Home swapping and renting

House keys

House swapping can be the perfect holiday-housing solution when you're on a budget because not only do you save money but you also get to enjoy home-from-home comforts.

Letting out your property is another inspired money move. Done right you could offset the cost of being away, and you won't have to worry about watering the plants.

Here are our how-to tips for house swapping and renting.
 

Tips for home swapping

  1. Lock up your valuables and confidential papers or give them to friends or neighbours for safe keeping.
  2. Passcode any computers you aren't taking with you and make sure your swappers have the password for your internet connection.
  3. Put away ornaments and breakables if you know small children will be staying.
  4. Leave out all the instructions for appliances, how to work the locks on the front and back door, what to do with rubbish and recycling and collection days. It would be useful to leave information on how to use the burglar alarm, including the security password in case they fail to deactivate the alarm in time. Also, it would be wise to give your visitor a list of emergency phone numbers, including your own, in case something breaks down or somebody is taken ill.
  5. If there are any appliances you don't want guests to use, label these clearly.
  6. Tell your neighbours what is happening and if possible appoint them as the first point of contact should your guests need help or advice. Also it might be an idea to give them spare keys in case your guests lock themselves out.
  7. "We have done it three times, once in France and twice in the UK and it was very successful. Once you've organised folders on how things work in your house and attractions/useful information in your area the first time, it gets easier. Kids love other kids' toys and gardens." Mumsnetter Maybee
  8. Clear some cupboard and drawer space if possible, so your guests can unpack and unload their food shopping.
  9. It might be a nice gesture to put together a special folder or book with transport maps, information about local shops and services, interesting places to visit, takeaway menus, babysitting and useful phone numbers eg local taxi firms.
  10. Make sure your home is really clean, the fridge is empty and fresh, beds freshly made and that you have left out spare bed linen and towels. This doesn't mean you need to erase all evidence of your existence. Part of the fun of home swapping is staying in a real home and signs of family life, photos, toys and things on the fridge are usually welcomed.
  11. Leave some simple provisions in the fridge too, such as milk and butter, plus tea and coffee, biscuits and bread, and a friendly welcoming note.
     

Tips if you're thinking of renting your home

  • Some local authorities don't allow short-term lets of less than 30 days, so make sure you check before you start advertising your des res. Peruse landlordlawblog.
  • The Fire Safety Law applies to all landlords, regardless of the length of tenancy. So you need to get a fire risk assessment otherwise you will be liable for prosecution if there is a fire. For more information, check direct.gov.uk.
  • Notify your home and contents insurer as your policy may not cover you renting your house.
     

Last updated: 19-Sep-2013 at 5:13 PM