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Recap of holiday home news: 13 October 2009

Reading Time: 4 minutes

New swimming pool alarm rules in France – connexionfrance.com

Holiday home and gite owners in France should take note that new regulations have been introduced for alarms in private swimming pools, because current laws are not being adequately obeyed or enforced.

Since 2003, owners of submerged pools in France have been required to provide a system of security to prevent the risk of children drowning. Four different forms of security are permitted – an alarm, fencing, pool cover, or a shelter.

It is estimated that around half of pools still lack a security system, and that drownings in private pools continue to be unacceptably high. In 2006, 55 people died from drowning in a private pool, of whom 21 were children under six years old.

The regulations state that:

– The alarm must operate 24/7;
– Be capable of detecting the fall of a child of 6 kilos;
– Be child tamper proof;
– Be immune to atmospheric conditions;
– Include a signalling system that clearly shows that it is operating satisfactorily.

Is your pool security up to the required standard? Also check that you have adequate public liability insurance that covers the use of your swimming pool by holidaymakers.

Another letting scam targets students and tourists

guardianWith similarities to the morairaway scam, online fraudsters are targeting British students and foreign holidaymakers by purporting to rent out property that does not exist. The scams work by offering rental property in prime areas at below market rents and asking for deposits, or in some cases full payment upfront.

Potential tenants are persuaded to part with credit card details or cheques before seeing the property, which then turn out to not exist.

Tourists, have also lost thousands of pounds through an internet fraud involving non-existent holiday apartments. Holidaymakers from overseas have arrived in London to discover that flats they paid for in advance either have fake addresses or no connection with the website through which they were booked.

How to avoid being conned if you are a holidaymaker:

  • Don’t pay for services or goods via money transfer agents such as Western Union or MoneyGram
  • Use a credit card for payments over the internet – this can provide insurance against fraud
  • Be wary of UK phone numbers starting 070 – these can be routed anywhere in the world
  • Google the name of the website or agency you plan to use plus the word ‘scam’ or ‘fraud’ to check its legitimacy

Legalities when letting Spanish holiday homes – spanishnews.es

There have been reports of holiday home owners being fined up to €30,000 for renting out their homes without a licence. Before investing in a holiday let in Spain, check the letting regulations which apply as they vary by region.

In Murcia for example, you need to register with the department of tourism before you can rent a private property to tourists, and can be fined for not doing so. In Andalusia, on the other hand, you only have to inform the local government of your plans, and in the Valencian region you don’t need to do anything.

A recent survey found that 82% of (mainly British) respondents didn’t know whether rental licences were required.

Although you could contact the local authority to see if a ‘tourism licence’ is required, you should always clarify your case with a local lawyer.

The top UK holiday destinations of summer 2009

telegraphWith the number of Britons taking a ‘staycation’ soaring this year, buying a UK holiday home could be a wise investment.

According to VisitEngland, more than 12 million British holiday makers took a summer break in the UK this year, a rise of 14 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with 2008. This amounts to 2.6 million more holiday trips and more than 9.1 million extra nights taken.

Buying in the right location is important, but where?

The top UK holiday destinations of summer 2009:

1. Blackpool
2. Brighton
3. Bournemouth
4. Newquay and Cornwall
5. Cotswolds
6. Lake District
7. Scottish Highlands
8. Western Isles
9. London
10 Llyn Peninsula, North Wales

The ‘staycation’ trend is expected to continue next year as the self-catering operator Hoseasons says its advanced bookings for 2010 are already up by 61 per cent.

It will be interesting to see what impact the washout UK summer has on next years bookings, and if people choose to holiday abroad where they are more likely to be guaranteed good weather.

Former maths teachers selling £180m buy-to-let property empire

mailJudith and Fergus Wilson, the former maths teachers and proud owners of a £180 million property empire, are selling their portfolio of between 700 and 900 houses.

If they sell their portfolio for the £180million asking price, after paying off their borrowing debt (£45million) and taxes, they will retire with a cosy nest-egg of around £100million.

It will be interesting to see if they get their asking price.

Earthquake off the northern Costa Blanca

On the 29 September there were reports of a light earthquake reaching 3.2 on the Richter Scale, which hit the Gulf of Valencia. The tremor was felt in Gandia, Oliva and Tavernes de la Valldigna.

If you own a Spanish property in this area, check for signs of damage.

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