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Accidents happen and as an owner you need to expect some guest damage in your Cotswolds holiday home at one point or another. But what do you do about it? And who pays for it?

Read on for our guide on how to deal with guest damage and how to protect yourself.

Assessing the damage

Firstly, you must assess the severity of the damage. A broken glass, chipped  crockery or scuffs on the paintwork should be classed as wear and tear and absorbed into the general maintenance of the cottage.

However, if there’s red wine on the carpet, a burnt kitchen worktop or a broken TV, this can be trickier to resolve. These things happen to all of us, at home as well as when we’re on holiday.

Most guests will be honest and respectful of your holiday cottage and let you know that an accident has occurred.

You may even find guests offering to replace or repair whatever it is that is damaged. But, in the odd incidences where this doesn’t happen and guests have caused damages and not been upfront about it, it is important to stay clear-headed and methodical.

What can you do?

At Manor Cottages, our advice to our owners is first and foremost to think about this even before it happens. You must make sure that your insurance covers a holiday let from the beginning.

If your property is self-managed / owner managed, you will need to carry out the next steps by yourself. If however, your property is managed by Manor Cottages, we will organise the repairs or replacements for you.

Firstly, once the damage is done, you will need to start by getting photographic evidence of the damage. Establish the facts, if you can, from the guests and try to avoid conflict. It’s important to avoid anger and personal comments, even if the guest is angry and agitated.

Next, get a financial figure for the repair. It’s good to involve the guest here, explain that you will get a quote for the damage and that you will send them a copy.

Lastly, should the guests contest the outcome, make it clear that you wish to pursue it further. Give them the chance to contribute, judge the right and wrong if possible, ask them for their input.

What if you can’t resolve the situation?

Following these steps will, in most cases, resolve the situation. But if it doesn’t, the final step would be the small claims court.

An official notification from a small claims court often results in a payment in your favour. But do note that, reassuringly, in the vast majority of cases, it never comes to this.

Good housekeeping bond

If you have valuable items or the property has features that you’re worried about, you could look to take a security deposit. This is known as a good housekeeping bond at Manor Cottages.

There are pros and cons to this however, it could give you reassurance that any damages would be covered.

One of the cons to this would be that some people might not look to book the property due to fear of not enjoying their stay.

Chat to one of our specialists for any advice about guest damage in your holiday home or about letting your cottage by calling us on 01993 824 252 or email

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash | Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash