Owner FAQs

Whatever the occasion we have an incredible house for you

Pre-sign up considerations

We need at least 10 weekends and 4 key school holiday weeks a year as a minimum available to us to let. We would expect you to join us for no less than 1 year initially.
Yes, lots of people do this and we have no restrictions on this as long as we have the minimum availability as stated above to let the house out.
If your house was not built as a holiday let then you may require a change of use via your local planning department. It is a complex issue and rules vary between local councils and you should contact your local planning department to understand what they require. It is best to call us to discuss your specific property, we will be able to tailor our advice to your situation and location.
You can sign with other agencies, we only ask that you ensure that rates you list with us are exactly the same as rates you display elsewhere including your own website and that someone reliable at your end is managing the bookings and keeping us informed so our displayed calendar of availability is always up to date. For non-exclusive properties we will allocate a marketing name for the house for the purpose of the site listing only, this is usual practice across all agencies.
Yes in the respect that we would not have to check booking availability with you every time we get an enquiry, we would know that our calendar is what is available in real time. It speeds up response time to the guest so converting sales is easier. To be exclusive we would have to ensure that we had flexibility to make offers on your behalf. We would establish this at the point of signing up.
We have no upfront fees, as we are an agency we charge a set commission for each booking that we make on your behalf.
We would expect you to sign up initially for one year. If all is going well we do not contact you for renewal we allow the contract to roll on. If you do not intend to sign for at least a year then you should make this clear at the time of approach. If the partnership is not working for you or if your circumstances change you can give notice at anytime after 9 months - we specify a three month notice period on the contract but we would be willing to discuss this with you. Please contact us for a copy of the owner contract if you have any concerns about specific terms that may be included. The owner contract is used in alignment with the guest terms and conditions that can be found via a link at the bottom of our website homepage. By signing our contract you are agreeing to the terms and conditions we apply to guest bookings.
It depends but ideally no less than twelve. This is considered a small holiday let size in the group market; sixteen is the optimal starting size for group bookings. The largest group that would still see demand is thirty but we would advise a strategy of listing the house for smaller groups at a lower price at certain times of the year.
You have a duty of care to ensure that your house complies with all safety legislation relating to furnished holiday lets. We will send you an advice document and can assist you with any concerns that you may have. You should do your own research on what is needed for your particular house. You are responsible for the safety of the guests while they are in your house. You have to have your own Fire Risk Assessment and Public Liability Insurance (we recommend that you have cover up to five million pounds but no less than two million pounds) and we reserve the right to ask for copies of these at any time.
This is up to you, mostly it is groups gathering to celebrate and occasion 40th, 50th, wedding anniversary, friends holiday. Extended family bookings for these events are most prevalent so it is a good idea to ensure that your house has facilities for children. The hen and stag party market is also very buoyant and a great source of weekend bookings, however only certain houses should take stag groups and we would discuss this with you before signing up if we thought your house was suitable.
Ideally you will have a housekeeper or local person that can provide a check-in and show round for the guests. They do not need to live at the house. Having a check-in helps to ensure that any messages about the property and its security and operation are conveyed to the guests. The house should be left with a set of detailed instructions on such things as the heating and trip switches and where to find anything that isn’t obvious, such as extra logs or board games and how to work the TV / Sky and wifi. There should be someone that is available to be on call to solve any problems while the guests are in the house.
We can send you an inventory to help you kit the house out for the number of sleepers. We would also recommend that you provide a full complement of items for cleaning up , basic food provisions like tea, coffee, sugar, oil, salt , pepper , plus kitchen basics such as tea towels, cloths, cling film, foil etc. again we can help with this list. The house also needs to have an unlimited broadband package.
We would prefer that you do provide a simple welcome pack of locally sourced items but as the very minimum a loaf of fresh bread, butter, jam, 6 eggs, 1L of milk to get them started.
Do I need to decorate my house for Christmas? Yes, Christmas and New year are premium value times of the year and as such the guests would expect that the main reception rooms have decorated Christmas trees and decorations. It is likely that any bookings that arrive around 2 weeks before Christmas and through until the New Year will expect these to be in place.

Displaying the house on kateandtoms.com

We sometimes give properties on our website ‘marketing names’, this enables us to proactively promote your property on channels such as Google and social media without competing directly with your own marketing efforts. It also provides privacy and security for your house within the local community and when there are periods when the house might be uninhabited. We would agree on a marketing name with you before launch. When the guest receives their documentation after booking the real house name is made clear to them for locating the house and for organising deliveries.
If the photos are of suitable quality and standard and they belong to you we could use them. If we do not think they are high enough quality but we want to list the house we would do our own photo shoot. There is no cost to you for this (separate terms apply) but the pictures that we take are only to be used on our website pages. This means that we don’t share them with you, you get to see them when we preview the page to you. We would tell you at the start if we thought we needed to do a shoot for your house to go on the website. You will be asked to get props so that we can dress the house and stage some shots. A list will be provided and the cost will not exceed £100.
The things that are popular with guests are:-

  • Lots of bathrooms, houses with many en-suites are requested a lot
  • Some form of water – a pool or hot tub or both.
  • Some flexibility on the bed layout – zip and link beds are good for this and they allow rooms to be doubles or singles. A couple of rooms with this set up are a good idea
  • Things for children to do – if you say you are family friendly you will need to prove it in your photos.
  • Accept hen party bookings. The kind of hens that choose a rural country house are not the type that are looking for a night on the town
  • Lots of really good local information from you (you put this on the forms we give you to complete)
  • Great photos – we will sort this if you don’t have them.
  • Dog friendly – there is a very high percentage of groups that want to bring their dog. We usually recommend accepting 2 well behaved dogs and we add notes to say if there are restrictions on areas of the house they should not access.
  • We will help you with this. If you are doing it for the first time we can produce a rate panel for you based upon our experience, what we know of your location, facilities and the market in general. It is a good idea to be open to some keen pricing in the early days while the house gets going. This can be reviewed a couple of months after launch depending on the level of demand for the house.
    It can take a matter of weeks. The photographs are key because we can’t make a page without the images. We will send you a property form and a form for guest information, these, coupled with the images will mean we can start the process to build the page. From that starting point, it takes us around 2 weeks to have the first preview to you to make your comments. We would not make a live page without your approval that you are happy with the page content and pricing.

    Bookings and Payment

    We can do this if this is what you want, it is usual with non-exclusive houses as we will always check availability though if you cannot respond quickly it can hinder us making a sale. We are happy to do this though if you feel it will help you to control your bookings more effectively.
    You will call the Client Services Team on 01242 235151; they deal with all booking related queries. Our office is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm including weekends.
    We always hold a security deposit for somewhere between £500 - £2000 depending on the size and style of the house. We can take your lead on this however if it is too high it can put people off. We take the payment in the form of a bank transfer from them or they can pay via PayPal. We return it after 1 week as long as we have had no damages reported. We would advise that you remove any family heirlooms or items of deeply sentimental value as well as expensive crockery or cutlery. Day to day items can be replaced with good standard hotel style items (see suppliers such as Nisbets and Alliance). Remember that this is your choice to let your house so you need to make it viable for guests to use and not have to face exorbitant costs for one-off damages to fixtures and fittings. If there are damages or additional cleaning we will require you to send us photos within 48 hours of the guests leaving, we will then hold the deposit until we can get the repair or replacement invoice from you. We cannot hold this indefinitely so it is important to provide invoices as quickly as possible. We do expect that consumables (glasses, crockery, cutlery, coat hangers, toiletries etc.) up to the value of £50 to be absorbed by you as a running cost. Costs above this should be discussed with our sales team and evidence and receipts provided as soon as possible. We will then undertake the mediation with the guest to cover your costs from the deposit. Please note that we are the guardians of the damages deposit and as such we have a duty to yourselves and the guest. It is our intentions to make sure that the charges are fair and reasonable and we base our decision on whether we believe the evidence and costs provided would stand up if the case was taken to court. If you are concerned about the damage you can purchase insurance to cover you. We recommend speaking to JLMorris.co.uk as a reputable company with a range of options for this service.
    We deduct the commission from the one-third deposit we take when the guest pays to secure the booking. You then get the remainder of this amount on your set payment day in that month. You will get the balance payment for the stay one month before the guest arrives but still on your set payment day. We do not pass on the security deposit, that stays with us until we reach the required release date, assuming we have not heard from you about damage costs.
    Sadly no – it will depend on your location, house style, who you allow in, features at the house, amount of availability you give us and the pricing you display, amongst other things. If we have all the answers to these questions we can make an approximate projection based on the success of similar properties.
    Property Marketing Team - New property advice and sign up. Owner contracts and issues. Health and safety advice and legal issues relating to owner and properties. Your house page, information changes and pricing.

    Commercial Manager - Hayley Bretherton Pricing Specialist - Fern Miller Email: [email protected] Email: [email protected]

    Guest Services Team - all booking queries, bed lists, damage reporting, complaints.

    Guest Services Manager - Sunny Morgan Guest Services Supervisor - Claudia Roberts, Shannan Barrett & Leigh Gorick Email: [email protected]

    Finance Team - Owner statements, payments and invoice processing.

    Head of Finance - Lucy Hailes Email: [email protected]