A leading figure in the short lets sector is advising tenants to “take the pub home” this Christmas.
Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association says demand for short let accommodation is “going through the roof” and her group has created seven guidelines “that will help people have a special Christmas with their friends and families in a safe and secure way.”
One of them says: “Take the pub home – because you’ll only be able to go the pub in one household group, regardless of whether or not you are in your Christmas bubble, why not order the food and drinks from the pub and take them home. Fix up a dartboard, crank up Spotify and you can create your very own home pub atmosphere at home. Without the worry of last orders!”
In recent years there have been numerous concerns expressed about the regulation of short lets, the conduct of tenants and the practicality of policing the properties.
The STAA says: “More people than ever are expected to rent a property near to their families this Christmas as they look to make the most of the relaxed guidelines and see their loved ones that they may not have seen all year. The STAA has created a seven-point plan to show how private rented accommodation can help people make the most of their ‘Christmas in a bubble’.”
And Karr says: “The rules governing accommodation have changed so many times this year that we felt it was important to establish clarity on what is permitted and to provide people with some tips to make this a Christmas to remember.
“Renting a property near, or with, their loved ones will give people the flexibility they need to be with their friends and family this Christmas in a safe and compliant way. Either whole families can rent a property together and get away for a special Christmas or they can rent properties close to their family members’ homes to enable them to stay overnight in accordance with government guidelines during the core period December 23 to 27 and be able to visit outdoors during the build-up and aftermath.”
The seven points are:
1. Rent out a private home or do a house swap: “Renting out a whole property that can accommodate up to three households will enable many families and friends to get together in their usual groups. Renting near to family could allow everyone to meet up over the five days of Christmas even if there isn’t enough room for everyone to stay overnight in one house”;
2. Stay near family who don’t live close to you: “With no travel restrictions across the UK, rather than stay at home, rent a flat or house and visit friends and family you have been wanting all year to spend time with. You can form a bubble and see them over the whole period without the burden of them having to put you up.”
3. Take the pub home: “Because you’ll only be able to go the pub in one household group, regardless of whether or not you are in your Christmas bubble, why not order the food and drinks from the pub and take them home. Fix up a dartboard, crank up Spotify and you can create your very own home pub atmosphere at home. Without the worry of last orders!”
4. Let locals deliver your Christmas treats: "The massive growth in home deliveries is not restricted to the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat. Many local bakeries, markets, wine shops and restaurants offering pre-prepared meals will be delighted to deliver your treats to your rented accommodation, to make it a very special Christmas.”
5. Make every day special: “With the focus on the five day ‘Christmas bubble’ why not try and make every day special? Make Wednesday 23rd your Welcome Night and open a few bottles of champagne to get the festive period off to a bang. After Christmas Eve and Christmas Day why not have a Boxing Day BBQ or Ski Sunday lunch (on Sunday 27 Dec) and invite friends from outside your bubble to meet outdoors (and socially distanced of course)”;
6. Welcome your international bubble members: “If you have friends or family who want to join you for Christmas but live abroad in a country not on the UK’s travel corridor, they can enter the country and self-isolate in a private rented property for five days. If they then have a negative test they will be free to join you subject to the guidelines.”
7. Non-bubble household outdoor meets: “If your normal Christmas group is more than three households you’ll still be able to meet in groups of six outdoors. So, if you are a family of four, two of you can remain in your rented property and have four more people from outside your ‘Christmas bubble’ over to meet outside whilst the two other members visit others outside in a park or garden.”