Hot tub regulations for holiday lets: Everything you need to know

Posted by Nick Clamp in Buying on 28th September 2021

Adding a hot tub to your holiday let is a great way of making your property more desirable and opening up the possibility of charging a premium price.

With demand for hot tub holidays booming, it’s also a great way of maximising your occupancy rates at all times of the year, especially out of season when relaxing in a hot tub during cold weather is the most enjoyable.

In the long run, it’s one of the highest ROI investments you’ll make in your holiday property.

But before you rush to a spa dealership, it’s important to understand the regulations you need to stick to once you have a hot tub in your holiday let. 

Believe it or not, there are specific health and safety regulations you’ll need to follow once your spa in installed: the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘The control of legionella and other infectious agents in spa systems’ (HSG282).

HSG282 guidelines are in place to ensure guests can rent a holiday home with a hot tub knowing it’s a clean and hygienic place to relax on their holiday.  

So, stick to these rules to make sure your guests are completely safe and you’re covered in the unlikely event something does go awry. 

Fail to do so and you’re putting your guests’ health on the line – and yourself at risk of a hefty fine.

In this short guide, we’ve boiled HSG282 down to the essential steps you need to take, which are:

  • Making sure you’ve got the right kind of hot tub.
  • Performing a risk assessment.
  • Maintaining your holiday let’s hot tub according to HSG282 standards.
  • Keeping records on all pertinent information.

While this is by no means a replacement for familiarising yourself with the official hot tub regulations for holiday lets, this article should help you get to grips with what’s required of you when you install a spa in your holiday rental.

Make sure you’ve got the right kind of hot tub

Photo © Vortex Spas

If there’s only ever going to be a household’s worth of people in your holiday let’s hot tub then you’re fine to use a domestic portable spa, as long as it meets the technical requirements laid down by HSG282, such as:

  • The capacity of the hot tub (its number of seats) is at least equal to or more than the berth capacity of the accommodation.
  • The hot tub should ideally have a water capacity equal to 250 litres per bather.
  • The hot tub should be capable of circulating and filtering the total water volume within 15 minutes.
  • It should be equipped with an in-line sanitiser tablet dispenser.
  • It should ideally be equipped with a secondary UV or Ozone system to oxidise the water as it passes through the circulation system.
  • The hot tub should not be equipped with an air blower unless there is a provision for automatically purging the air system every 12 hours.
  • Waterfalls are not recommended, especially if they can be turned off, as this can create plumbing system ‘deadlegs’ where water can become stagnant and contaminated.
  • Fast drainage facilities are also desirable since the hot tub will need to be fully drained either weekly or in between each guest stay (whichever is shortest).

However, if several accommodation units have shared access to a spa (such as at a holiday park or large hotel) then you’re legally required to install a commercial hot tub.

According to HSG282, for a hot tub to be fit for commercial use, it has to have:

  • A deck-level overflow.
  • A separate filter and continuous chemical feeder system.
  • A balance tank and plant room.

If your holiday let needs a commercial hot tub, be sure to ask a reputable hot tub dealership for their guidance on finding the right one for your property. 

Perform a risk assessment

Once you’ve got the right hot tub in place, you need to perform a risk assessment.

The HSG282 regulations are specifically designed to prevent hot tubs in holiday lets from harbouring dangerous bacteria that can make your guests ill. This risk assessment is therefore centred around the hygiene of your spa’s water. 

According to HSG282, your risk assessment should consider: 

  1. A clear allocation of management responsibilities, including the name, job title, and contact information for: 
    • The duty holder.
    • The responsible person and nominated deputies. 
    • Any service providers.
  2. A clear identification of roles and responsibilities related to maintaining the hot tub, including employees and contractors. 
  3. A description of the competence, training and instruction of key personnel, employees and contractors – including their training records. 
  4. Confirmation that consideration was given to reducing risk by elimination or substitution before implementing control measures. 
  5. A description of the hot tub that includes:
    • Its make, model, year of manufacture, and type.
    • An up-to-date schematic diagram of its component parts and associated equipment (i.e. filters, strainers, pumps, non-return valves). 
    • Any standby equipment, such as spare pumps.
    • A description of the:
      1. Associated pipework and piping routes. 
      2. Associated storage/balance tanks. 
      3. Chemical dosing/injection points.
      4. Water supply.
    • A rundown of any parts that are temporarily out of use. 
  6. An evaluation of the risk that includes:
    • A description of the potential for microbial growth and other health and safety issues (e.g. chemicals, working in confined spaces, electrical safety, ease of access to parts of the system, etc.).
    • A description of the compliance with the water safety elements of the water fittings regulations. 
  7. An assessment of the potential for the system to become contaminated with microorganisms (including legionella) and other material that considers: 
    • The source and quality of the make-up water.
    • The likelihood for airborne contamination.
    • The effectiveness of the biocide treatment. 
  8. Arrangements to review the risk assessment regularly – particularly when there’s a reason to suspect it’s no longer valid. 

While this list might seem daunting, the risks are generally pretty standard for most hot tubs.

If you understand the ins-and-outs of all the risks associated with operating a spa, you can perform this risk assessment yourself. 

However, if you’re not sure about what you’d be looking for, be sure to buy your hot tub from a WhatSpa? certified dealership, which will be able to advise you on this risk assessment.

If you have five or more employees, you’re required by law to record the significant findings of your hot tub risk assessment. If you have fewer than five employees then there’s no legal requirement to record anything.

No matter how many employees you have, a “written scheme of control” should be created based on the findings of this risk assessment. This should be included in the normal operating plan (NOP) – a document that sets out the way your spa operates on a daily basis and includes details about its layout, equipment, manner of use, user group characteristics, and any hazards or activity-related risks.

Provide people staying at your holiday let with all the information they need to stay safe

It’s your responsibility to make sure your guests have all the information they need to enjoy your hot tub safely during their stay.

You therefore need to provide guests with health and safety guidance as part of your guest information.

The HSG282 regulations recommend you advise guests to:

  • Use the toilet and shower before entering the hot tub. 
  • Not wear sun tan lotions, spray tans or skin creams in the hot tub. 
  • Not use the spa after a heavy meal or under the influence of alcohol or sedatives. 
  • Keep their head above the water in the hot tub.
  • Not exceed 15 minutes’ immersion in the hot tub at a time.
  • Not exceed the maximum number of bathers (one per seat). 
  • Seek medical advice before entering the hot tub if they’re pregnant, have health problems, or are immunosuppressed. 
  • Supervise all children in and around the spa and not allow children under four years of age, or those unable to keep their head above the water level when sitting, in the spa.

Providing guests with this information will not only help ensure they have a safe and enjoyable stay at your holiday let, but also ensure you’re covered in the unfortunate event that anything happens that could have been avoided if your guests had followed these guidelines.

Maintain the hot tub according to health and safety regulations

HSG282 guidelines have been designed to keep your guests safe and give you peace of mind that you’re doing everything in your power to keep them safe.

The official guidance outlines a maintenance schedule you’re legally required to stick to and record, which is:

Twice daily

  • Check the water clarity.
  • Check and adjust the pH value and residual disinfectant.

Daily

  • Clean the water-line.
  • Check:
    • If the dosing system is working.
    • The chemical reservoir level.
    • Any automatic systems are operating correctly.

Between each group of users or at least weekly (whichever is shorter)

  • Drain the spa, clean the whole system – including strainers – and refill.
  • Replace the cartridge filter with a cleaned cartridge, then check, clean, disinfect and dry the filter cartridge that was removed.
  • Clean and disinfect:
    • The airlines.
    • The overflow channels and skimmers.
    • The spa surround.
  • Inspect (and clean as necessary):
    • The strainers and grilles.
    • Accessible pipework and jets.

Monthly

  • Disinfect any flexible hoses.
  • Clean the input air filter.
  • Clean the electrode and check the calibration of the disinfectant/pH controller.
  • Perform microbiological testing for ACC, coliforms, E coli, and P aeruginosa using a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) approved laboratory

Quarterly

  • Perform a microbiological test for legionella, again using a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) approved laboratory

As determined by risk assessment

  • Perform a full chemical test, dependent on water quality

While this might seem like a lot, it only amounts to a few hours of work a week. This barely puts a dent in the ROI most holiday lets see from a hot tub. 

Record keeping

You also need to keep records of the steps you take to adhere to HSG282 regulations so you have evidence that you’ve done everything required of you to keep your guests safe.

These records should include:

  • The names of those responsible for conducting the risk assessment (and managing and implementing control measures that stem from it). 
  • Any significant findings of the risk assessment.
  • A written control scheme and details of its implementation (in the form of an NOP).
  • The details of the state of operation of the spa system, i.e. in use/not in use.
  • The results of any monitoring, inspection, tests or checks carried out on the spa (such as the results of chemical and microbiological analysis of the spa water) along with the dates they were conducted.
  • The water treatment chemical usage. 
  • The inspections, checks and records of maintenance undertaken on the spa’s water system, components, and water treatment equipment to confirm correct and safe operation. 
  • The cleaning and disinfection procedures undertaken and associated reports and certificates. 
  • Information on other hazards i.e. chemical, slips and trips, etc.
  • The training records of everyone who works on the hot tub.

You need to keep a record of the risk assessment you performed on your hot tub for the period it remains current and for at least two years afterwards. 

Records of all monitoring, inspections, testing, and checks should be kept for at least five years.

Summing up

If you install a hot tub in your holiday let then you need to stick to the rules and regulations laid out in HSG282.

We’ve written this guide as an abridged overview of what’s technically required of you, but be sure to carefully read the official government guidance to make sure you’re covering all your bases when it comes to these regulations.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that the staff of a WhatSpa? approved spa showroom will be able to walk you through everything you need to know.

Be sure to pick up your free copy of the latest edition of WhatSpa? magazine to make sure you’re getting the perfect hot tub for your holiday let.

About the author

Nick Clamp

I am the Editor-in-Chief at WhatSpa? Media Group and my job is to keep you informed about the very latest hot tubs on the UK market... the best job in the world! When I'm not being deluged with press releases and hot tub brochures I enjoy keeping fit and participating in endurance events including triathlons and distance running.

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