You’ve rented your cottage for two weeks in the summer. You’ve found some nice people whom you trust will take good care of your space, they’ve given you their deposit, and the deal is done. Now what? They’re coming in 2 weeks — what do you do? There are a number of things you can do to prepare your cottage, keeping in mind that you want your renters to enjoy their stay and, hopefully, come back next season. Here’s our checklist:

1. CLEAN. This is the most obvious one, of course. It’s essential that the cottage is as clean as possible when your renters arrive. It’s definitely worth hiring a cleaning service. This same cleaning service can clean the cottage when the renters leave. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, the fridge, stove and pantry, also under the beds and behind the furniture, even storage areas, and under the decks. Make sure stains are removed from the floors, bugs from the window sills and ceiling lamps, and that toys and appliances are clean. Leave no stone unturned!

2. TOUR. Tour the cottage area as if you were a newcomer. What does the house look like from the outside? Maybe place some flowers in the front to make it look homey and welcoming, sweep the deck, touch up the paint, power wash the sidings if necessary, and so forth. And how about the docks? Any rotten wood or protruding nails? Is the patio furniture clean and free of mildew? Does any of it need replacing?

3. SAFETY. Double check that your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Replace batteries if necessary. Make sure a fire extinguisher is available in the kitchen.

4. CHILD SAFETY. Make sure that all poisonous substances – including any pest poison – is not exposed, and that it’s stowed where it should be. Are there any dangerous pot holes that need covering up?

5. BOAT SAFETY. Check the boats, canoes, kayaks for any leaks. Are the oars in good condition? Make sure each boat is equipped with a complete safety kit.

6. SMELL. Does your cottage smell nice? A good cleaning will help ensure this, as will opening the windows to give it a good airing out.

7. STOW AWAY. If you have any valuables or children’s toys that you don’t want used, lock them away in a designated “owner’s cabinet” or chest, etc..

8. HOSPITALITY. Make sure your kitchenware is in good condition (pots, pans, etc.), and that you have sufficient indoor and outdoor cutlery and dishes for your guests, as well as linens and towels, if you’re supplying them, coffee filters, toilet paper, and paper towels.

9. PESTS. Ensure that the house is relatively free of pests and rodents, and inspect the mattresses for bed bugs.

10. CLEANING SUPPLIES. If your renters are staying for more than a few days, make sure you’ve got the cottage stocked with good cleaning supplies, rags and/or paper towels.

11. COTTAGE RENTER’S GUIDE. Prepare a presentable renter’s guide. The guide should include your contact information, emergency contact information, any necessary explanations (i.e., about docking the boat at night, preparing the barbecue, etc.), tourist information (which you can obtain for free from your town’s tourist office), maps, etc..

12. INFORM. Inform the neighbours that you will be renting your place out.


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