There is so much to think about when embarking on purchasing and letting a Lake District holiday cottage, let us guide you through some of the main points ..
Our long standing and knowledgeable team are dedicated to letting your property whilst our Property Managers are on hand to help and advise at any time.
Once you are ready our Quality Services Manager will personally grade your property and award the appropriate star grading.
You can be sure that you will be dealing with a company that is truly committed to letting your property to its best potential.
Our use of the most up to date technology and systems teamed with our efficient and friendly staff mean that our customers receive excellent customer service when making bookings or balance payments. We will ensure all payments have been made before confirming final holiday details and that your guests are in receipt of their booking confirmation with details on how to get to your property and where to collect keys etc.
In addition to our high quality and informative brochure, we concentrate on major newspapers, glossy publications and specialist magazines, together with carefully targeted website maximisation, regular e-shots to our extensive database, local offices and brochure outlets. We have a large presence on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and run regular competitions using these platforms. We monitor the results of our advertising carefully to ensure what we do is effective
We have made booking a holiday with Heart of the Lakes as simple as possible, our website is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make a booking and in addition to this you can speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable staff in person seven days a week. Our team are highly trained and know all our properties, enabling them to give the guest a more personal service.
We have the most up to date and efficient reservation system which allows customers to pay by credit and debit card to confirm bookings immediately, and they will receive confirmation of this by email wherever possible the same day.
Even in the age of the internet, we feel a high-quality brochure is very important. It is photo-rich and provides lots of information to enable the customer to make the right decision on which property to book. Our brochure can be ordered at any time by using the brochure request button on our website or telephoning our friendly sales team.
Your property will need to be registered for business rates instead of council tax and we can advise you how to do this. We can also advise on local regulations for refuse collection.
Heart of the Lakes offer a fully managed property service. Your property will be visited by the cleaners on a weekly basis or after each let and inspected randomly for quality of cleanliness. Our in-house maintenance team (South Lakes) will respond to any holidaymaker's problems and our resident housekeepers manage the cleaning, linen supply and general housekeeping issues.
We have a flexible approach to our commission rates, dependent on the size and type of property being offered to let. VAT is charged on top of the commission rate.
There are some statutory obligations which apply to all holiday cottage owners which should be adhered to Buildings, contents and public liability insurance, landlords gas safety certificate (if applicable), PAT testing, private water annual supply checks, TV licensing, fire safety regulations and assessment and a general risk assessment for the property. The Visit England Pink Booklet will give you more information on legislation for holiday accommodation - this can be found at www.accommodationknowhow.co.uk
These should all be completed and documentation supplied to Heart of the Lakes prior to the letting of your property.
Our owners contracts are renewed on an annual basis. They usually run from January to December and are sent out in Spring for the following year.
Over sixty percent of our bookings are repeat customers to Heart of the Lakes, making these customers extremely valuable. We keep in touch with our database very regularly informing them of any offers or new properties, meaning when you join Heart of the Lakes our most valuable asset is made available to you.
Where agreed with our owners we will discount properties with late availability by up to 20%, and usually within two weeks of the stay date.
Accepting a dog at your property could potentially mean an increase in bookings by up to 30%.
We email our customers every two to three weeks to advise them of special offers, seasonal campaigns and new properties and generally just to keep in touch and make our customers feel valued and up to date with what we offer.
Since 2005 the new regulatory fire order was introduced for self catering accommodation and other accommodation housing paying guests. This means fire risk assessments have to be done and minimum safety requirements adhered to. We can carry out a fire risk assessment for you and help you get your property installed with the correct safety measures.
We have a specialist local Insurance contact who we could put you in touch with who will offer favourable terms if you are an owner with Heart of the Lakes. The policy will offer the right amount of public liability as well as home insurance and add on extras can be purchased such as loss of earnings.
Our head office is in Ambleside and another office in Keswick covering the North Lakes, both of our offices are manned seven days a week. We have long standing expertise in the marketing and letting properties within the 800 square miles of The Lake District Narional Park.
If you require a mortgage for your holiday property you must make sure that your society are aware that the property will be used as a holiday let, otherwise this can cause problems as many financial institutions do not allow holiday letting on standard mortgage lending.
When you decide to market your property with Heart of the Lakes you can decide if to make your property available for letting all year round or just during the main holiday season (April to October) as long as you make it available for at least 20 weeks of the year.
We are delighted to support the work of a National Trust footpath worker who is known as "Our Man at the Top". With the help of our owners a £2 levy is made against each booking, so far raising in the region of £250,000 for footpath repair work thus enabling our visitors to continue enjoying the unique Lakeland landscape and wonderful National Park.
If you are a non-resident landlord you will need to register as such and we will need to complete a non-residents landlord return annually in order for you to be exempt from tax deduction. If we do not receive an approval number from the Inland Revenue we will deduct tax from your rental income on a quarterly basis and submit it to HMRC
Each of our owners receives an individual code and password to access the secure owners area of our website. Once on the site you can view your property and owner information, bookings and financials and make your own bookings anytime of the day or night.
Owners will receive their monthly statements on the 15th day of each month, usually these will be emailed to you and monies will be transferred to your bank account by bacs. Monies paid will be for the completed bookings in the month previous to the statement, usually with a cut off being bookings completed by the last Saturday of the previous month.
We have two highly motivated Public Relations representatives who have excellent relationships with national and regional press and consumer magazines. Many of our properties have been featured in magazine editorials, such as Cumbria Life and Living North, along with Newspaper features in The Daily Telegraph and Independent to name but a few.
Your cottage will be quality graded and given Heart of the Lakes very own star ranking, together with our unique "facilities" grade, which enables clients to make an accurately informed choice. The minimum star grading of a property accepted to our portfolio is 3 stars, however, with luxury properties being more desirable than ever we would recommend a minimum of 4 stars. Our very own Quality Services Manager is based at our head office in Ambleside and is able to help and advise at all stages to make sure you get the best from your property.
With over 40 years experience in setting rents for holiday homes, you can rest assured that we will get the right balance of maximising your income with being competitive in today's market. We set rents for each individual holiday home depending on its location and other characteristics so we don't have to pigeonhole you into a particular banding or tariff.
You can offer short breaks to your customers at 67% of the weekly rent for 3 nights, or 84% for 4 nights. We usually make short breaks available in advance and on-line from after October half term through to just before February half term. We also offer them at other times of the year within 10 days of the stay date.
If you wanted to offer short breaks all year round this could also be accommodated - the choice is yours. It is important to stay flexible where short breaks are concerned as this can maximise your income as these are becoming more and more popular.
If you let your property for holidays this is classed as a small business, meaning considerable tax advantages and possibly a reduction in business rates for being a small business. You may want to ask an accountant for more information on tax advantages for small businesses.
It is not adviseable to register for VAT unless you have to. However, if this is necessary for you VAT registered owners are treated in exactly the same way as non registered owners.