The inspection process starts when the inspector arrives at the property. They will look at the exterior appearance to make sure the paintwork is in good order and that the car-parking areas, paths and grounds are well-maintained and safe.
What you need to know about the inspection
Structural and Safety Requirements
Your establishment should be of substantial and durable construction, structurally safe, in good repair throughout, and of suitable design. It should be in good decorative order and kept clean and well maintained throughout, including outdoor areas, grounds and car park areas. It should be exclusively or primarily used for the provision of sleeping accommodation for visitors, in separate bedrooms.
Consider provision of parking with due regard to neighbours, traffic regulations and the fact that guests will not wish to carry baggage for long distances.
This should have a reception desk for receiving visitors.
Display of Certificate and Charges
Your Tourism Northern Ireland Certificate and scale of charges for accommodation must be prominently displayed, easily seen by visitors before, or immediately after, they enter. Where breakfast is available, this meal should be identified and the charge shown. If your rates vary seasonally, or if there is any condition to be satisfied (e.g. age-eligibility for children’s rates), or any other charges not included in the rate, then these must be displayed. All charges should be inclusive of VAT, where applicable.
A selection of current leaflets, brochures, maps and other literature relating to your locality should be available. It is a good idea to review these periodically to ensure that the information provided is still current.
As well as the name, address and dates of arrival/departure, you are legally required to record each visitor’s nationality. Many establishments keep a book of comments for completion by guests on departure to record hints, recommendations and observations helpful to future visitors.
Instructions and Inventory
Any house rules you wish to be observed, or any other information which would be of interest to guests/potential guests, e.g. WIFI code, should be brought to the guests’ attention at the earliest opportunity. A guest information folder is a useful way to relay information and can be provided on guests’ arrival. This should also contain copies of instructions on operating equipment and other items.
This may be providing a breakfast pack and cooking utensils, or by providing vouchers to a neighbouring café, for example.
Bedroom doors may be located off a corridor or on the exterior wall of the establishment. Bedrooms should be numbered, lettered or otherwise designated so as to identify them and shall be of adequate size for the number of visitors the room is intended to hold.
Each bedroom shall be secured with two locking devices from within and a single locking device from without. Rooms should contain at least two electrical outlets for the attachment of electrical equipment and contain furniture, fittings and equipment of good quality and condition for sleeping and toilet purposes and for the storage of visitors’ clothing. Such furniture, fittings and equipment should include a bed for each visitor the room is intended to hold, complete with mattress, a supply of clean linen, blankets or duvets and pillows; loose or built-in units comprising wardrobe, dressing table, mirror and drawer space for clothes; a bedside chair and table; a waste bin; a carpet or floor surface of suitable design; and window curtains or blinds for privacy and the exclusion of light.
Daily cleaning of rooms should be carried out when visitors are resident.
In each ensuite bathroom, there should be a bath or shower, a WC and a wash hand basin, of good quality and condition, with a continuous supply of hot and cold water. The ensuite bathroom should have an effective means of ventilation and shall be equipped with a mirror, towel rail, clothes hooks, bath mat and a clean and ample supply of toilet requisites including towels, soap and toilet paper.
Heating, Lighting and Ventilation
The establishment should contain effective means of natural lighting, ventilation and a means of heating capable of maintaining a room temperature of 18.5 degrees Celsius.
Accommodation shall be under the supervision of a person trained or experienced in accommodation management, and be adequately staffed to maintain appropriate standards of service at all reasonable times.