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BHA calls for home exchange sites to improve safety regulations

17 July 2014 by
BHA calls for home exchange sites to improve safety regulations

The British Hospitality Association has called for home exchange websites to improve their safety regulations after fears over guests' health and security.

Home exchange websites allow private home owners to rent out their space for visiting tourists (such as through websites AirBnB). In some cases, each party moves into the other's house in return (such as via Homeswapper.co.uk).

However, the BHA has warned that private homes may not meet health, safety and security standards, which could hurt guests and damage the UK's reputation as a safe destination.

Fire checks were a particular concern, as guests may not know how to operate strange alarm systems, as was the proper maintenance of boilers, gas, appliances and other equipment. Furniture should also be fire retardant, and houses should be kept clean to minimise pests. There were also concerns about the potential for anti-social behaviour.

The BHA also called on home exchange websites to make sure all accommodation complies with mortgage and tenancy agreements.

It welcomed AirBnB's recent announcement that it would send carbon monoxide detectors to home owners registered on its site, and encouraged all websites to follow suit.

Jackie Grech, legal and policy director for the BHA said: "We want everyone to enjoy British hospitality. Our role is to champion better standards across the industry. Tourists should be free to choose to stay in whichever accommodation they prefer. However, they must be afforded the same basic health and safety protection…from unnecessary risk."

The BHA seeks to represent businesses and employees in the hospitality sector, and spans over 40,000 establishments. It campaigns on issues such as employment, sustainability and regulation.

BHA targets restaurants and caterers for "Big Conversation" jobs push >>

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