Niche Retreats offers self-catering properties from a small group of locally focused brands owned by The Original Cottage Company Limited. When you choose a holiday from this website, your booking will be with one of these local brands, rather than with ‘Niche Retreats’ or The Original Cottage Company Ltd.
Reservations of all accommodation whether made by telephone, fax, in person, in writing or from the internet are accepted by the local brand, hereinafter referred to as the Agency, on the following conditions.
1. Contract of Hire
The hiring contract will be between you the Hirer and the Owner of the property for which the booking is made and shall be deemed to be made subject to these Conditions of Hire and governed by English Law. The Agency act as Agents for owners, and are not Principals. The Contract of Hire is not effective until the Agency despatch to the Hirer written confirmation of the booking. The contract is for the hire of the property for holiday purposes only. We do not accept bookings from Hirers under 18 years of age.
2. Initial Payment
Bookings will be confirmed upon receipt by the Agency of the required deposit payment of one third of the total holiday cost, comprising cottage rental, booking fee and any additional charges – e.g. pets. If the booking is made within eight weeks of the holiday commencement date, the full accommodation rental will be required at the time of booking. Deposits can be paid by card or cheque, or in the case of web bookings, paid online through our secure payment system.
3. Balance Payment
The Balance of the Hire will be due for payment eight weeks before the holiday commencement date. On receipt of the Balance Payment, advice of key collection arrangements and directions to the property will be sent to the Hirer. The Owner/ the Agency reserves the right to cancel a holiday where full payment has not been received less than 28 days before the holiday commencement date. The deposit paid on the booking is non-returnable.
4. Method of Payment
Cheques should be made payable to the Agency. Please call for details. There is no charge for debit/credit card payments.
5. Value Added Tax
Where VAT applies to the property rental, it is included in the quoted price at the prevailing rate. The Agency’s Confirmation of Booking is not a VAT invoice. All the Agency charges and VAT inclusive rentals include VAT at the prevailing rate and are subject to change if the rate changes.
6. Confirmation of Booking
Once the Agency has issued a Confirmation of Booking, the Hirer is responsible for the total published price of the property and extras as shown on the confirmation. Amendments to bookings, where applicable, will be subject to an administration fee of £50. The Agents reserve the right to adjust prices quoted in their brochure, on our website or on details to properties, due to errors or omissions or changes in VAT.
If you are forced to cancel your holiday you must inform the Agency as soon as possible. The day we receive your notice to cancel is the date on which we will cancel your booking with the owner. Depending on your reason for cancellation, you may, at our discretion, receive a refund of all money you have paid to us for your booking less the booking fee (if applicable), and a handling charge of £60. See Cancellation/Curtailment Policy for details of where we would normally make such a refund. In all other cases, you will remain liable for full payment unless we are able to re-let all or part of the period booked, in which case the Agency will consider a refund, less the booking fee (if applicable), and a handling charge of £90. See Cancellation/Curtailment Policy for full details.
8. Booking Fee
The Agency charges a booking fee of between £30 and £35 (as specified when booking) for your first booking in any calendar year, payable at the time of booking. Additional bookings with the same customer reference where the cottage hire period starts in the same calendar year (1st January – 31st December) will not attract a booking fee.
The use of accommodation and amenities, where offered, such as swimming pools, rowing boats, beach huts etc, is entirely at the users’ risk, and no responsibility can be accepted for injury, or loss or damage to users’ or visitors’ belongings. However, the Agency do not seek to exclude or limit legal liability for the negligence of their servants or agents.
10. Party Numbers
In no circumstances may more than the maximum number of persons as stated in the brochure or website occupy a property. Owners reserve the right to refuse admittance if this condition is not observed. Only those listed on the booking may occupy the premises. The person who completes the booking, i.e. the lead name, certifies that he or she is authorised to agree to the Booking Conditions on behalf of all members of the party, including any changes. The lead name must be over 18 years and a member of the party occupying the property. The lead name agrees to take responsibility for all members of the party. The Owner/ the Agency reserve the right to refuse or revoke any bookings from parties that may in their opinion (and at their sole discretion) be unsuitable for the property concerned.
11. Your Responsibilities
For the whole of the period included within your booking, you will be responsible for the property and will be expected to take all reasonable care of it. The property details aim to give accurate descriptions of the properties. Should there be any specific health or mobility difficulties which may affect a party member, this must be pointed out at the initial reservation stage so that the suitability of the property can be assessed. The property and all equipment and utensils must be left clean and tidy at the end of the hire period. At no time should a pet be left alone unsupervised at the property. The property must be vacated by 10.00am on the day of departure.
All damages and breakages are the legal responsibility of you, the Hirer, and should be reported immediately and before the end of your holiday. The reasonable costs of miscellaneous repairs and/or replacement and/or additional cleaning of furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glass, keys, bedding and towels damaged or soiled otherwise than by usual wear and tear during the period of Hire by you or other members of your party shall be payable on demand to the Agency who may, at their discretion, refuse further bookings. Any Good Housekeeping/Security Deposits charged will be cashed on receipt to allow for bank clearance and reimbursed promptly after the holiday (less any deductions which may be incurred). The Owner/Agency has the right to enter the property (without prior notice if this is not practical or possible) if special circumstances or emergencies arise (for example if repairs need to be carried out). The Owner/Agency reserves the right to repossess the Holiday Home at any time, where you or any member of your party has caused damage, the Owner/Agency shall not be liable to make a refund of any remaining portion of the hire terms paid.
13. Good Housekeeping Deposit/Waiver
It is a requirement when booking certain specified properties with the Agency to pay either a Good Housekeeping Deposit or a Good Housekeeping Deposit Waiver.
The Good Housekeeping Deposit is due with the balance of your holiday, it will be cashed on receipt and held by the Agency to be applied against the reasonable costs of miscellaneous repairs and/or replacement and/or additional cleaning of furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glass, keys, bedding and towels damaged or soiled otherwise than by usual wear and tear during the period of Hire by you or other members of your party. The balance of the Good Housekeeping Deposit will be returned to you within 28 days of the departure date. Where such costs exceed the Good Housekeeping Deposit you will pay such excess to the Owner within 14 days of being notified.
Where you have agreed to pay the Good Housekeeping Deposit Waiver the Good Housekeeping Deposit is not payable. The Good Housekeeping Deposit Waiver is a non-refundable payment by you to the Agency in lieu of the Good Housekeeping Deposit.
The Good Housekeeping Deposit Waiver covers the costs of making good any loss or damage to the property and/or its contents caused through act or omission during the period of Hire by you or other members of your party up to the value of the Good Housekeeping Deposit for the booked property. Where any such damage caused exceeds this amount, you agree to pay the Agency, acting on behalf of the Owner, upon written demand, any reasonable costs incurred in making good any such loss or damage above the predetermined amount.
The Good Housekeeping Deposit Waiver is not available on breaks longer than 14 nights.
14. Complaint Procedure
If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive, the Owner or keyholder must be notified immediately, so that investigation can be carried out and any necessary action taken. All complaints must also be notified to the local agency immediately (see booking confirmation for contact details) so that they can investigate the circumstances, and take any necessary action. In no circumstances can compensation be made for any complaints that are made after the hire has ended, or where the Hirer has denied the Agents or the Owners the opportunity to try to put matters right during the Hirer's stay.
The Agency takes every care to ensure the accuracy of the property descriptions. All information on our website is given in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of going to press, but the Agency cannot be held responsible for changes beyond their control, which may become known after publication of this literature. In addition, whilst we describe properties as non-smoking or no pets, this cannot be guaranteed. The description of a cottage shows what amenities that property has but generally does not state what is not in the property. Please be aware that if a property is advertised as having an enclosed garden, this does not necessarily mean a secure garden. It may be enclosed by hedging or open style fencing. Further, the Agency cannot accept liability for happenings outside their reasonable control, such as breakdown of domestic appliances, plumbing, wiring, temporary invasion of pests, damage resulting from exceptional weather conditions or the Owner’s negligence resulting in loss, injury or accident.
In the event of any dispute between parties it shall be governed by the jurisdiction of the English courts only and any actions shall be heard in the court for the area in which the property is located unless otherwise agreed between the parties. However, it is hereby agreed and declared that all reasonable endeavours will be used to resolve the dispute arising between you and the Owner and/or the Agency without immediate recourse to litigation. If not mutually resolved, it is further agreed that all reasonable endeavours will be used to resolve the dispute by a formally recognised alternative dispute resolution process i.e. mediation, arbitration or expert determination. In default of such agreement, the process and appointment of the independent professional will be determined by the President for the time being of the Law Society or the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In either case, all parties will contribute equally to the expense of such process, and, in default these expenses shall be capable of being recovered in any subsequent litigation.
The Hiring Contract is made on the understanding that the property and its facilities as published will be available for the dates stated. In the unlikely event that a property is not available through events arising outside the control of the Owner/ the Agency then the Owner/ the Agency may be forced to cancel the booking. The Hirer will be advised as early as possible. Where possible, the Hirer will be offered suitable alternative accommodation, which, if not acceptable, will entitle the Hirer to a refund of all monies due. The Hirer will not as a result have any further claims against the Agency or the Owner. Please note that reservation requests taken via our website are not confirmed bookings until the Agency has contacted you and accepted a payment.
18. Best Price Guarantee
We guarantee you always get the lowest price when you book your holiday property directly through us. To qualify for our Best Price Guarantee, you must find the same property, for the same party size, over the same date period and notify us within 24 hours of your booking, in writing by post or email. The lower price must be viewable by anyone prior to booking and bookable by anyone, i.e. not a negotiated rate, a member rate, an offer applicable to only part of your stay or an offer which requires a credit card number or code to see. This offer does not apply to any optional extras, service charges or other fees and excludes changes in currency conversion rates. We will then validate your claim within 48 hours. The same property must be available for booking at a qualifying lower price in the same currency when we validate your claim.
If your claim is successful, we will notify you in writing by post or email and refund the difference or adjust your outstanding balance. Only one claim may be submitted per booking.
The Agency reserves the right to deny claims if we believe that the Best Price Guarantee is being intentionally abused or manipulated to circumvent its intent.
A claim may be invalidated if you make any changes to the reservation after the claim has been submitted and approved.
These Booking Conditions supersede all previous issues.