Fire Laws Put a Damper on `Hot' Rentals; FAMILY MAIL.PROPERTY,Muddle on Rules for Short-Lets
Byline: Anthea Masey
THEY are some of the most lucrative properties in the rental market - short-term lets.
Houses in areas close to major sports or arts events such as Wimbledon or the Edinburgh Festival can fetch up to [pounds sterling]2,500 a week in their peak periods.
Even more humble homes are sometimes let short-term for [pounds sterling]1,000 a week simply because their owners are on holiday.
But now new fire regulations have left agents wondering whether this growing business is under threat.
The laws on fire-resistant furnishings which came into effect in January are meant to save lives in rented property.
But they are spreading confusion in the industry.
Joanna Doniger of Tennis London, who specialises in finding places for tennis stars during Wimbledon, believes the regulations do not concern short-term lets and she does not tell owners to check their furnishings.
But the DTI says that even when a home is not let on a regular basis it is a business transaction and any such property must comply with the law, although in the end it is up to the courts to decide.
Guy Griffin of estate agent Foxtons reluctantly agrees.
`I tell people it is better to be on the safe side,' he says.
The regulations cover the fire resistance of upholstered furniture such as chairs, sofas, beds, mattresses, cushions, pillows and children's high chairs. …