Let Your Cottage
The Coppermines & Lakes Cottages have been involved in property management in various parts of the UK since 1970.
Since totally rebuilding The Old Sawmill at Coniston Coppermines in 1989, we have gradually added to our own collection of cottages, and are now happy to handle lettings and management on behalf of other clients.
We now look after over 70 properties, in and around Coniston Village and the surrounding valleys. Many of our cottages are over 100 years old, and most have been sympathetically restored and refurbished in the las ten years to a higher standard.
Many have outstanding views, log fires, exposed beams, antique furniture, quality, great character, and walks from the door. Others are of a more contemporary nature with contemporary high quality furnishings.
Our cottages can be found in the heart of the beautiful Lake District National Park amongst stunning mountains rising over 2,500ft, and the many lakes complete our English ‘Alpine’ scenery.
The Lake District is an ideal place to visit at all times of the year, the cool mountain air, spectacular views and the outstanding seasonal colours are exceptionally attractive, particularly in the outlying valleys.
We enjoy an “all year round” letting season. The annual average UK holiday cottage letting season is of about 28 weeks per annum, the Lake District average season is usually over 38 weeks and we have some cottages that let for 50 weeks of the year.
Our price list is slightly unusual and set up to bring you the greatest revenue possible. Each cottage has a specific price band and for some cottages we offer a two person discount.
We recommend that to maximise revenue, cottages have a Friday changeover day, enabling weekend and mid-week breaks to be offered outside the main holiday periods.
We specialise in weekend breaks outside the main holiday weeks, particularly for couples looking for a ‘romantic hideaway’. We also have many larger or interlinking cottages very suitable for groups & families, for celebrations,business meetings etc.
The Holiday Letting Business
In recent years the holiday letting business has changed dramatically – in response to customers expectations which continue to change according to taste & fashion..They want to take ‘pride’ in their choice of accommodation.
The current demand is not only for traditional period cottages in picturesque locations with traditional features, but also for high quality fixtures and fittings, ensuite bedrooms, well designed kitchens and some of the latest technology such as DVDs, satellite television, internet access, and i-pod docking stations.
Most visitors now wish to experience the same or better standards than they enjoy at home – but all for a reasonable price!
The trends in Lake District tourism have also changed in recent years, many people are ‘time poor and money rich’, so short breaks are widely sought after coupled with last minute decision making.
A holiday in the Lake District may not necessarily be the customer’s main holiday of the year. Using our successful web-site it is very easy for potential visitors to book online at the last minute and to search out properties that exactly meet their specific requirements.
Here are just a few ideas that from our customer feedback, we think will be widely sought after from now on:
• En- suite accommodation
• Boutique style accommodation
• Wireless internet access
• Whirlpool / feature baths
• Digital / spa showers
• Cycle Store / maintenance area
• Wet weather gear stores
The Suitability of Properties For Holiday Letting
Having managed many properties for over 30 years, it is our experience that there are about ten main criteria for successfully letting a holiday cottage, in the Lake District.
1. Well Known Location
Cottages situated in or near places people have actually “heard of” such as the famous Lake District lakes, mountains or villages will always let for higher prices, have greater occupancy and will be a better investment than others.
2. Local Character & Appealing Name
Customers associate the Lake District with older stone built or white washed cottages with traditional windows and internal exposed beams. They look for nostalgia and a feeling of their perception of the Lake District inside the cottage as well as outside.
Exposed stonework, traditional woodwork, period doors and local older prints and photos are very useful in creating the right mood, as is an appealing name for the property. In the last few years, contemporary, fairly expensive properties of high quality, with high quality contemporary furnishings, which may be bungalows, have also been in demand and have produced very good returns.
Generally flats and apartments are not as desirable but if they are in a very good countryside location with a fantastic view, they can be a good proposition.
3. Views & Access
Lake, mountain and countryside views from the cottage are most important, in the order stated.
A cottage without views will have a dramatically reduced income. Direct access to a lake shore, with boat mooring is an advantage, as are country or mountain walks right from the door.
4. Log Fires
The ability of a cottage to have a traditional log or coal fire, using either a fireplace or log burning stove is now virtually imperative. Despite the desire for log fires, guests now also expect fully controllable central heating in every room.
Oil and gas are current favourites but environmentally positive heat pumps and solar panels are also desirable.
5. Gardens, Sitting Out Area and Car Parking
A nice garden or sitting out area in character with the property has now become a basic expectation, with quality garden furniture, a barbeque and the opportunity for alfresco dinning.
Car parking is also an important consideration with an appropriate number of parking spaces according to the size of the property. Larger properties are often used by groups of friends or extended families that may not all be travelling in the same car.
6. Walking Distance To A Pub or Restaurant
With the increase in eating out and drink-driving laws, cottages fulfilling this criteria are greatly sought after especially by couples for short breaks.
Cottages without this facility can show lower incomes. It is interesting to note that though a property may be in walking distance of a pub the guests may not visit the pub but it is still important in the decision making process.
A property that fulfils all of the other criteria but is remotely situated can also be a good investment and be very attractive to visitors.
8. Pets Welcome
The huge growth in pet ownership, evidenced in the growth of “pet supermarkets” has resulted in many more people wishing to take their pets, especially dogs, on holiday. Most people who travel with dogs do not have badly behaved animals as these would probably destroy the owner’s vehicles!
We make an extra charge of £25 per dog per stay and would point out that whilst very few pets do any damage, the fees go towards wear and tear, and redecoration costs incurred.
We recommend that carpets are shampooed regularly. We also point out that any real damage will be charged to the customer but we rarely have to do this. Customers are also quite happy if there are rules such as keeping dogs on a lead, or in certain rooms etc.
Cottages that do not accept pets can consequently achieve lower revenues.
9. Variable and Versatile Accommodation, and Larger Properties
Over the years starting with The Coppermines Mountain Cottages, we have enjoyed good incomes from group bookings. There are many “unknown or secret” groups of friends or family who assemble regularly, to celebrate anniversaries, reunions, birthdays, weddings and of course – even - stag and hen parties. This is a very lucrative market, which if a property is adapted in the right way can enhance its income dramatically. We would be pleased to advise you further if you have a larger property.
10. Environmental Responsibility
Potential customers are now very aware of “green” issues.
We ourselves fully support The Lake District Tourism Conservation Partnership in helping to raise money for their “Fix The Fells” campaign.
We also give information about local and national public transport.
Cottages which demonstrate they are tackling environmental issues through the use of low energy lighting and heating, waste recycling and encouraging cyclists and walkers, will in the future be more sought after.
Property Letting & Management
1. Letting Fees & Arrangements
Our normal letting fees include all our costs of substantial weekly, national, internet and tourist board advertisements made on your behalf, together with inclusion in our colour brochure, on our website and our other work as letting agents including the management of initial repair issues and customer feedback.
Our normal letting commission/fees are very competitive, please contact us for further information.
2. Management Fees
We have a full in-house housekeeping department and maintenance service for which we charge according to the time spent working on your property.
Based on a future inspection of the property, we may be able to arrange cleaning and laundry on your behalf following each booking. We are able to offer a maintenance/repair service either using our own staff or valued local tradespeople, most of whom have worked with us for many years.
Alternatively, we are quite happy to vary our duties to meet your specific requirements and appreciate that cost saving is an important issue.
3. Visit Britain Inspection Scheme
We are a Visit Britain Officially Accredited Letting Agency. Consequently all our properties have to be inspected and registered with The VisitBritain/Enjoy England Quality Assurance Inspection Scheme and Cumbria Tourism.
A small total annual arrangement fee is payable and we accompany the inspectors to all new properties. This ‘star ratings’ scheme is invaluable in giving visitors confidence in your property.
4. Commercial Letting
Cottages available to let for more than 140 days a year are classed by the local authority/council as commercial premises, and should pay business rates. The council should be informed if the property has not been let before. They also make a small charge for refuse collection; which we can arrange on your behalf.
5. Other Charges
We recommend that properties with a log fire actually supply guests with a initial bag of logs on arrival. We would normally arrange this on your behalf if we also clean the cottage for you.
As mentioned above, and being locally based we are able to arrange maintenance, decorating, as required and as instructed by yourselves. We are very much “hands on” and do try and be contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We would also be pleased to advise on improvements and the furnishing of your cottage; for your convenience we are able to source country furniture and beds direct from the manufacturers.
6. Fire Risk Assessments & Access Statements
VisitBritain now require all cottage owners to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment and Access Statement are completed.
Fire Risk Assessments are also now mandatory. We are happy to advise on this and can either supply DIY forms for you to complete or undertake the work ourselves.
The coverage of each cottage, in terms of pictures and description, both in the brochure and on our web-site is more than many of our competitors and we are constantly looking at new marketing opportunities.
Our web-site has both online bookings and live online availability search features. If we were to start letting your property between print runs of our main brochure, the cottage would appear initially on a colour supplement, which we produce immediately in-house. Since we have in-house content management of our web-site, new cottages can appear within a few hours of instructions being given.
Our reservation team is very familiar with the Lake District, and have visited all our properties. They are able to give ‘first hand’ information to prospective customers.
We supply a statement of all bookings taken at the end of each month together with a payment for the periods actually let that month.
9. Revenue & Viability
To earn sufficient commission to make letting a property viable, we generally need a cottage to yield a gross annual revenue of at least £10,000 which is usually not an issue.
10. Using The Property Yourselves.
When acting for clients who may wish to stay in or use their property themselves, we place no formal restrictions upon the amount of periods they occupy the property.
We would point out, however, that we could only afford to act for you if you were able to let the majority of the year to our customers. In order to ensure ease of operation, since we have a live online availability and booking service, we do require to be notified in writing of any periods of time that an owner wishes to use the property well in advance. It is possible to book out breaks if the cottage is vacant, on a short notice basis, but we obviously cannot remove visitors’ bookings that have already been made.
Exclusive Letting Agent - Please note for ease of administration of your lettings, and for the avoidance of potential double bookings, we do not let cottages, where there are other letting agents or an owner letting the property themselves.
We do however also always remember that – it’s your cottage …. not ours !
11. Additional Information
To help visitors in getting to know their cottage, we can help you to compile an instruction book for the cottage, and this should be kept up to date. We also supply a free “Welcome to Lakeland” visitor attractions folder which is updated annually
If you decide for various reasons that you no longer wish us to let your property for you, you will have several decisions to make, as to whether you will want to honour existing bookings we have for you or whether you wish to cancel these. If you cancel bookings we have made for you in good faith, we will need to be reimbursed for the loss of the commission we would have earned plus an administration fee for advising and relocating those customers.
We are proud to have been part of the Lake District hospitality industry for many years.
On a voluntary basis, one of our staff is currently an elected member of the main members committees of Cumbria Tourism, and we continue to lead the team which successfully runs Coniston Community Tourist Information Centre. We are heavily involved in sponsoring and guiding many local events from our central offices, by The Bridge in Coniston Village.
Our office is open 362 days of the year and our reservation team always on hand to advise.
At other times our phone are diverted to our duty manager's mobile for a quick response.
We hope the information provide here has been helpful in deciding if you would like to make your property available for holiday letting with us.
If you do not yet own a property we would be happy to help you select a suitable property.
If you already own a property the next stage would be to arrange a visit by us to view the property and to offer advice about its potential.
Having read through our Cottage Owners Guide, should you have any further questions, please do contact us ~
To obtain a paper copy of our owners pack please contact our office below.
The Coppermines & Lakes Cottages Ltd
The Estate Office, The Bridge, Coniston
Cumbria. LA21 8HJ
T. 015394 41765
F. 015394 41944
If you are looking to purchase a property we can recommend Cumberland Building Society for commercial buy to let loans. They have great experience in the tourism property market in the Lake District.