FAQ for Tenants
Why should I book with The Knowles Company?
At The Knowles Company you will receive fully personalized and attentive service. We are with you every step of the way to create a quality experience both throughout the booking process and during your stay. We have seen that online automated booking systems sometimes lack in consistency, reliability, and personal attention. Using our agency ensures that there will be no personal bias, as agents work to serve your interests and can assess whether a home will truly be a good fit for you, giving you pros and cons for each house you are considering. 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. As a result, the availability we show online occasionally 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?
Owners typically 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 longer term tenant. During peak season, owners are only considering full week bookings that fall within the traditional Saturday to Saturday, Friday to Friday, 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 are your check-in and check-out times, and can I check in early if the house is ready, or check out late if I have a big party?
Standard check-in occurs at 4:00 pm on the start date of your lease. Standard check-out time is 10:00 am on the end date of your lease. In order to accommodate cleaning, larger homes have check-ins at 5:00 pm and check-out at 9:00 am. Your check-in and check-out times are confirmed on your lease. Given the demands on cleaners' time, we cannot accommodate early check-ins and check-outs, and ask that tenants plan accordingly.
I'm arriving late at night. How do I get keys?
All homes have self-service check-in, which means you can arrive any time, even if it is late at night. With your final payment, we will email you a "Welcome Packet" that gives accurate driving directions and specifics on how to access the house.
Whom do I call if there is an issue?
Although unlikely, should you have a concern, question, or other issue at the house, a rental agent is just a phone call away to help you resolve it. During the summer months, we are available during regular business days and carry an after-hours cell phone for 24/7 access. This number is provided in your emailed "Welcome Packet," sent upon receipt of your final payment.
What is the cancellation policy?
We offer homeowners two cancellation policies: Standard and Relaxed.
Standard—if a 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 The Knowles Company commission and booking fee only. These potential costs are detailed both in your rate quote provided by the Rental Agent and in the body of the lease agreement you sign.
Relaxed—tenants who cancel 60 or more days from their arrival date will receive an automatic refund of any payment made less The Knowles Company commission and booking fee. Tenants who cancel less than 60 days from their arrival date will receive a refund less commission and booking fee, but only if the house re-books, similar to the Standard 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. Tenants are generally expected to pay for interim cleaning as desired and by prior arrangement with the homeowner's cleaner well in advance of your stay. Cleaners are generally not available for daily cleaning.
How much is the security deposit and what would it be used for?
Many of our security deposits are around $500 but can range to $2,000 depending on the property and length of lease. Security Deposits are held by The Knowles Company and are usually fully refundable, unless otherwise stipulated per the terms of your lease. Typical deductions from Security Deposits include the cost of postage for returning forgotten items, costs for any extra cleaning required after leaving a house particularly messy, or repairs to damage caused during your stay. Any request from a homeowner for a deduction from a Security Deposit would first be discussed with the Tenant.
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 tenant's 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 Tenant's stay. We therefore rely on the eyes and ears of caretakers and cleaners who are intimately familiar with a house and more likely 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. Two companies, Acadia Baby Gear and Acadia Baby Outfitters, each have a wide range of equipment for reasonable rates available. They are a great and reliable service! Ask your Agent for more information, but both can be found online.
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 and to communicate your pet's breed and age. Cats are generally not accepted by any homeowners. Homeowners have the right to decline a pet based on perceived risk. A weekly pet fee will be added to your rental rate. Service animals do not fall under the same restrictions as pets. The Knowles Company observes state law and ADA guidelines in accommodating service animals.
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 except for AT&T. 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 - terrific 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, wild turkeys, 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 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. In the event of a double booking as a result of owner error, the tenant whose lease was executed first will be entitled to the house. In the event The Knowles Company tenant needs to be relocated, the owner will be responsible for the cost of The Knowles Company commission, and may be liable for any additional costs required to acquire a replacement home.
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.