The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Cottage Maintenance

Own a holiday cottage? Property maintenance is essential.

Use This Detailed Maintenance Guide for Your Holiday Property.

Holiday cottages get a great deal of wear and tear, more so than a property that is occupied for the long term.

If you need more bookings, find out more here.


Why Do I Need a Maintenance Checklist

As guests will enjoy your holiday let to the fullest, this often means items can get broken, lost or damaged.

While this can be irritating, it is part of the holiday cottage ‘deal’.

You can make this time-consuming aspect of holiday cottage management much easier by having a cottage maintenance checklist.

Also, maintaining your property is important for your insurance policy.

As a rule of thumb, insurance policies will not cover general wear and tear or damage due to lack of maintenance.

It is therefore in your best interests to look after your holiday let as well as you can.

Having a good inventory of your cottage’s content is also helpful.

Find out more here.

Regular Checks and Repairs

From a broken glass to a totally trashed fridge, anything can go wrong.

In the main, guests will let you know if anything goes wrong; some, however, will not.

Therefore, regular checks and ongoing repairs can help keep things ticking over.

It can help you avoid any nasty surprises or last-minute panics between lets.

DIY or GSI … it’s up to you

Depending on your budget, circumstances and daily routine, you could do some of the maintenance yourself.

Or, if you have the budget, then you can GSI … get someone in!

Late winter is a good time to do the bigger jobs.

Bookings tend to be slower and you’ve got Easter coming up.

Get in the Experts

Gas checks, PAT testing, boiler servicing, hot tub servicing, sweeping chimneys, WiFi upgrades …

All these important aspects of cottage safety should be carried out by qualified individuals and usually on an annual (or more frequent) basis.

Qualified individuals include gas safety experts, electricians and more.

If you haven’t got one already, you could create a contact book or similar for all your engineers so you can get in touch with them quickly.

When you get your boiler checked, it’s also a good time to check pipes and taps too.

For the winter months, lagging of pipes is essential to prevent freezing and burst pipework.

Ensuring any radiators are in working order is also an essential task.


Wear and Tear

Depending on the age of your property and the quality of its ventilation, you might see patches of mould.

Ensure these are cleaned and treated as soon as possible.

Opening windows can help air to circulate.

Consider a dehumidifier, installing an extraction fan and other measures if damp occurs.


Room By Room

Let’s start with the bedrooms.

Check the following:

Bed linens

Pillows and curtains … Do these require washing or even replacing?

Rugs and carpets

Overturn the mattress

Replace mattress protectors if needed

Check furniture, painting, windows and lighting too


The bathroom needs the following areas checked, cleaned thoroughly, repaired or replaced:

Grouting and tiles

Damaged or mouldy silicone

Plugs and drains

Dripping taps

Towels that are looking tired or grubby

Bathroom cupboards

Floors, ceiling and walls

Door handles and locks

Bathroom lights and light switches

Window blinds … Do they need replacing?

Check the toilet is in good working orders, along with the bath, wash basin and shower. Shower trays and doors can sometimes need pulling out and replacing.


Next: the Kitchen

This hardworking room in your holiday cottage will have multiple elements to check.

This is where your cottage inventory comes in very handy too.

The checklist should include:

Checking cutlery, crockery, glassware, all pans, dishes, utensils, knives and more against your inventory and seeing if anything needs replacing.

Remember to update your inventory with any items you add or replace.

The kitchen itself will also need a facelift, usually in the form of:

Resealing around worktops

Checking worktops aren’t damaged

Defrost and clean fridge and freezers

Check the kettle … does it need descaling?

Check sink pipes and taps

Do any wash up items need replacing such as drainers, bowls or more

Check the dishwasher is in tip top working order

Check the tumble dryer and washing machine

Deep clean the oven, hob and grill

The Lounge and other Living Areas

You might have a snug, dining room, lounge, sitting room or a mix of these.

Items to check include:

Upholstery, rugs, soft furnishings

Carpets and curtains

Coffee tables and similar

TV and remotes

Wifi routers

Ornaments … do they need cleaning, replacing or do you need them at all?

The Loft

If your cottage has a loft then check for leaking pipes, insect infestation, and any signs of storm damage.

Outside the Property

Brickwork, fencing, gates, driveways … all these have to be checked regularly.

Nipping a problem in the bud tends to save money in the long run.

If your property has wooden door frames and similar, then these will need checking and maintaining.

Paintwork might also need a touch up to keep it looking great.

Masonry cracks can also appear, particularly after a hot, dry spell.

Drains are essential for the smooth flow of water and waste from your property and any problems should be tackled straight away.

If you have a septic tank, then does it need emptying?

Oil-fired central heating systems are also something that need attention; ordering oil ahead of winter is sometimes a good option.

Open Spaces and Gardens

You might be a keen gardener, or employ someone to do the green fingered tasks.

If your cottage has a garden, then keeping it looking good is part of the experience you offer your guests.

Gardens always need future planning, from planting to pruning.

Check the status of any garden sheds, summerhouses and play equipment (which should be checked daily).

Other outdoor jobs include checking gutters and drains, checking for any hazardous surfaces and ensuring any water features are safe.

Garden furniture may also needs an annual thorough clean.

If you can security lights or garden lights or even burglar alarms, then these need checking too.

Paperwork Checks

Holiday cottage owners will know that lots of paperwork is involved with running a staycation letting business!

This includes risk assessments, health and safety policies, fire regulations, terms and conditions and more.

They are all important but one that needs regular checking is your fire risk assessment and the tasks involved.

The following should be checked regularly:

Smoke alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms

Fire extinguishers … are they the right ones and still in date

Check furnishings comply with fire safety regulations

Is it clear where the fire door or doors are located?

Have you minimised all risks associated with fire?

You will also need to check the Risk Assessment for your cottage or holiday venue.

Areas to consider are slips, trips and falls among other elements.

What To Do Next

If this sounds like a lot of hard work, if you leave it to do ‘all at once’ then it is a mountain to climb!

Some of the tasks above will be done when you do a change-over, anyway.

Unfortunately, we work in a very customer-critical industry.

Challenging guests will either not let you know if something is wrong, or will give you a list as long as your arm if given the chance!

Some feedback is very helpful.

Other comments can sometimes just be a personal choice and while you can consider them, you might not wish to implement them.

Here at Vista Retreats, we list properties that go that extra mile for their guests.

Find out more here.