Important note: The Terms and Conditions set below are for group bookings (not individual) that are booked to stay in homestay accommodation with hosts/host families and not in a self-contained room in a student residence, hotel, hostel or any other accommodation. Please click here for terms and conditions for individual homestay bookings.
Definitions and Overview
The booking agent referred to within these Terms and Conditions is Home from Home Student Services Ltd. (company number 07332845) also trading as London Homestays or HFH. References in these Terms and Conditions to “We”, “Us” or “Our” refers to Home from Home Student Services Ltd. References to “You” or “Your” refers to the paying customer. References to the local organiser refers to the accommodation supplier contracted by HFH to supply and manage accommodation to the customer.
Important note: We operate VAT under the Tour Operators Margin Scheme and therefore VAT on our services are not claimable
We do not own, sell, resell, furnish, provide, rent, manage and/or control any accommodation or homestays. We act as an agent between customers (international travel agents, schools groups and their representatives) and partner agencies or local organisers (the accommodation suppliers referenced above). Group accommodation is not owned, inspected or provided by Home from Home Student Services Ltd.
Group homestay accommodation is specifically for school or tourist groups and not for language schools. This accommodation is not covered by our British Council registration with accommodation being carefully inspected, selected and provided by our experienced partner accommodation agencies.
Hosts are situated in residential areas with a central meeting point. They are selected on their warmth and friendliness and not because of their proximity to tourist attractions, activities or train stations. They reflect the multicultural aspect of Britain in general and London in particular. Although they can come from any number of ethnic backgrounds, English is the main language in the home.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
These Terms and Conditions are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. You agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts, as do we.
The booking process
To book group homestay accommodation, please complete the online booking form. When we receive your enquiry we will email you to tell you if we can or cannot meet the requirements specified. This will normally happen within 2 working days.
In the unlikely event that you have not received an answer within 3 working days, there is a chance that we have not received your booking enquiry, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (working days exclude Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays).
Once availability has been confirmed, we will reply to your request offering you the option to hold the room spaces. This option will usually expire 4 weeks after the booking request was made but is subject to availability and demand. The option expiration date will always be made clear to you.
To secure the booking a deposit must be paid prior to the date the reservation option expires (a deposit invoice can be issued upon request). The deposit will be for 20% of the total invoice or £500 GBP, whichever is the greater.
Important note: If the arrival date is 6 weeks or less away, or your group is less than 20 pax, we require full payment to be made.
The remaining balance is due 28 days prior to group’s arrival. If we do not receive this balance in full, and on time, we reserve the right to consider the booking as cancelled by you, and cancellation charges set out below will apply. Overdue payments to us may incur interest.
Once the payment for the balance invoice has been received, an allocation list for the students will be created and the names, addresses and contact details for host families will be released along with the name and contact details of the local organisers. Please note that this will be released approximately 10 days prior to your group’s arrival, in order to ensure minimal amendments.
All cancellations must be made in writing by mail, fax or e-mail. Charges will be applied from the date and time we receive the notification in our office.
Cancellation of Group
- Groups cancelling more than 28 days prior to arrival: loss of deposit.
- 28 days or less prior to arrival: 100% of total costs.
Cancellation of individuals within a group
(Maximum of 1 individual per 10 within the group)
- Individuals within the group cancelled more than 7 days prior to arrival: no charge.
- Individuals within the group cancelled 7 days or less prior to arrival: 100% of individual’s cost.
Please note any pre-payments for tickets, services, guest houses, transport, restaurants, etc. will not be refunded in the event of a cancellation.
If we cancel a booking because of Force Majeure we will endeavour to find suitable and comparable alternative accommodation for you at no extra cost. No compensation will be given. Force Majeure means any unusual or unforeseeable reason beyond our control and cannot be avoided including but not limited to war, threat of war, riot, civil strife, political unrest, government action, natural or other disaster, terrorism, weather conditions, cancellation by a supplier including a local organiser and all similar events out of our control.
If the alternative accommodation is not acceptable to you, you will be refunded any payments made in full within 28 days of your instruction. Any refunds will be made with international bank charges deducted.
If you wish to change your booking in any way once a final invoice has been issued, we will do our utmost to make these changes if possible. Any request for changes must be made in writing by mail, fax or email and you may be asked to pay an administration charge and further costs we incur in making a change. These costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made.
In some cases any changes could mean paying a cancellation charge of 100% and purchasing new arrangements at full cost.
We will endeavour to allocate guests to Host Families in the manner desired by our clients however, by the very nature of this type of accommodation, this can never be guaranteed. Families may cancel because of illness, personal, or unforeseen circumstances, and this cannot be within our control. We therefore reserve the right to amend or change host-family allocations, up to and including the day of arrival, should the need arise because of circumstances out of our control, at all times seeking to minimise disruption and inconvenience to the customer.
Students are placed in 2s, 3s and 4s per family. We cannot guarantee students will be placed exactly as they request and placements of 2s are subject to availability. Occasionally we have to place students in 5s during peak season. Students from other nationalities may be in the same home.
Special requests, allergies and emergencies
We must receive a full breakdown and allergy/diet list at least 6 weeks before the group’s arrival. For guests who suffer from either a physical or mental disability or require medical attention or medication during their stay, we must be informed at the point of booking. We will always try and accommodate special requests whenever possible, however our ability to cater for special requests is subject to the availability of hosts who are able to meet the requests.
If medical needs, allergies or dietary information is not given within the time scales stated above, it may not be possible to accommodate the guest and we reserve the right to cancel the booking and refund their payment. Any refund will be subject to the cancellation policy mentioned in these terms.
Guests will be joining hosts for their regular family meals. Hosts are not professional caterers and are not usually qualified in catering. Hosts will not be responsible for any complications due to food being consumed. We therefore strongly recommend that guests with serious/dangerous special dietary requirements or allergies bring their own food to avoid any complications. The customer is responsible for ensuring group leaders and guides are aware of any special requests/requirements and the management of them.
If a guest falls ill during their stay, it is the group leader’s responsibility to care for that guest. If a guest is hospitalised during their stay, one of the group leaders must stay in hospital with that guest until they are either discharged or the guest’s parent or member of family arrives. Hosts are not medically trained in any way and will not administer medical care other than very basic emergency first aid until a qualified professional arrives.
Passports, visas and travel documents
It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure all members of the group are in possession of all necessary travel documents before departure. Any cancellations made due to UKBA entry refusal will be subject to the cancellation terms stated above.
Insurance and Liability
You are strongly advised to purchase adequate travel insurance for your group. The customer is responsible for ensuring each individual guest has adequate travel insurance for their journey and stay in the UK, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, emergency repatriation, theft, loss of accommodation and/or tuition.
Curfew, Rules and Behaviour
Reasonable behaviour is expected at all times during guest’s stay in the accommodation. Group leaders and/or guides/teachers are responsible for the proper conduct of all members of the group during their stay and are in turn responsible for making full payment for any damage or loss caused by any member of the group during their stay. We reserve the right to remove any guest whose conduct is unsatisfactory. Refunds or alternate accommodation will be offered at the discretion of Home from Home Student Services.
Guests are not permitted to use hair straighteners or curling tongs within the homestay.
Guests are not permitted to smoke in host families’ homes.
Guests are not permitted to drink alcohol within the homestay. Please be aware drinking alcohol is illegal for under 18s in the UK.
Guests will not always receive internet access while staying in homestay accommodation. If a guest requires internet access throughout their stay, the customer should make this clear when booking. For guests aged under 18 years of age, internet access will always be at the host’s discretion.
Guests will not be permitted to go out in the evening after being collected by the host. We must be informed of all evening excursions e.g. theatre tips prior to arrival. Guests under the age of 18 years old must be accompanied on evening excursions by group leaders.
Guests must vacate the accommodation during daytime hours.
Usual arrival and departure times are approximately 19.00hrs and 08.00hrs respectively. We should be given adequate prior notice of arrival/departure times which differ from these including details of any late nights or early mornings.
We will require a name and contact mobile telephone number for the group leader at least 24 hours prior to arrival.
A reasonable amount of luggage appropriate to the length of stay in the homestay accommodation is permitted. No single piece of luggage should be larger than 55cm x 45cm x 25cm as this will not fit into the host’s car. If luggage is larger than that or if there is an excessive amount of luggage group leaders or guests will be liable to pay any additional transportation costs e.g. taxis.
Any valuables left in host families homes are done so at the owner’s own risk. We cannot be held responsible for loss of these items. We recommend valuables including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and jewellery are not left unattended. In the unlikely event guests suspect something has been stolen, they should report the theft to the police and inform their travel insurance agency.
In the unlikely event you have reason to complain or experience any problems whilst in the UK, you or the group leader must immediately inform us, the local organiser or the supplier of the service in question so they can be resolved at the time, where possible. Failure to notify us, the local organiser or the supplier at the time means we may not be able to investigate and rectify the complaint. We cannot accept any retrospective claim or complaint from guest or their agent.