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by / Owners

It feels as though the year has gone so quickly that it’s hard to believe Autumn is already here and Winter is just around the corner! These two seasons are wonderful times of the year for visiting Northumberland, but it’s worth paying attention to ensuring that your cottage, house or lodge is as secure as possible when you welcome winter guests.

Here’s our helpful checklist:

1. Check your heating:

By law you are required to have your gas appliances checked every 10-12 months, if these aren’t up to date, then it can be illegal to let the property.

During the winter months make sure the house is warm on arrival and the heating in good working order.  Regular yearly maintenance of your systems should help reduce the chances of a breakdown.

Why not diary a date in the quieter months, or even in the summer to get your systems checked so that they are ready for winter when they are needed the most and are ready for the year ahead.

Good idea: Guests arriving to a snug house is a great way to start a holiday, especially on a cold, winters evening!  Consider keeping the heating on a constant low temperature to ensure the house stays warm even when empty, and this can reduce the risk of pipes freezing and damp forming in the property. You can purchase a smart meter, which allows you to control the heating remotely.

3. Compliance:

Ensuring your public liability insurance, fire risk assessments and all electrical and gas safety compliances are up to date is very important.  Make yourself a note in your diary each year when this is due. If you require help or advice please contact our managed service team at Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages.

4. Gardens & Exterior:

First impressions count, how does your property look on arrival? Make sure the windows are clean, tidy the entrance area, sweep the patio, include a power wash of exterior paint and driveway. Sort out the garden and garden furniture, clean it down and keep it dry and covered over for use if needed, or for storage if weather is poor. In order to avoid blockage and leakages, clear the gutters of leaves.

Rock Lodge Ref. 1121885

5. General Maintenance:

With winter months generally being quieter, take time to consider what maintenance work needs doing following a busy holiday season, perhaps some paint touch-ups are needed or a full repaint, even re-decorating a room, can make such a difference. Consider an upgrade of appliances or furniture if old or worn.

Polished Pebble Ref. 1122043

Good idea: Regular checks of the property will help to spot a burst pipe or a missing roof tile or other urgent work to be done. Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages provide this service under our manged services package.  Alternatively, ask one of your neighbours or a family friend to check up on the property now and again and let you know if anything needs doing.

6. Deep Clean:

A thorough deep clean is essential at least once or twice a year, especially for kitchen appliances such as oven, fridge & freezer, windows, and paintwork. Make a note for a good time to book this in with your private cleaner or our housekeeping team. Your bedlinen has a limited shelf life with the number of washes and changes in a year. Check it’s not looking thin or grey and update it with fresh new linen when you can. This is a definite crowd-pleaser having lovely linen, cushions and towels!

7. Fireplaces:

If your cottage has a real fire or wood-burning stove,  we’d suggest getting the chimney swept in the summer when its not needed.  It’s always nice to leave a starter pack, the first bag of fuel or wood, and information about where to buy more should be included in the guest welcome pack/folder.

Ash Cottage Ref. 1125219


8. Guest Welcome Hamper:

Many of our properties supply guests with a welcome hamper, i.e tea, coffee, biscuits, juice or a cake and even a nice bottle of wine will make visitors feel welcome on a dark winter’s evening. It will be much appreciated after a long drive.

9.  Photography:

Images sell properties! If any changes have been made to your property, please let us know and we can arrange for some new photos to be taken. Even if its new soft furnishings! Guests like to see what they will expect on arrival plus your property looks refreshed and welcoming.

10. Dark nights:

Please check with us that we have the correct arrival times and travel directions to your property. As guests will be arriving in the dark throughout winter, it’s helpful if all the information we have is up to date to make things easy for your visitors if they don’t know your property or the area well. We always advise them to bring a torch too.

Top Tip:

We suggest having an inventory of what is in your property, mainly for owners and cleaners, this list can be reviewed at least once a year. It’s helpful for your guests, so you know they have everything they could possibly need (a good way of reducing complaints).  It also ensures you are keeping up with trends, such as music streaming systems and the latest in coffee machines.

We hope the above helps and if you would like to join our hundreds of happy Owners please contact us for a free information pack.  We are a local brand with a national reach and have over 40 years experience in the holiday letting market.  Find out more about how we can help maximise your letting income.   Request your Owner Pack today here

by / Owners