All you need to know about holiday let wear and tear

We’re all used to wear and tear in our homes. Redecorating every few years, replacing the odd plate or wine glass occasionally, buying new towels perhaps every other season… And of course, broken appliances need fixing, leaks mending and roofing repairing. The same applies to your Cornish holiday let. Except that holiday let wear and tear becomes more of an issue. Not only because you need to keep everything in tiptop condition for your guests from one stay to the next, but because there’s more of it. Especially if you own a popular let with a high volume of visitors.

In this article, we look at what sort of wear and tear you should expect in your holiday let and how to deal with it efficiently and effectively. We also consider what to do when damage goes beyond what you’d expect from normal use and how to cope with this.

What to expect

All holiday lets are subject to more than the average wear and tear. Lots of people use the property especially in high season and not all of them treat it as they would their own home. This means that all fittings and furnishings have a shorter life span than they do in a home.

You should therefore expect to have to redecorate your holiday let more often – perhaps once a year – and regularly buy new items such as crockery, glassware, household linen and upholstery. You may also find yourself replacing appliances every few years as the extra usage takes its toll.

Top tip – keep a spare supply of the basics (towels, glasses and crockery) so you can easily replace these items at short notice.

Kids on sofa

Children and pets

If you allow children and/or pets to stay in your Cornish holiday let, expect even more wear and tear. Even the best behaved children scuff walls, bounce on beds and get chocolate on the sofa cushions. Flooring, particularly carpets, and upholstery take an extra toll from dogs as does paintwork.

How to reduce the stress of wear and tear

The best way to stress less about wear and tear in your holiday let is to accept it as part of the business. Accidents do happen and appliances do break down. As well as taking it on board there are also ways of reducing the stress and avoiding unpleasant surprises.

Top tip – don’t be too precious about your holiday let – it’s a home to have a holiday in, not a museum!

Screen your guests

Before you let your Cornish property for the first time, decide exactly who you’re going to allow to stay in it. Set out a clear policy on whether you let to families, holidaymakers with pets, large parties, etc. State this in your marketing material.

Then use your first contact with potential guests to get an idea of who they are and what they’re like. Trust your instincts on this and don’t be afraid to say no to guests you’re not sure about.


Make it clear

Include a clause about damage and breakages in your booking contract. You might ask guests to replace directly or refund you for them or take a security deposit to cover these eventualities.

If you take a deposit, be aware that this may not cover large items such as a TV so decide what you’ll do when a large-ticket item is involved. Your holiday let insurance policy or your guests’ household insurance may cover this sort of breakage.

Include the same clause in your Welcome Book as a reminder to guests. And ask them to inform you of any breakages and damage as soon as they happen so that you can fix or replace items promptly.

Top tip – remember that it’s more important for your guests to enjoy their stay at your holiday than worry about maintaining it in pristine condition so keep the warnings about breakages and damage clear but low-key.

How much does it cost to buy a holiday let in Cornwall?

Set up a fund

One of the ways of lessening the blow of holiday let wear and tear is to be prepared for it financially. Set up a contingency fund and use it for repairs and replacements. Keep the fund topped up regularly and factor it into your accounts.

Top tip – set aside a percentage of every booking for your contingency fund.

TV with smashed screen

When it isn’t wear and tear

Scuffed carpet and chipped mugs are to be expected in a busy holiday let. Blocked toilets and broken roof tiles happen in any household. Smashed TVs, trashed upholstery and broken bed bases do not. They go beyond average wear and tear into the realm of malicious damage. Fortunately, this is rare in holiday homes and even less likely if you screen your guests.

However, just because it’s infrequent doesn’t mean that malicious damage doesn’t happen. To lessen its effects it’s a good idea to do the following:

    • Regularly inspect the property and always immediately after guests have left. Take note and photos of any damage beyond normal wear and tear so you have a record of it.
    • If the guests haven’t already told you about the damage (and hopefully offered to pay for it), contact them yourself. If you’ve got a security deposit and it covers the damage, inform them of this. If not, ask guests to pay for the damage.
    • Take out comprehensive holiday let insurance that covers accidental and malicious damage. Make sure the policy includes damage by pets if you allow animals to stay in your property.

Top tip – shop around for your insurance policy but make sure you compare like with like. A cheaper policy may not include accidental damage or have a high excess.

Ask the experts

In our 50+ years in Cornish holiday rentals, we’ve seen it all when it comes to holiday let wear and tear, and beyond. Take advantage of our experience and let us offer you some useful advice on how to deal with this aspect of the holiday home business. You can get in touch with us here.