While we deck the halls of our homes and businesses in preparation for this highly unusual festive season, we also need to keep safety and hygiene requirements for our holiday rental properties in mind.
There’s no doubt COVID-19 has had an impact on how we travel and holiday in 2020. And as we look to next year, we can be certain that the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt long into 2021.
Staycations are here to stay
With travel becoming less about interstate and overseas tourism and more about connecting with friends and family closer to home, there is a decided shift in how people are choosing to holiday in Australia.
According to Airbnb, holidaymakers are taking a keener interest in holidaying in private homes or apartments. They are choosing to book smaller properties rather than overcrowded resorts and hotels. Better controlling safety and hygiene standards for their family and friends are driving this trend.
A COVID-safe season
While many strata property owners prefer long-term lease arrangements, it is important for owners to be aware of some of the risks associated with being part of the short-term rental market and how to avoid them.
Most State Governments require short-term holiday accommodation providers to follow the same COVID-safe guidelines as hotels. And with the ever-changing nature of the pandemic and the government’s response to new COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s essential to pay attention to government advice and implement this for the safety of staff, contractors and visitors.
Tips to “COVID-proof” your strata property
If you are considering renting your property out to short-term holidaymakers this festive season, here are some tips for committees, managers and property owners on how to best prepare to welcome holidaymakers them safely this festive season.
Committees & strata managers
- Stay abreast of social distancing regulations and make decisions that apply to your common areas accordingly. For most states, this would mean a one-and-a-half-metre distance between people (or one person per four square metres, whichever is the lesser).
- Maintain a register for people accessing common property facilities in a safe and secure place. This register would include names, phone numbers and email addresses of all visitors. Requirements differ from state to state (Queensland body corporate committees must maintain records for a minimum of 56 days, and Victorian committees for a minimum of 28 days), so speak with your strata manager and check local legislation to see what applies for your property.
- Record the contact details of contractors accessing the property to undertake maintenance works. This register should be stored in a safe and secure place, and include the name, company, phone number and email address of every contractor. Contractors must also include COVID-19 safety protocols in their Safe Work Method Statement.
- Check common area signage is up to date and easily accessible. Make sure you signpost lifts, entertainment areas, foyers, restrooms, indoor entertainment spaces and recreation rooms.
- Thoroughly disinfect high traffic areas and high touch surfaces such as lift buttons, intercoms, door handles, taps, railings and light switches, etc.
- For high-risk common areas such as pools and gyms, include instruction that facilities are not to be used by people who feel unwell and reinforce hygiene practices.
- Enforce advanced cleaning protocols that:
- allow adequate time between bookings to conduct a deep clean
- ensure you wash linen at the highest recommended heat
- detail how to disinfect high touch surfaces such as door handles and light switches
- includes clear instructions not to dilute disinfectants and cleaning products
- supply sufficient quantities of hand sanitiser
- space beds 1.5 metres apart wherever possible.
- Prepare a comprehensive COVID statement and leave it on the property. It should detail your commitment to cleanliness and hygiene, as well as a comprehensive summary of cleaning undertaken between bookings.
- Ensure you have a flexible cancellation policy. If holidaymakers know they may be eligible for a full refund in the case of a return to lockdown, they are more likely to book your property with confidence.
Plan ahead, be transparent and communicate the processes you have put in place to protect the health and safety of your visitors this festive season. By doing so, you’ll not only create a more comfortable and relaxing environment for your visitors, but hopefully encourage them to rebook for their next holiday.
If you’d like to find out more on successful hosting for short-term rental properties, download our FREE Community Living guide. Or to find out more on managing the health & safety for our property, find out more about our Community Health & Safety services. Our team is ready to assist you 24/7. Click here to find out more.