Laura Brennen | Trainee Solicitor

Staycation gone wrong?

As a result of the pandemic, record numbers of us have decided to explore what is on our doorstep in Bonnie Scotland.  In the more rural areas of Scotland many of us find ourselves staying in holiday lets advertised via websites such as Airbnb. But what are your rights if when you arrive the holiday let isn’t quite up to standard or not what you were sold?

If when you arrive at your accommodation and discover that some of the advertised facilities were not there or not available for part of your stay, such as a hot tub or  less bedrooms than advertised, then there may have been a breach of contract.

You may be able to claim compensation for loss of enjoyment of your holiday and any losses you have incurred as a result of this breach.  If your holiday is completely ruined then it might be reasonable for you to get a full refund. Or, if the problem just reduced your enjoyment of a small part of the holiday, then your reasonable compensation will be less.

What evidence should you collect together?

  • You will need to show that the information given to you was factually incorrect; this could be taking a screenshot of the advert or web page showing what you were expecting.  Then collating further evidence while at the accommodation, such as photographs, to show this isn’t what you were expecting. 
  • You should also keep a list and receipts of any extra expenses you have had as a result of the problem. The amount you can claim must be reasonable and will usually need to be supported by evidence; such as if you were sold Bed and Breakfast with your accommodation, and there was no breakfast available, you may be able to claim the cost of breakfasts for your holiday.
  • Keep a record or diary of the impact on the holiday of the problem on you and your family. This can cover the inconvenience caused, activities you can’t enjoy (such as if there is not hot tub) and the impact on the holiday for you and your family.

Who should I speak to about the issue?

You should raise the issue as soon as possible. If you booked directly with the owner of the property you should raise your complaint with them and give them a chance to rectify the issue. If you do not, this may affect any compensation you are later awarded.

If you booked through a rental property agent or website, you should also raise the issue with them as they have a duty to ensure that the information they advertise is correct.  If you feel that the issue was solely that the rental property agent sold you amenities at the time of booking and that they were not there when you arrived then you should raise your complaint directly with them.

You can find out if the rental agent or owner of the property is part of a trade association, as they may have mechanisms for resolving the dispute. If you paid for more than £100 of your booking via credit card then you may be able to make a Section 75 claim via your credit card company.

If you exhaust the above options and still haven’t reached a resolution, you can explore potential Court Action for breach of contract. If the amount is under £5,000 you can use Simple Procedure in the Sheriff Court which is designed to be a user-friendly and cost-effective method to resolve disputes.  If the amount is over £5,000 then you will need to use the Ordinary Procedure in the Sheriff Court. We would recommend that you seek advice from a solicitor before commencing any Court Action.

Our Dispute Resolution team are experts in dealing with these types of claims and would be more than happy to assist you. Please contact us to set up an initial call and one of our team will call you back to discuss the next steps.

Laura Brennen

Laura Brennen

Laura is a trainee solicitor with Jackson Boyd. She commenced her traineeship with the firm in 2019.

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