Frequently Asked Questions.

Please note that many questions are now asked and answered in our support forum . If your question is now answered here, please search this forum. There's a powerful search tool that makes it easy to find if your question has been answered, and if not, you can use it to ask your own question.

Q: I've bought a second multi-user license. How can I set up a share so the second machine can process the data on my LAN?
A:
We've created a page that describes how to plan for this and how to set up a network share that you can use. Please see sharing on a network. This is often a challenge!

Q: Does the Holiday Letting System support Windows 10?
A:
Yes, it runs on, and is supported on, all recent versions of Windows. Some users have found issues when they took advantage of the free upgrade, but these are Microsoft problems and can be resolved. There is more information in the support forum here and in Newsletter 14 here. (scroll down to item 2)

Q: I have just bought a new machine. How do I move the Holiday Letting System across?
A:
This questions is answered in the support forum here: http://support.erwwen.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2 (This question is more than 10 years old, but the answer has been updated to apply to recent versions).

Q: I've managed to delete a booking by mistake. Is there any way to get it back?
A: Yes! There's an excellent chance you can recover all lost data from the logs. All booking changes are recorded in a transaction log, called the change log. Please look for the Help Topic entitled How to recover lost data. This appears in the contents under System Overview. If necessary upgrade to the most recent version. We strongly recommend running regular backups using the backup tool. You can also read Newsletter 13 and Newsletter 14 for more information about backup and recovery, including discussions of using various cloud systems for backup.

Q: I am using Microsoft Word to process my letters. One of the "Special strings" or "Mail Merge strings" is not being substituted with the correct value. The rest are fine.
A:
This was a Word Problem, and we solved it as follows. The special string was being split across two lines by Word, ie the characters "<!" were on one line and the characters "BalDue>" on a second. This was solved by retyping the entire section containing the special string into word. It took a couple of attempts but eventually word was persuaded to stop splitting the string. It is possible to check if you have any split special strings by opening your rtf document in Notepad (it is just a text file) and searching for "<!". You will see if any special strings are split.

Q: Looking at the Status Window, I notice there are 52 weeks in most years, but sometimes there are 53. Why?
A:
The Holiday Letting System works in whole numbers of weeks. A 365 day year contains 52 weeks and one extra day. A leap year adds a further day. Therefore every 5 or 6 years there will be a year when the system allocates 53 weeks.

Q: How does the system work out the dates for Week Number 1?
A: The system assigns a week number such that the first complete week each year is assigned week number 1. This usually corresponds to the ISO week number for the week in which the booking commences. However, the first week in the year never starts before 3rd January to ensure New Year bookings are always in the previous year, a normal requirement for holiday lets.

Q: I have bookings coming in for next year already (it is currently March). But the dates in the bookings window only go to the end of this year. How can I see the following year?
A:
The Status Window normally displays two years: the current year and the following year. However during the first quarter of a new year, this rule changes and you see the previous year and the current year. This option was chosen as, in many case, you still need to look at last years bookings during the first 3 months of the new year, as you work on accounts or on queries relating to a recent booking. On 1st April the default view will change to show the current and following years. For those taking bookings in the following year you only need click the next year icon (or select Navigate / forward one year) to change.

Q: This year, Christmas Day is on a Saturday - my normal changeover day. So I want to let Christmas and New Year weeks from Wednesday to Wednesday? How do I handle this?
A: You can handle this quite easily. The Holiday Letting System can handle lets from any day to any day - so just set up a let from (say) 22nd to 29th December. It will probably help to do the following, which is the way we (and other users) handle it. First - when editing the rates file use the closest week in the rates file for the Christmas week – ie this year you could use 18th-25th December. Put the cost in this week to the cost for the Christmas week and add a comment such as “Christmas 22/12-29/12”. For the New Year week set the rent in the week starting 25th December and write a comment “New Year 29/12-5/1”. So now there is a reminder of what you plan to do showing in the Status display. This comment also shows on the Web "Rates and availability" table if you use this facility so potential tenants can see what you plan to do. When you take the booking, click on the week of 18th December. The rate is now entered– but not the dates. Click on the drop down boxes for the start and end dates and alter the dates to the correct ones. The status display then displays the booking correctly, and all the other reports and functions work fine - we’ve used this method for several years without problems. As this only happens at Christmas and New Year (and then only for some years) we don't think that there is a need to put in some code to do anything more sophisticated.

Q: UK Value Added Tax: If I use this system, can I use it to help with my VAT returns?
A: Yes - you can, although this is not specifically built in. However, the system will produce a list of lets (and totals) for each property in spreadsheet (.csv) format. Open the file in a spreadsheet, and then just enter the appropriate formula to calculate the proportion of the rental that is VAT or Sales tax etc).
Example - at current UK VAT rates: if the income from a let is in cell D3, enter the formula +D3*0.175/1.175 in an appropriate cell further across the row. The result will be the amount of VAT taken. You can quickly replicate this formula down a column to see the complete list of VAT receipts, and you can then print the sheet to get your VAT return.

Q: UK Data Protection Act. If I use this system, how am I affected?:
A: If you run a UK business and keep customer data on a computer, even if it is just a list of names and addresses, you are affected by the Data Protection Act.
However, our interpretation of the act is that there is not a problem for a Holiday Cottage owner using the “Holiday Letting System” - in fact using this system will help you comply. The information you will record is limited to handling a core business activity, and you will keep only that information necessary for the purpose of reasonable management of your lets. Therefore you would be exempt from the registration process defined by the act. You would still need to follow a few rules – not a terribly onerous job.

Below is a clause that we have included in some sample "Booking Conditions" (see note) delivered with this system, to assist you to communicate their rights to your customers, should you decide this is appropriate:

“DATA PROTECTION ACT: Customer details essential for running the business are kept on a computer. We commit to keep this data secure, and never to share it outside the business. You have the right (a) to request that we don't send you any information - eg on future availability (b) to see any information we hold – although we will make a small charge for this.”

(Note: The sample booking conditions are in the sample web files folder, as part of the sample booking form. This file is normally at C:\LetSys\Web\bookform.htm)

See the reference above for more information. This is a personal interpretation only – it has not been put through the lawyers.

Q: Currency. We have two properties - one in Spain and the other in UK. Can we have different currencies for each?
A: YES! Just configure the system to use the Euro (€) for the Spanish property and the UK pound (£) for the UK property. But remember your reports will also be in your selected currency - reports are by property.

Q: Returnable deposit. We include all our laundry, fuel, repairs and sundry costs in the basic rental. We make no extra charges other than a returnable breakages deposit. Can we handle this?
A: YES! When you configure the system just make your first (and only) optional charge the returnable deposit - select "ret deposit" in the dropdown box. Enter the amount of the returnable deposit also - and this will then be entered into the booking record autmotically. You can then click the appropriate checkboxes to record the dates when the deposit was paid and also when you returned the deposit to your customer.

Q: Already have a web site: I already have a web site which a local Internet Company produced for us - it was quite expensive! Can you help us add an availability table to this site?
A: Yes. You'll need to get your Internet company to allow you to upload the rates and availability file to your site and also link to it from the appropriate place. But this is only a few minutes work, and should be easy for them to do. The advantage of this system is that you automatically produce your availability page from your bookings data - just a click of the mouse, then upload, and it is done. Some people have availability tables on their web site - these are normally produced by logging in and entering the data. This data is copied from your bookings data - so you are entering data a second time, with the possibility of error. With this system there is no need to spend time logged onto an Internet site, reentering data you already have in whatever bookings system you use. By the way - if you are at all competent with a computer, it is not that difficult to build your own web site and upload it to the free web space that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) almost certainly gives you for free - so you can gain a web presence very easily and at low cost.

Q: Phone numbers: Some people give more than one phone number. How can I handle this?
A: The phone number field has a maximum length of 50 characters, which is usually enough to hold 3 numbers. (eg day, evening and mobile) If you had a let with particularly long numbers you could use the comments field for any overflow information.

Q: Comments: When I copy the data over for a repeat booking, all the comments are copied also - is this intended?
A: Yes. On balance we think this is the best approach, rather than leaving the comment field blank. You will almost certainly want to alter the old comments, but some of them may well still apply.

Q: Deleting the Fuel "Optional" Charge: How do I delete it when configuring the system?
A: Start up the configuration program, and from the Edit Options for Property window, just click the dropdown arrow, and select (none). Or you can select the word "Fuel" and hit the delete key. The drop-down box is an aid, but not the exclusive way to enter extra charge names. You can enter any name you like for your extra charge, up to 11 characters. Just type it into the edit box. Note that you must fill in the extra charge boxes in order, so if you have 2 charges, the names for these must be in the first two boxes.

Q: Our only printed letter is to return their deposit after an allowance for breakages. The rest of the correspondence is via email. How do I handle?
A: This is much easier from Version 2.5 onwards. You can have as many letters as you like, and give each letter type your own name. You can also specify whether the default method of delivery for each letter is post or email. All of this is set using the configuration program, from the letters tab. There is much more information on how to do this in the Help in topic About automated letters which is under System Overview" in the contents.

Q: I really like the system and am going to use it. I could recommend it to friends?
A: The evaluation copy is freely available for distribution - either directly, or just tell people about the web site where they can download it. But please don't pass on your registration code - I'm not Microsoft and I could do with the funds! To try to shame you into not doing this, your name will appear on the title bar for anyone who uses your registration code. Also, if I don't sell enough copies I won't be motivated to put in enhancements and improvements - some of which you will almost certainly want.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Holiday Letting System (LetSys)
Brendan Blake.
See HELP / CONTENTS for full documentation.

Last updated 22/9/2016.