Whilst this time of year can see an increase in bookings for your holiday home, the first few months of the new year are often the quietest period when occupancy is at its lowest, this known as the low season or ‘off-peak’.
The off-peak season for most holiday homes, including in the UK, usually comes at a time when the weather is at its worst. So you will need to do more than simply shutting-up home for a few months to ensure that your property is in its best condition for when the weather starts to improve again and bookings begin coming in thick and fast.
Prepare Your Holiday Home for Bad Weather
You need to make sure that your property will withstand any bad weather during the off-peak season. Strong winds and snowstorms can cause some significant damage, so do a visual inspection of the property to make sure that your home will be able to withstand these weather conditions should they occur.
- Prune back any trees and bushes with large low-hanging branches, strong winds could see these damage not only your property but potentially your neighbour’s property too.
- Check roof slates for any signs of damage or any loose slates. This is one of the most common causes of property damage during bad weather. Roof damage is usually covered by insurance, but not if the roof is in a state of disrepair to begin with.
- Avoid frozen pipes by ensuring that they are properly insulated and that the heating remains on during the off-peak season. Set it to a minimum temperature to help keep your pipes from freezing.
- Check your drains for signs of blockages. Blocked drains can cause significant damage to property. Remember that all the leaves fell from the trees just before the off-peak season began, and are blowing around on the ground. With the increased levels of water running through the drainage systems due to potential heavy snow and rain, your drains need to be free to handle the excess water.
Prepare Your Holiday Home for Potential Theft
The absence of visitors to your holiday home during the off-peak season means that there is more potential for break-ins. Most thieves are opportunists and abandoned holiday homes during off-peak seasons provide an abundance of opportunities.
- Ensure that all of the doors to the property are locked once your guests have departed. Adding locks to windows throughout your property can also provide a strong defence against break-ins. If you use a key safe, make sure that the code for this is changed on a regular basis.
- Get someone to check in on the property regularly. Having visitors sporadically check on your holiday home over the off-peak season will help to minimise the chances of a break-in. This is helpful not only from a security perspective, but also to help highlight any maintenance problems.
- Install a burglar alarm if you don’t already own one. Ensure that your holiday home has a working burglar alarm, especially when you don’t have any guests. Talk to a security specialist about what would be the best type of alarm to use in your holiday home.
- Make yourself familiar with exactly what contents are in your holiday home. If you only visit the property every now and again you may not be aware of any items going missing.
Pay attention to any conditions regarding security and maintenance in your holiday home insurance policy and ensure that you have the correct conditions in place. These conditions are there to help you minimise the risks to your property. You will also feel more confident that you have taken care of your property in the vent of having to make a claim.