It’s almost the holiday season and usually the busiest time of year for those with leisure properties to let, but they should know that consumers are becoming increasingly selective in choosing only accommodation with good security.
“Consequently, property owners who decide to venture into short-term holiday letting, as well as the owners of guesthouses, B&Bs and other holiday accommodation, need to make sure their security provisions are top notch,” says Greg Harris, CEO of Chas Everitt Property Rentals.
“Nowadays holidaymakers don’t just want the standard locks and burglar bars. They also want to know about the area they are staying in, the parking facilities available, perimeter security measures, building security features like alarms, remote access and other details.
“However, if they are satisfied that the lodge, resort, B&B, home or holiday apartment is really secure, they are much more likely to book. What is more, good security can also positively influence the length of stay – not to mention the fact that it will help the owner protect the property and quite possibly reduce his insurance premiums.”
When it comes to holiday letting, Harris says, homes in gated estates and other security complexes have an advantage in that there has usually been an emphasis on excellent security from the outset. “Many complexes have tight access control measures, boom gates, patrolling security guards and surveillance cameras. And when these come standard, the choice of accommodation is made that much easier for the prospective short-term tenant.
“But even in such complexes, short-term landlords need to be vigilant about changing access or security codes for each new guest or tenant, making sure all keys are returned, and changing locks immediately if there is ever even a suspicion of a break-in or that someone may have duplicated a key.”
Proper lighting is also an important safety and security measure, and property owners need to ensure that both the grounds and the unit itself are sufficiently well- lit, he says.
A third very important consideration for leisure property owners is fire prevention and fire escape routes. Accommodation establishments such as B&Bs and guesthouses are required by law to have a certain amount of fire-fighting equipment such as extinguishers and hoses, as well as clearly marked fire escapes and exit routes, but it is a good idea for the owners of individual holiday homes to also do all they can to mitigate against the possibility of a fire which could harm people – and possibly destroy their property, Harris says.
“If they do not, they also risk having any claims against their insurance policies being invalidated, which would quite possibly result in them having to pay the medical costs of a guest who was injured in a fire, or for any damage to the property itself. These costs could amount to millions of rand – quite apart from the reputational risk and stigma that could forever blemish a potentially great holiday home or establishment.”