HOLIDAY PROPERTY RENTAL - LETTING GUIDE


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Preparation of your property
Property management
How should I manage my bookings?
Tax on overseas property lettings


lamangadreams.co.uk have compiled the following guide to assist you in the smooth running of your property rental business, helping you to maximise your property revenue potential, with the minimum amount of effort. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, we do stress that this is simply a guide to property rental management, and in no way a substitution for your own detailed research. Laws regarding property rental and taxation issues vary from country to country and it is essential to confirm your legal and fiscal obligations for the country that your home is located in, before you commence letting your property.
Preparation of your property

What should I include when furnishing my property?


Please make sure you have adequate cover whilst the property is unoccupied, or during periods when the property is let as a holiday home, is not generally available under a standard household policy. However, as these insurance policies are specifically designed for Spanish holiday homes they include cover for these periods

There are some specific distinctions between owning a Spanish property and your main residence; therefore you need to have an insurance policy which takes these into consideration.

Intasure - insurance that speaks your languageIntasure - insurance that speaks your language

Take a step back and keep in mind that you are running a business. No matter what your budget, try to ensure that your fixtures, fittings and furniture are robust, easy to clean and of the best possible quality. Try not to include sentimental items (unless you have a lockable area in which to store them), as they may unfortunately be broken. Try to replace any items that are broken as quickly as you possibly can. General furniture & flooring; this needs to be robust and easy to clean. Wooden or tiled floors are an excellent idea and will save you money in the long run. Washable throws for soft furnishings are more hygienic and easier to replace than the soft furnishings themselves.

Kitchens; Dependant upon your budget, aim to fully equip your kitchen. Take a look around your own kitchen and consider everything that you would wish to have at hand. A dishwasher, microwave, washing machine and tumble dryer are always desirable, but remember, some of these items can be costly to run for large groups of guests. If providing all of these items, remember to reflect this cost in the rental charges. Ensure that the entire kitchen area is easy to clean. When considering cutlery, crockery, glassware and other kitchen equipment, make sure that there is enough for at least double the maximum amount of persons staying. Making sure that you have ample pots, pans etc are that they are sufficiently big enough to cope with the job in hand.

Bathrooms; Ease of cleaning should be your main factor. A mirror and an extractor fan are desirable, if at all possible. A basket for dirty laundry shows that you have considered the small, but important points. Nobody likes the look of a mouldy shower curtain, so try to ensure that such items are cleaned or replaced regularly.

Bedrooms; Provide a comfortable, good quality bed with freshly laundered linen where appropriate. Think about providing bedside tables, lamps and adequate storage and hanging space to make your guests life more comfortable during their stay. Clothes hangers are a good idea too.

Linens; Will you provide these or will your guests be expected to bring their own? If you do supply the linen, consider the cost of laundering after your guests have departed. Make sure that every bed has at least two sets of linen, so that you have a spare set for changeovers, and there must be a good supply of towels, table cloths, kitchen cloths/sponges etc, if applicable to your particular rental property.

Outdoors; it is always a good idea to provide outdoor furniture if at all possible, along with a barbecue, and washing drying facilities if the outdoor space permits. Gardens should be kept in good order and easy to maintain. Think about the safety of your guests and whether you may need to erect fences to keep small children and pets in, or perhaps you may need to incur additional costs to comply with relevant swimming pool safety standards etc.

Sundries; the property should be lightly furnished with home comforts that will suit all tastes, i.e.; books, videos, games and so on. Be careful not to over furnish, remember that although this may be your home for a certain amount of time throughout the year, it's also your business.

What should I include in the information pack?


An inventory of furniture and equipment (including condition) is a must, as this will enable you to prove their existence should anything go missing after a rental. A sample inventory page is available on Rental management documents.

A user guide showing how to use any equipment etc, i.e.; the best way to use the hot water and heating system, how to light a fire or how to use the cooker. This will not only ensure that your guests have pleasant stay, but will help to reduce expensive equipment breakages and unnecessary fire risks. It may also result in lower utility bills! Safely stored candles and matches are always a good idea in the event of a power cut.

House keeping; including general information on points like rubbish disposal, noise restrictions, emergency services and a twenty-four hour contact number.

Local information is always useful, such as how to find the following: Chemist, hospital, supermarket, restaurant, entertainment and perhaps the local tourist information office.

Top tips

? Keep furnishings simple and avoid clutter. Ensure the property meets health and safety requirements, but consider wow factors which will give your property the edge.

? Dress your property. Great pictures are essential - prepare each room, set tables, etc., and include pictures of outdoor space. Provide testimonials from past guests, too.

? Ensure the price is right. Know your target audience, research comparable properties and run offers to attract off-peak travellers.

? Be prepared for bookings. Have a rental contract, keep track of all dealings in writing and have policies for damages, refunds and cancellations. Reply promptly to enquiries and keep your online availability calendar up-to-date.

? Have someone available locally to meet and greet clients, sort out cleaning and changeovers, and deal with problems.

? Go the extra mile. Include or supply a welcome pack of goodies and provide a file of local information with maps, nearby attractions and restaurants. See if you can get discounts from local suppliers for your guests - e.g., 10% off watersports equipment hire - in return for recommendations.

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Property management

What are my options for managing my property?


Self-management; when living nearby, self-management is inexpensive and a viable option. However, do not underestimate the workload that you are about to undertake, especially if you intend to run more than one property at a time!

Letting agency; you could employ the services of a local letting agency. Fees usually vary between 30 - 50 % of the rental income and you should check carefully exactly what is included in the contract, as there can be some drawbacks. The letting agency may insist that the property is available for a pre agreed number of weeks, which means that you may not be able to use your property as and when you see fit, and when you are able to use the property, you may incur the full rental fee for the period of your stay! You also have to rely totally on the agencies level of professionalism when representing your property to your standards. It's always a good idea to ask around. A good reputation will spread fast; a bad reputation spreads faster! You should check carefully if the following are included in the contract, as their service should cover: Advertising, guaranteed minimum amount of bookings, meet and greet on arrival and inspection/inventory on departure. They should organise running repairs and maintenance and provide receipts and they should also provide a twenty-four hour contact number for emergencies. They may well offer to vet potential guests for suitability (in practice this is very difficult to do until your guests have arrived).

Booking agency; for a less 'hands on' approach, a booking agency may be the best option, although we advise you to read on to be sure! You will be able to secure dates that you wish to visit your property at any point in the future or simply book 'on request'. The booking agency will handle all of your booking enquiries and will accept rental payments on your behalf, transferring them directly into your bank account.

Therefore you won't have the worry of dealing with foreign payments. The commission charged varies between 15%-20% of the rental income. It is important to remember that a booking agency will not deal with your changeovers and therefore, you will still need to secure the services of a cleaning and maintenance company, or a local individual to do these tasks. Many individuals move abroad without learning to speak the language of the country to which they have moved. Subsequently, one of the only routes to an income is dealing with changeovers. Be warned, check if they are they legally registered to work, do they have any experience whatsoever, what guarantees have you got that they will do the work to your satisfaction, are they able to provide references? The list goes on. We suggest that you obtain a contract and do your best to make sure that it is being adhered to. Speaking to the locals is always a good idea as they may be able to assist you with your choice.

Check out our property managemnet and adverising services

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How should I manage my bookings?

Bookings/Availability calendar


Organisation, organisation, organisation! It cannot be overstressed. Decide on your changeover day and remember that if you take a booking for a part week, you will lose any revenue from the remaining dates that are unfilled. You may prefer to write your booking details into a diary or for the more IT literate among you, perhaps store the information directly onto your computer. Either way, it doesn't really matter, as long as your information is accurate and updated regularly. Don't forget that at lamangadreams.co.uk, you have free and unlimited use of the availability calendar to keep track of your bookings.

Set up a system of communication with your changeover provider and or booking agency, etc and update them as soon as possible after each new booking. Click here for a sample booking form which can be saved onto your computer or simply printed off.

Receiving and responding to enquiries


We ask our valued customers to respond quickly to all enquiries. If possible, make arrangements for your emails to be checked if you are away from home for any period of time, on holiday for instance. When receiving an enquiry, respond enthusiastically and in a professional manner. Keep your availability calendar up to date to avoid unnecessary email and telephone enquiries. If you are unable to accept a booking, please remember to refer your customer back to the site, for the benefit of other property advertisers
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How much should I charge for my property?


It is important to keep in mind your financial objectives when making such a decision. We would not presume to know what these are and therefore, suggest the following general points: Consider the type of property and its location, and make a comparison of similar properties for rent within the same area. This can easily be done by referring to regional pages on other holiday rental web sites related to your property location, Take into consideration the amount that you have invested since the purchase and calculate your 'break even' point. You must also consider the running costs for replacement items, utilities, changeovers and alike. Speak to local letting agencies if you are unsure or perhaps friends that you may know who own properties in the same vicinity.


Accepting a booking and taking payment


When you have received a confirmed rental request, it is good practice to confirm immediately that you have made a provisional booking for your customer. We recommend that definite bookings, however, should only be confirmed upon receipt of the deposit. Additionally, you should forward a rental contract with your request for payment of the deposit and ensure that the wording conforms to the regulations pertaining to the country in which your property is situated.

You should update your availability calendar as soon as possible at this point.

Cheques are the easiest and most common form of payment, however, you can increase your chances of rental revenue by accepting credit and debit cards.

This is a very simple process for both you and your customer and the service is readily available from companies such as Paypal.com. We do not personally recommend or endorse one particular company or it's products over another, but have simply listed Paypal.com as one of many providers, that may be able to assist you. Be aware however, that you will incur commission/handling fees for use of this service and must take this into consideration when deciding on your pricing structure.

Once you have received your deposit, you must remember to forward a confirmation of booking, request for the final balance, driving/travel instructions (caution: only send when in receipt of total balance payable) and contact details on arrival for gaining access to your property.

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Tax on overseas property lettings

Declaring income from overseas property lettings


If you live and pay tax in the UK you must declare rental income from overseas property lettings on the foreign pages of your tax return. If you pay foreign tax on the income, you can usually get credit for this against the UK tax you have to pay on it.

You have to declare any income you get from overseas property lettings on the supplementary foreign pages of the Self Assessment tax return.

For more information check out Direct.gov www.direct.gov.co.uk

La Manga Dreams recommends that owners seek legal/financial advice about rental incomes with regards to spanish tax responsiblities...... La Manga Dreams will not be held responsible for any tax issues that may arise for an owner receiving an income from their property

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