hopefully, ensure that they will look after your things with that little bit more care.

Also, provide them with instructions to all your home appliances, the alarm and heating and hot water system, etc. and details of what they can and can't use. Plus, you need to tell them how you want the property to be left at check out and give them a number of someone local that they can call on should an unforeseen eventuality occur.

Lastly, be aware that you may be liable for tax on any earning made through renting out your home.

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