Owning a holiday home with family – some rules of engagement

Christmas is a time for families—and a time when family members are keen to take advantage of their jointly owned holiday homes. If you have a stake in a family property, it’s important to establish the rules of engagement, writes Angus Raine, Executive Chairman Raine & Horne.

Managing peak periods

For starters, family members would do well to agree to an accommodation schedule for the holiday home. Some weeks such as Christmas and Easter are more prized than others, but by taking a common-sense approach, it’s possible to come to a solution that’s suitable for all parties.

It might be that those family members, who can be more flexible with their time, may agree to stay at the property in non-peak times. Once an agreement is reached, these dates should be included in the accommodation schedule, which is then shared with all family members, Mr Raine notes.

Sharing the cleaning

Cleaning of a shared holiday home is another issue that should be addressed early. From the outset, all parties should agree about how the property should be left after a vacation stint.

To make sure the home is spick and span for every new arrival, all owners could agree to pay for a professional cleaner whenever they exit the property.

Also, don’t allow dirty linen to be an issue. To manage this, occupants could take their own linen to the holiday home and remove it with them when they leave.

At all times, the holiday home should be left tidy. And don’t forget to leave behind a full gas bottle for the barbecue.

Repairs and maintenance

It’s important to agree on how repairs and maintenance will be funded. One method is to contribute to a sinking fund, not unlike those used in strata arrangements, where all owners contribute an amount. Each owner’s contribution to the sinking fund could be calculated on how often they use the property.

Alternatively, maintenance and repairs can be paid as required, or if there are some handy types among the family, they can fix leaking taps, slap on some paint and maintain the gardens themselves.

“If either of these options does not work for the family, then a good old-fashioned working bee could be a great way to keep the holiday home spick-and-span. By getting the owners together to do the maintenance work, the owners will not only save money, but it is a fantastic opportunity for a family bonding session.”

Breakages should be addressed immediately. If you crack a glass or lose some cutlery, fess up and replace it. It’s only fair that when the next family members arrive at the shared holiday home that they can use a kitchen that is well-stocked with the basics such as plates, cups and glasses

Take the time to put these strategies in place and owning a share in a holiday home will prove to be one of the shrewdest decisions you’ll ever make.