FAQ for Prospective Tenants
Why should I book with The Knowles Company?
At The Knowles Company you will be receiving a fully personalized and attentive service. We are with you every step of the way to assure a quality experience both in your booking and in your stay. We have seen that automatized booking systems sometimes lack in consistency, reliability, and consideration. Using our agency assures that there will be no personal bias, as agents work to serve your best interest and can assess whether a home will truly be a good fit for you, giving you pros and cons. With our local knowledge and broad spectrum of homes, we work hard to find the perfect fit. Our team serves as the communication stream between tenants and homeowners to relieve the heavy work from the tenant. Our professionalism, compassion, and dedication to each tenant has been proven to give satisfaction for many years.
If the house that I’m interested in is available on the website, am I guaranteed a booking to that house?
Although we work hard to keep our information up to date, owners occasionally neglect to inform us on changes in availability. As well, The Knowles Company lists many properties that do not list exclusively with us. That means that occasionally the availability that we show does not match the correct availability for that property. However, we regularly update calendars and information online several times a day, so what information is displayed is the most recent information available to us.
Can I rent for less than a week?
Typically, owners won’t book for less than a week unless it’s a last-minute booking or if it falls in the “shoulder” seasons when they might not otherwise find a tenant. During peak season, owners are only considering full week bookings that fall within the traditional Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday schedule. By local ordinance, homes in Bar Harbor cannot book for less than four nights.
Once I’ve decided on a house, what are the next steps?
Submit an inquiry and your assigned agent will get in touch with the owners to confirm those dates for you. As soon as they have received a verbal commitment from them and your mailing information, the agent will email a lease via DocuSign to both you and the owner for signature. At the same time, the agent will email you separate instructions for payment, which will be for a portion of the total amount due, with remaining payments staggered across the coming months. If we are within 45 days of your arrival date, we will require payment in full.
As soon as both parties have signed and your payment has been processed, DocuSign will email you a link to the fully executed lease for your records, and the house will be guaranteed to you. You will be invoiced for future rental payments via email, and upon full payment, we will email you an Arrival Notification Packet with an attached Cottage Information Sheet that tells you how to get to the house and where to find keys, etc. This sheet is very important, and we recommend that you print it out prior to your departure and bring it with you. To see ahead of time what sorts of adventures await you, you may want to explore the "Area Activities and Resources" section of our website to find links to restaurants, boating excursions, and other resources.
How do I pay?
Payment by personal check or EFT/ACH bank to bank transfer is the preferred method of payment. However, we can accept a credit card payment over the phone for an additional 3.5% convenience fee. Please note that payment must be guaranteed prior to occupancy, so last minute bookings must be paid by credit card or EFT/ACH or wire transfer. If you aren’t familiar with EFT/ACH method of payment, check with your local bank to see if they offer this service, usually done online from your account.
What is the cancellation policy?
We currently have three cancellations policies for the upcoming year. The policy is chosen by the homeowner and therefore will vary based on which home you choose. Each home contains one of the following:
Strict—this policy states that if tenant cancels at any time, they are obligated for the full amount of rent, unless the house rebooks, in which case they are obligated for the cost of Knowles Commission only.
Moderate—this policy states that tenants who cancel 90 or more days from their arrival date will receive 50% of the rental portion in refund, less Knowles Commission, and the balance will be paid to the Homeowner, regardless of whether or not the house re-books. Tenants who cancel between 90 and 45 days before their arrival date will receive 25% of the rental portion in refund, less Knowles Commission, and the balance will be paid to the Homeowner, regardless of whether or not the house re-books. Tenants who cancel less than 45 days from their arrival date will receive a full refund of the rental portion, only if the house re- books, similar to the Strict policy above.
Relaxed—this policy states that tenants who cancel 90 or more days from their arrival date will receive 100% of the rental portion in refund, less Knowles Commission. Tenants who cancel between 90 and 45 days before their arrival date will receive 50% of the rental portion in refund, less Knowles Commission, and the balance will be paid to the Homeowner, regardless of whether or not the house re- books. Tenants who cancel less than 45 days from their arrival date will receive a full refund of the rental portion, only if the house re-books, similar to the Strict policy above.
Do I have to pay extra for cleaning?
The cost of normal departure cleaning varies by house. Some houses include the cost, others add the cost as a flat rate, and other homeowners bill the tenants after departure for the actual costs of cleaning. If you become a tenant, you'll note that at the top of the lease it reads, "Upon Termination, Tenant to pay for:" and underneath is written “Departure Cleaning” or "Excess Cleaning." “Excess Cleaning” means that if it takes the cleaner longer than normal to clean the house because you left it a mess, then you would be responsible for the added costs.We do ask that when leaving the home, you leave it in clean condition with all dishes washed and put away, garbage bagged, bed sheets stripped, and at least one load in laundry. For leases that only charge for “Excess Cleaning,” as long as you do the above and there isn't any damage, you should receive your security deposit in full.
What is the security deposit?
Many of our security deposits are around $500 but can range to $2,000 depending on the property and length of lease.
When will I get my security deposit back?
Assuming that there are no damages or excess cleaning, security deposits are released five days after scheduled departure (usually on a Thursday) and submitted to the bookkeeper for a paper check to be cut. Checks are cut on Fridays, signed by Monday, and processed typically on Tuesdays, and in the mail to you on the following Wednesday. During the peak season when call volume and paperwork is at its busiest, this process will sometimes get delayed by a day or two. We appreciate your patience! If you have had a change of address since your lease agreement was drawn up, please notify your rental agent right away to ensure the check gets delivered to its intended destination.
Do you make personal inspections of the property before a tenants’ arrival?
Given the high volume of turnovers in a single weekend, we simply do not have the manpower to personally inspect a property in advance or just after a Tenants’ stay. We therefore rely on the eyes and ears of caretakers and cleaners who are intimately familiar with a house and more liable to notice if something is amiss. We do, however, personally inspect houses available for rent whenever appropriate either to address a particular concern, or to simply familiarize ourselves with a home so that we can more accurately and confidently promote it.
I’m traveling with an infant, but don’t want to bring my equipment with me. Can I be provided with it?
It's possible to rent baby equipment like cribs, strollers, and highchairs, saving you the trouble of lugging that stuff with you. Acadia Baby Outfitters has a wide range of equipment for reasonable rates available for pick up and drop-off at their Town Hill location. They are a great and reliable service!
Can I bring my pet?
Many of our rentals do allow pets. If travelling with a pet, we recommend using the search option on our website to narrow down houses that indicate that pets are allowed. It is also helpful to note that you will be travelling with a pet in your inquiry.
Is there good cell phone coverage on MDI?
Cell coverage is spotty across the island, and in particular between mountains. Seal Harbor, in particular, is notorious for having very poor cell reception. Otter Creek is particularly poor as well if your provider is not AT&T. AT&T service is generally the most reliable, but there are interruptions of service across the island in various locations and worsens during the peak season when cellular traffic is at its height.
I work online. Do all of the properties have reliable internet?
The internet reliability and speed are on a house-to-house basis. We have listings in rural and remote areas that may not have the adequate speed that you require. Please let your agent know the importance of your internet speed so they can confirm available speeds for you.
Where can I get a kayak rental?
There are several kayak rental outlets on the island. Links to them can be found on acadiamagic.com. Given the cold water temperatures, we strongly recommend that unless you are you a very experienced kayaker, any ocean kayaking be done with licensed guides. Hypothermia is a genuine threat even on a beautiful day, and the weather can change unexpectedly and unpredictably.
Where can I rent bikes?
There are four good bike/kayak rental spots in Bar Harbor:
- Bar Harbor Bike
- Pedego Acadia (electric bikes - awesome on the Park Loop Road!)
- Acadia Bike
- Acadia Outfitters
Am I able to fish in Maine?
This link will help you find more information on fishing in this area. Note that you will need a license if you are a non-resident of the state of Maine and 12 years old or older. State of Maine residents under 16 years old can fish without a license.
I am a golfer. Are there any good golf courses on MDI?
There are three very good golf courses on Mt. Desert Island: Southwest Harbor's Causeway Golf Course (nine out, nine back), Kebo Valley and Northeast Harbor Golf Club. All of these courses are open to the public during certain parts of the season.
I would love to experience some gardens while I’m here, what do you recommend?
Three gardens in the Northeast and Seal Harbor areas come highly recommended to those who enjoy seeing nature at her most resplendent. Rich in history, Thuya Gardens and the Asticou Gardens are open to the public with suggested donations. Click here to access their websites listing locations and visiting hours. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is also a favorite but has limited days and times for viewing and usually doesn't open until the second week in July. In order to secure a reservation, please call 207-276-3330. Visiting days are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only from 9-11 and 11-1. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Click here to access the Rockefeller Garden website.
How bad are mosquitos, black flies, ticks, and other insects in your area?
Given the natural setting, mosquitos and black flies are quite likely to join you on your vacation. Black flies are at their worst between mid-May and late June, but are mostly found in the woods near streams and lakes. Mosquitos are present throughout the summer season, and their intensity is completely dependent on weather, wind, and time of day. Early morning and late evening are when they are at their worst. Generally speaking, it is unusual to have swarms of either insect in village settings or even on trails. If you are not bothered by 5 to 10 bugs hovering in your presence from time to time when outside, you should be fine. Ticks are another scourge that can be found any time between April and November, and, again, their prevalence is entirely dependent on weather conditions from the previous winter. We always recommend that hikers stick to paths, avoid grassy fields, wear long clothing to deter ticks, and check themselves after being outside. Lyme disease is a known illness in this area, so learn about its symptoms and contact a health professional if you suspect you have been bitten by an infected tick. In all cases, insect repellent is recommended. As for other bugs, ants, spiders and the occasional wood roach will make their presence known indoors, particularly in camps and homes that are not built for year-round occupancy. Wood roaches look like small cockroaches, but unlike their city slicker cousins are harmless and not an indication of filth and disease. If it's damp outside, they will occasionally find their way in, so don't be alarmed if you see them!
Are there any snakes there?
There are no poisonous snakes in the state of Maine. The most common snakes in this area are garter snakes, milk snakes, and sweet little bright green rock snakes. All are harmless and more likely to startle you while sunning on a warm rock than hurt you.
Will I see any moose?!
Ahh, the ubiquitous Maine moose! Sad to say, moose are extremely rare on Mt. Desert Island, and more likely to be seen in northern and inland Maine. However, you are quite apt to see the following wildlife: deer, foxes, seals, harbor porpoise, ospreys, loons, bald eagles, porcupines, beaver, and muskrats, to name a few. There are coyotes, lynx, and bobcats on the island as well (and even an occasional black bear!), but they are rarely seen except by the fortunate few in the evenings when they tend to be more active. You may hear coyotes at night, but they will otherwise avoid human contact.
FAQ for Tenants Regarding Rentals and COVID
What are the current requirements for travelers coming to the state of Maine? As of May 1, 2021, all travelers all wecome to the State of Maine without quarantine, testing, or vaccination requirements. However, if a state is identified as having high infection rates for variant strains of COVID, unvaccinated travelers must either quarantine upon arrival, or receive a negative COVID test within three days prior to their arrival. As of June 1, 2021, no states have been identified as having high variant strain infection rates. Rental Agents will communicate any introduced rules to Tenants by email as they are known. International Travelers follow federal guidelines. Refer to the State's Website, "Keep Maine Healthy," for more information.
What does it mean to self-quarantine? Any unvaccinated, untested out-of-state traveler who is traveling from a state identified as having high infection rates expected to self-quarantine for up to 10 days, or the length of their stay in the state of Maine, whichever is shorter, upon arrival. Quarantine is defined by the following: when possible, bring enough groceries for your stay or arrange for a grocery delivery/pickup. Walking outside is permitted as long as travelers are wearing a mask, practice social distancing at all times, and avoid the public/crowds. Carry-out from local restaurants is acceptable, but shops, in-person dining, and tours are not.
Who is enforcing these rules? What if I choose not to practice quarantining? Currently, most of the rules are voluntarily self-imposed, but if a violation is suspected and reported, local police would be the ones to act upon it. Homeowners and tenants are subject to a fine of $1000 for violations. We trust that you understand the importance of safe practices and social distancing by now and are counting on you to willingly to comply.
Can I get curbside pickup from local restaurants? Just about all restaurants are offering some form of carry out. Very few, if any, will offer delivery during the summer season.
Will the owner automatically accept a lease for next year and apply my funds? Not necessarily. Owners have the option to delay booking a lease for next year based on their plans for personal use, potential long-term bookings, and the like. Agents can navigate that process with you and your tenant.
In the event I postpone my lease, why must I pay a change of lease fee? By transferring your funds to next year, we are foregoing the potential to earn the same amount of commission on a lease for that time period in the future. To cover that cost, while recognizing that a postponement involves slightly less work than re-writing a new lease, we ask for a fee equal to approximately half of the commission we would have ordinarily earned.
Why is The Knowles Company retaining their commission in the event of a cancelation? It’s bad enough that I can’t enjoy my vacation. Shouldn’t we all suffer a loss? A tremendous amount of work has gone into the promotion of a rental home, the lease process, and the termination process, not to mention the level of expertise required to ensure that you as a tenant are compliant with the rules as they are written to protect you from potential liability and fines. That work and expertise deserves compensation. Since all work has been performed at your request up to this point, it behooves you to cover those costs.
Do children need to be tested or vaccinated in order to be exempt from any quarantine requirement? Anyone under the age of 18 does not need to be tested or have proof of vaccination.
What cleaning protocols will be exercised ahead of time so that I can be sure the house is properly sanitized? The Knowles Company has created a new cleaning checklist that includes COVID-19 precautions in alignment with Maine State CDC guidelines that has been sent to all homeowners and cleaners. Cleaners are very mindful of the responsibility they have to ensure a safe environment both for you and for themselves.
What is travel insurance and do you recommend it? Purchasing travel insurance is a great option if you want to have peace of mind when travelling if your trip has to be cancelled or delayed due to sickness and emergencies, weather, etc. Many travel insurance companies do include Covid-19 in this, however it does not apply to the fear of getting it or shutdowns and regulations, only in the case that you or a travelling companion tests positive. We do not provide or partner with any travel insurances at the moment.
FAQ for Owners
Why should I list with The Knowles Company? At The Knowles Company, you will be receiving a fully personalized and attentive service. We are with you every step of the way to assure a quality experience both in your listing and bookings. We have seen that automatized booking systems sometimes lack in consistency, reliability, and consideration. These online marketing platforms are generally catered towards the tenant rather than the owner and do not always protect the best interest of the owner. At Knowles, we work for you, to deliberately avoid these inconveniences, relieve the headache and provide an experience that you desire. When listing with Knowles, you receive our expert advice and service. We bring the tenants straight to you and serve as the communication stream between tenants and homeowners to relieve the heavy work from you. Our professionalism, compassion, and dedication to each owner has been proven to give satisfaction for many years.
How can I be assured that my home will not be damaged? - A security deposit is required of all tenants and is collected with the tenant's final payment and held by The Knowles Company. The security deposit may be used to reimburse the owner for any expenses for which the tenant is responsible in accordance with the lease, including extra cleaning and damages.
Do you provide caretaking and cleaning services? We encourage all owners to employ reliable caretakers and cleaners, though the company does not provide them directly. However, we are more than happy to refer to you to qualified caretakers and cleaners with whom we are familiar.
What are my responsibilities? We encourage Owners to be aware of all Federal, State and local laws pertaining to vacation rental properties. In brief, Owners are required by law to maintain their property in safe and well-maintained condition, and furnish their property with any required safety devices such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, etc. Also, Owners are legally responsible for maintaining homeowner’s insurance with sufficient liability coverage for tenants. Your coverage must protect against fire as well as other risks as recommended by your insurance agent.
Can I still list on other sites? Yes. Although we prefer it, we do not ask that homes be listed exclusively with us. If your home is listed on other sites, it will be your responsibility to update us when the home books through those sites. We also will call you when we receive an inquiry to make sure that it is available before we book it. It is required that rates are consistent across all sites.
Will you manage my other sites? We currently only manage Knowles listings, as well as VRBO if it is also listed with us.
Do you make personal inspections of the property before a tenants’ arrival? Given the high volume of turnovers in a single weekend, we simply do not have the manpower to personally inspect a property in advance or just after a Tenants’ stay. We therefore rely on the eyes and ears of caretakers and cleaners who are intimately familiar with a house and more liable to notice if something is amiss. We do, however, personally inspect houses available for rent whenever appropriate either to address a particular concern, or to simply familiarize ourselves with a home so that we can more accurately and confidently promote it.
FAQ for Owners Regarding Rentals and COVID
Can a tenant that is coming for only one week still self-quarantine? Yes. The rules indicate that they must self-quarantine for two weeks or the length of their stay in the state of Maine, whichever is shorter.
What does it mean to self-quarantine? Out-of-state travelers are expected to self- quarantine for up to 14 days, or the length of their stay in the state of Maine, whichever is shorter, upon arrival unless they have received a negative Covid-19 test no later than 72 hours before arrival. We’ve seen a lot of conflicting information on the Governor’s website and Maine CDC website, but our best guess at this point is that quarantine is defined by the following: when possible, bring enough groceries for 14 days or arrange for a grocery delivery/pickup. Walking outside is permitted as long as travelers are wearing a mask, practice social distancing at all time, and avoid the public/crowds.
Who is enforcing these rules? What if my tenant doesn’t practice quarantining? Currently, most of the rules are voluntarily self-imposed, but if a violation is suspected and reported, local police would be the ones to act upon it. Homeowners and tenants are subject to a fine of $1000 for violations. Your agents are making sure that every tenant is fully apprised of what is expected of them ahead of time. Fortunately, most people understand the importance of safe practices and social distancing by now, so they are willing to comply.
Do I have to accept a lease from a tenant who wants to postpone next year and apply their funds? You have the option to delay booking a lease for next year based on your plans for personal use, potential long-term bookings, and the like. You are not obligated. Agents can navigate that process with you and your tenant.
Why is The Knowles Company retaining their commission? I’m losing funds. Shouldn’t we all suffer a loss? A tremendous amount of work has gone into the promotion of your home to tenants, the lease process, and the termination process, not to mention the level of expertise required to ensure that you as a homeowner are compliant with the rules as they are written to protect you from potential liability and fines. That work and expertise deserves compensation. It goes without saying that our company is suffering losses by the sheer volume of leases we won’t be writing this spring and summer.
What cleaning protocols does The Knowles Company recommend? The Knowles Company has been working on a new cleaning checklist that includes COVID-19 precautions. Our cleaning checklist is and continues to be modified as new guidelines are issued or relaxed. We will attach these guidelines under separate email or upon request.
Are you likely to be able to re-book my home? We are seeing some inquiries for long-term bookings, so, yes! We are hopeful we can secure one for you! It’s important, therefore, to keep us up to date on any cancelations you receive through other sources.