Europe is one of the most popular destinations for motorhome owners due to the fact that once you cross the channel you can then drive to any country you like! Furthermore, due to the fact that Europe is so large and made up of so many different countries there are multiple experiences to be had and endless opportunities for a fun day out. But what do you need to know about Europe before you go?
Every country in Europe has their own busy period so you need to do some research first before you go! For example, getting to the South East of France during the ski season could be extremely difficult, and if you haven’t booked a caravan site ahead you may find it hard to find somewhere to park your motorhome legally in the evenings. Don’t forget that traffic will probably be a nightmare around this time too, so make sure you have plenty of fuel and your motorhome insurance documents in case you break down!
Being from England we are all well aware that every country which is part of the European Union doesn’t use the Euro as currency, which means that you need to check the currency of each country you are planning on visiting before you go. For example, if you are planning on going to Denmark you will need to exchange your money for Krone, however keep in mind you will probably want to take some Euros with you as well for when you are travelling through different countries along the way! It may also be a good idea to invest in a debit card that doesn’t charge if you take money out abroad, that way no matter where you end up you know you are covered!
Laws and Culture
Even though Europe is just across the channel from us the laws and culture in many countries may surprise you. There are some that are obvious, like driving on the right hand side of the road and reading speed signs in kilometres instead of miles per hour, but others may be more elusive. Some countries require more paperwork than others to visit, so you need to make sure all of this is done before you get to the border! You should also make sure that everywhere you plan to visit is covered on your motorhome insurance, as even if you have European cover you may find there are some which are excluded!
One of the great things about Europe is that as it is so close you will probably find areas you love that you will visit again and again. Just make sure that you plan ahead and learn everything you need to know about the country before you go!
On Wednesday we discussed how this year’s Budget would affect those in the restaurant trade, and today we are looking into how it will change the private rented accommodation sector in the next twelve months. Housing was one of the most important topics for the Budget this year as not only is there a massive shortage of housing across the UK but also an increase in the amount of people now renting properties as they cannot afford to get onto the property ladder. Here we explain some of the key points of the Budget that will affect landlords the most:
Lack of housing throughout the UK has led to the government making some rather unpopular decisions recently, such as introducing the ‘bedroom tax’ which will lead to anyone living in a property that has a ‘spare room’ having their housing benefits cut. At the same time as trying to use what property is currently available to the best of its ability, the government is also investing heavily in the construction sector, however they have stated that they are not planning on borrowing more money for projects as this could adversely affect markets.
As well as investing in housing construction, the government have also launched a new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme that will give 20 per cent loans to anyone that manages to save a 5 per cent deposit for a new property. The aim of the scheme is to help first and second-step buyers and improve the overall market; however there have already been criticisms from members of the housing industry. Many have argued that previous schemes of this type have not worked, and that the government should invest more in the private rented sector as at this point in time it is providing more accommodation for people across the UK than privately owned houses.
Even though the government is against borrowing more money for housing projects, George Osborne is planning on incentivising banks to lend more money to those in the housing sectors. This is good news for landlords as it means it may become easier to gain funds for buy-to-let properties and expand their portfolios. This also means that landlords may be able to remortgage their properties more easily in the future, which will help with their overall business. Landlord insurance providers will also be happy to hear that landlords will have more access to funds as it means there will be less chance of them defaulting on their payments.
Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced his annual budget, and as per usual there are changes concerning taxes and government spending. As a restaurant owner you may not think that most of this will affect you, but there are actually many changes that will have an impact on the overall income of your business. Here we look at some of the changes in the Budget that will affect restaurant owners:
The Price of Beer
When most people go out for dinner they like to enjoy a drink with their meal, however the recent increase in alcohol costs put in place by the government has led to many pubs and restaurants struggling to attract customers. In order to combat this George Osborne has announced that the price of beer will be cut by a penny per pint, however this cost will be covered by an increase in the cost of wine and spirits. This is important for restaurant owners to consider when ordering stock, as it means that they will have to consider the change in prices when it comes to deciding what to order and how much it will cost.
One of the most important pieces of information that the Budget revealed today is that the UK deficit has not decreased by the amount George Osborne originally projected, meaning that the government will have to make more cuts and for a longer amount of time. However, it seems that income tax will not be affected; in fact in 2014 the tax free allowance will actually increase to £10,000, so that on average each person will have £700 more each year. You will need to keep an eye on these changes when it comes to paying your staff or filling out your tax forms each year, although help will be at hand through the HMRC website.
Cost of Living
It is well known that during times of financial difficulty most people have to give up certain luxuries like visiting restaurants which is bad for the industry. However, as one of the main aims of this years’ Budget is to reduce the cost of living for a large proportion of the UK those that work in the restaurant and leisure industries may start seeing an increase in customers. This is good news for restaurant owners who may start to see even more income each year that will also help towards the cost of running their restaurant, restaurant insurance payments and expanding as a company.
If you own a restaurant you will know that you are typically rushed off your feet, and because of this no matter how careful you are accidents can happen. There are also occasions where damages occur through no fault of your own, which is why investing in restaurant insurance is so important. So how does restaurant insurance protect you and your business?
Kitchens are known to be dangerous areas where a myriad of things can go wrong. The most obvious danger in a kitchen is fire, which can often spread quickly and cause thousands of pounds of damage in a matter of minutes. However, there are also dangers that you probably haven’t even thought about, such as electrical wirings that can become worn down over time and can also cause a fire to start. As you never know what could happen, investing in more than the legally required amount of smoke and fire alarms is a wise decision; just don’t forget to test them all every month!
Unfortunately, most restaurant kitchens contain equipment that is expensive and therefore is often targeted by thieves. Furthermore, even if you have an alarm system fitted, this doesn’t always deter vandals who may also damage your restaurant whilst it is closed for the evening. There is also the problem of bad weather that can damage your drains and ultimately force you to close until they are fixed, which is why having a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy can not only save you money but also get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.
What would you do if a member of staff forgot to put a ‘wet floor’ sign down whilst cleaning and a customer tripped and injured themselves? Well firstly, you would apologise, but unfortunately this is usually not the end of the matter as the customer could sue you for compensation. Restaurant insurance covers you for public liability, meaning that if you need to go to court or pay compensation you won’t have to cover the potentially expensive costs on your own.
When owning a restaurant it sometimes seems that anything could go wrong at any minute, which is why restaurant insurance is so important, as it not only protects your business but also gives you peace of mind!
Many landlords do not allow their tenants to sub-let their properties due to the fact that it means you could end up losing money. Furthermore, if your tenant does sub-let your property without you knowing you could find that your landlord insurance will not cover the extra tenant, or even worse become void. Here we give you everything you need to know about sub-letting:
Make the Rules Clear
All your tenancy agreements should clearly state that your tenants are not allowed to sub-let your properties without your explicit permission. You should also advise your tenants that if you find out they are sub-letting your property illegally then you will expect them to pay all the profits they made directly to you. Furthermore, if the person who sub-lets the property causes any damages then they and the other tenants will have to cover the costs themselves or both face eviction. This may sound strict but if your tenants know you are serious about sub-letting then they won’t try and chance it.
The Few Exceptions
There may the odd occasion where allowing your tenant to sub-let your property could be beneficial for you both, for example if they are planning on moving out a few months before your tenancy agreement ends. Leaving your property it unoccupied for a substantial amount of time could leave your house open to all kind of risks, so knowing someone is there could give you some peace of mind. If you do decide to let your tenants sub-let for a short amount of time make sure that you create a contract stating the exact amount of time the sub-let will be for, and who will be moving in.
Social landlords in particular are at risk of having their properties sub-letted by those that commit housing fraud. There are a few scammers out there who fake information in order to gain social housing and then let it out for profit, and unfortunately you will only find this out when it’s too late. If you do suspect any of your tenants committing housing fraud then you can talk to your local council who should help you with the case, and hopefully you will be able to evict the tenants quickly and let the property to those that truly need it.
Landlords usually have a gut feeling when it comes to their tenants and whether they are trying to hide something from you. Keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour and remember, you always have the right to ask for an inspection if you feel it is necessary.
There have been a number of articles in the news recently concerning motorhome owners that have found themselves in dangerous situations, which is why we feel that it is important all motorhome owners have a plan of action before they head off if worse comes to worse. Here we look at some of the dangers you could encounter when it your motorhome and what you can do to combat them:
One of the biggest dangers to motorhome owners is fire, especially as in a motorhome it can spread quickly and destroy not only your vehicle but also your personal belongings. If you are in a caravan park then make sure you take precautions when cooking: never leave food unattended, make sure you have a fire alarm fitted, and never barbeque too close to your motorhome. If you are on the road and you notice smoke or fire coming from your motorhome then you need to pull over straight away, get as far away from the vehicle as possible and don’t attempt to collect your belongings. Call 999 as soon as you are safe and don’t go near the vehicle until you are told to do so.
Carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous for motorhome owners; especially as in confined spaces it can damage your health extremely quickly. Furthermore, carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by the gas appliances inside your motorhome and also from fumes coming from your exhaust. In order to stay safe make sure that you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in your motorhome and check it at least once a month. You should also make sure that if there is ever any damage to your exhaust that you get it fixed straight away – your motorhome insurance will generally cover the costs and keep you safe.
Even though nearly all motorhomes come with alarms and locks as standard, this is sometimes not enough to deter thieves. Thieves are also generally opportunists, so even leaving your motorhome unlocked for a short period of time is dangerous. Make sure that your motorhome is always locked if you are not in it, and never leave any personal possessions visible as thieves could smash the windows, leaving you not only losing your belongings but also having to pay to get your vehicle repaired. If you ever are the victim of theft make sure you call the police straight away, and create a list of everything that was taken from your motorhome.
Most motorhome owners go on trips so that they can relax and enjoy themselves, so taking a few precautions will ensure that you have a great time. Remember, if you are ever concerned with the safety of your motorhome you should take it to a mechanic before heading on the road – better to be safe than sorry!