CLRM Owner’s Guide to Rental

3 Reasons Owners Rent Their Cottage

1. It’s an investment property, bought, set up and maintained for rentals.

2 The family cottage isn’t getting used as much but the bills keep stacking up.

3. The cottage has been bought for retirement and it needs to pay for itself until then.

Whatever your reason, we take a tailored approach to your decision to rent and build a business plan around it.  This way we can help meet your goals from the right perspective.

We’ve rented out our own cottages and been guests as well, so understand what it’s like from both sides. With that in mind, you may find we are not like other agencies who still ask guests to clean the cottage before they leave or have endless rules and restrictions.

Instead, we respect the people who pay a significant amount to vacation in the homes we represent and provide high-quality accommodation in return.

The following is a guide to how we work; what we expect from the cottages in our portfolio and the philosophy of hospitality that has made us one of the best agencies in Ontario.

In Ancient Greece, hospitality was a right, with the host being expected to make sure the needs of his guests were met. Conversely, the guest was expected to abide by a set code of behaviour.

The moment you decide to accept money in exchange for accommodation you become a provider to the travel and hospitality industry. This brings responsibilities, such as an acknowledgment that guests have expectations of a set of standards that should not be compromised.

We prefer to welcome ‘guests’ and not ‘renters’ as the former expression embodies where we fit into the travel industry as hospitality providers.

In our discussions with new owners, we encourage them to think about this role and to be comfortable with what it entails.

So, while we take care of marketing, matching guests to each cottage, all the booking administration, and helping guests plan their vacations, it’s our owners’ responsibility to create and maintain a hospitable and welcoming environment.

This means providing a super-clean and well-equipped property, maintaining and exceeding (if possible) our minimum standards and delivering a great experience to every group of guests.



Guest expectations are rising as more of them have experienced vacation rentals in other countries.  The primary expectation is for a clean and well-equipped cottage with up to date furniture and furnishings.   Please ask for our “Minimum Standard Items For Rental Properties” document as this describes our recommended items to provide. Bear in mind that the more amenities your property has to offer, the more appealing it is for Guests. In our experience, properties that show attention to detail and care are the ones that are most sought after and receive the greatest respect from guests.


In days gone by, guests were asked to leave a cottage in an as-found condition and expected to thoroughly clean on the last day of their vacation.  We want our guests to end their vacation in relaxed mode and have them wanting to re-book, not being on their knees cleaning toilets and mopping floors.

When guests check out of your cottage we ask them to leave it in a tidy condition with all furniture in its original location, kitchen counters cleared, fridge emptied, and all garbage dealt with according to the cottage guide.

We strongly recommend hiring a professional cleaning team rather than doing the cleaning yourself.

There’s a reason for this.

When you have an emotional attachment to your cottage you see it in a different way than a cleaner would.  He or she sees a place that’s been occupied by a family for a week and simply gets down to tidying, cleaning and getting it ready for the next guests.  On the other hand, you may walk into a ‘mess’ and feel disrespected, which in turn can be upsetting.

Many owners have learned from experience that it’s way less stressful and time-saving by finding a great cleaner.  Pay them well and add the cleaning fee to your rental rate.  You won’t regret it.


A major spring-cleaning is necessary and required each year in order to prepare your cottage for seasonal vacation rentals. You may handle this task yourself; however, we strongly recommend that you use a professional cleaning team – spring-cleaning is a big job.  (In addition, a mid-season cleaning may also be needed. After six or eight weeks of rentals, your property may need to be brought back up to the condition it was in at the beginning of the season. Please be prepared for this potential additional expense.)

Renting out your home isn’t without risk.  Over the course of a season there is going to be wear and tear such as scuffs on the walls, soiled carpets, broken glasses or dishes, missing utensils, and damage to appliances and equipment due to normal use, and this should be expected .  Most will be minor issues that will have minimal cost to repair or replace.

Accidental Damage Protection Plan

More significant damage is rare, but occasionally happens.  Almost always, it’s accidental and will be covered by our Accidental Damage Protection Plan that covers guests up to $2500 of damage reported to us during the stay.  This could be a broken window, a burn on a counter-top, or a spill on a carpet.  We have a claims process we ask you to follow that requires estimates for replacement or repair.

We also hold an authorisation to recover costs for any non-accidental damage or charges for additional cleaning. Before we release any payment we ask to see photographic evidence and/or invoices for repairs, cleaning or maintenance over and above the standard time normally taken on a changeover.


Over the years we’ve experimented with ways to share essential information with guests – not all have been successsful!

We’ve now opted for a digital guide book that guests can download on their phone or other device.  It’s easily accessible, comprehensive, and includes a variety of media including video.

For example, guests can access a quick video demonstrating how to stand up on a paddleboard; how the hot tub controls work, and even how to operate an entertainment system via remote controls.  This type of material eases the frustration guests can experience when they are eager to use a feature but can’t figure out how!

Automated messages are sent from the Touch Stay system that reminds guests about their digital guide book, and how they can use it to find directions, access information and the wifi password – the 3 most important things they want to know.



We select our cottages very carefully and only accept those that will be in keeping with the high quality that our guests have come to expect.

To become listed with us is a three-step process. Firstly we send you our Owner Information Pack that details the processes involved and our criteria for accepting cottages into our programme.

Secondly, we will arrange an appointment for your area Account Manager to come and view your property and assess its quality, general appeal, and rental market value. This is a great opportunity to bring along all your questions and we can have a good discussion on your goals for the property.  After the visit, we’ll send a report that details our recommendations and suggestions and offers a market value of the cottage.

Once we have a signed Management Agreement, you’ll get a link to our digital Owners Manual, where you will find all our checklists, inventory lists and rental advice. Then we’ll get your listing up and start booking for you!

Safety and liability are huge issues facing owners who rent their cottages.  An accident on your property could leave you facing millions of dollars in liability claims and even with a good insurance policy in place, the stress over the years it might take to settle can threaten livelihoods and relationships.

Our Breezeway Certified Short-Term Rental Safety Inspectors offer a safety inspection that covers the primary safety elements that could cause a problem for you.

We take safety very seriously so this is part of our evaluation of the property and is at no cost.

Some cottage owners have lots of time to manage an Airbnb or VRBO listing; deal with all the messages and look after all the issues that arise when guests are at the cottage.

They enjoy doing that and if that is you, you don’t need us.

Our registered owners are often busy people with jobs, children and active lifestyles and prefer to leave all the day-to-day administration and communication of a rental booking, to a seasoned company with 20 years of experience and a full complement of staff.

Specifically, our key tasks are:

  • Screening guests and ensuring they are the right fit for your cottage.
  • Dealing with in-stay issues and only involving owners when absolutely necessary
  • Responding to every guest communication from first enquiry to the end of their stay and beyond.

Couple all of that with a 24 hour call centre, 7-day week operation, a comprehensive owner manual that will guide you every step of the way, and the support of a friendly bunch of people who know this business inside and out, and you have the whole package.


We have dealt with just about anything you could imagine over the past 20 years.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Arranging for pest controller to pick up an electrocuted (and still alive) raccoon after it chewed through an outdoor cable.
  • Talking a guest through re-priming a water pump following a power outage.
  • Arranging a tow for a guest stuck in a snow drift.
  • Helping organise a search party for an older guest with Alzheimers who had wandered off a trail.
  • Delivering a birthday cake, balloons and flowers for a surprise event for a guest family member.
  • Sourcing an emergency cleaner when a life event prevented the changeover team from showing up.
  • Guests who arrive a day early or believe they have booked an extra day and have failed to leave.And a whole bunch of other stuff that keeps our team busy throughout the season.


Our commission rate varies according to a couple of factors.  How many weeks we have available to rent on your behalf, and the rental value of the property.

For example, a cottage that rents for $6K per week in high season and for which we have 80% available weeks year round, will attract a lower commission rate than a $2K per week cottage with 5 open weeks.

The range is from 18% – 25% and averages out at 22%, depending on your tier of service.

CottageLINK Rental Management
Toll Free: 1-866 323 6698

Our Hours:
Mon-Fri 9-5
Sat-Sun 9-5

Business Address:
PO Box 39036
Columbia PO, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2T 0A7

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