Tom Melhuish 4 min read

Everything you need to know about your holiday lets water supply

British holidaymakers are increasingly opting for a holiday closer to home and finding their perfect stay on Airbnb. Homeowners are taking advantage of the staycation boom, with over 200,000 properties now used as holiday lets in the UK.

Airbnb hosts often ask us what actions they should take now their property is used as a holiday let. Here’s our guide to the most commonly asked questions:

How can I reduce water consumption?

Reducing water consumption at your Airbnb has the twin benefits of improving the environmental sustainability of your holiday home and lowering your water charges. These are two simple steps that are cheap and effective in reducing water consumption:

Toilet cistern reduction device – A cistern is the tank of water at the top of your toilet that stores water used in flushing. A cistern reduction device reduces the amount of water held in this tank to save up to three litres of water in each flush.

Tap aerators – Tap aerators fitted to the end of taps separates the flowing water into tiny streams separated by air gaps. The mix of water and air means your guests won’t notice a reduction in water pressure but the amount of water used is significantly reduced.

Should I fit my holiday property with a smart water meter?

Having a smart water meter on your Airbnb has the advantages of:

  • Helping to measure the water being consumed by your guests so you can stay in control of your utility costs.
  • Avoiding estimated bills from your water supplier.
  • Helping you detect increases in consumption that could indicate a water leak.
  • Saves you time by not having to take manual meter readings.

To upgrade to a smart water meter we recommend discussing directly with your water supplier, who can arrange for one to be fitted.

How does my holiday property get charged business water rates?

Holiday let properties with a water meter will be charged by their water supplier in two different ways:

Standing charges – Fixed charges each year for being connected to the potable water and sewerage system. Depending on your region, this could include highways and surface drainage charges.

Volumetric charges – A charge levied for each cubic meter of water used and returned to the sewerage system. The more water used at your property, the higher this charge will be.

Holiday lets should not be billed for VAT on their water bills.

Can I switch business water suppliers?

Switching to cheaper deals for utilities is a great way to save money and improve your investment return. The question we commonly get asked is, can I switch the water supplier for my Airbnb?

The British water market is only partially deregulated – properties classified as households cannot change water suppliers while non-household properties can choose their business water supplier.

The best way to find out if your property is included in the non-household open water market is to check if you are being invoiced by a water wholesaler (as a household) or by a business water supplier (as a non-household), the list to refer to is below:

Regional wholesalersBusiness water suppliers
Dwr Cymru CyfyngedigAnglian Water Business
Hafren Dyfrdwy CyfyngedigBrightwater
Scottish WaterBusiness Stream
Northumbrian WaterCambrian Utilities
Severn Trent WaterCastle Water
Southern WaterClear Business Water
South West WaterConservAqua
Thames WaterEverflow
United UtilitiesFirst Business Water
Wessex WaterPinnacle Business Water
Yorkshire WaterPure Business Water
Affinity WaterSource for business
Bristol WaterRegent Water
Portsmouth WaterSmarta Water
South East WaterVeolia Water
South Staffordshire WaterThe Water Retail Company
Sutton and East Surrey WaterWater Plus

If a business water supplier is billing you, then you are eligible to switch water suppliers. Use the AquaSwitch comparison service to find the best business water rates today.

I’ve recently opened an Airbnb – How do I move to the open water market?

If you have recently opened a new Airbnb and believe you now meet the definition of a non-household property, you can benefit from the open water market.

To get your holiday property added to the non-household water market, it’s necessary to contact a business water supplier directly and request that they take you on as a new customer.

Our ultimate guide to business water suppliers sets out the options you have and gives you direct contact information.

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