I have some further questions for you.
We wrote to her as per your advice setting out what we wanted.
After one bizarre exchange of emails in which she expressed shock that we would upset her in this way, we reiterated our simple request for her to honour her agreement and asked that she send us no more emails or texts, we have received today a 'without prejudice' reply agreeing to our 2 week free holiday in her house.
However she places a couple of conditions, neither of which are intrinsically unreasonable but I would like to make sure that we don't open ourselves up to further unreasonable behaviour from her.
'I am prepared to let you have those two weeks free of charge as we have previously agreed but stipulate that I will require a security deposit cheque from you for £100 (as you have paid in previous years as per the terms of the agency you booked with, namely English Country Cottages). As in previous years this will be refunded to you by second class post after inspection that there is no damage of any kind to my cottage or its contents. A full inventory will be made and left for you.
The offer of 2 (two) free weeks is made on the basis that you are fully aware that there could be serious noise levels directly affecting you and your family during your stay and that you are also fully aware that I will have no control whatsoever on timings of building noise or who makes it, and that you understand therefore that I will not accept any complaint from you during the two weeks...
Based on your signed acceptance of the above stipulations, terms and conditions, I can let you have those two weeks as previously agreed at no charge. I look forward to receiving your security deposit cheque within the next 14 ays (as of today's date) along with your signed and dated copy of this letter attached. If not received within this time scale, then my offer made herein will be rescinded and you may take matters further if you so wish.'
My questions to you are:
1) How reasonable is it for her to demand our deposit cheque over 6 months before we arrive? Previous conditions were a security deposit cheque 6 weeks prior to arrival. The first two years it was returned uncashed and last year when we booked privately with her, she didn't ask us for a security cheque.
2) Is it reasonable for me to state that she can have our cheque now on the strict condition that it is held in abeyance until we leave the property. Should it be cashed in advance we will regard that as theft. What are our rights in this regard?
3) Previously the security deposit was £50 and not the £100 though inflation and all that. Here's what she wrote 3 years ago
> Could you also send me a £50 security deposit cheque
>(mentioned in my email
> dated 31st Januatry). I don't cash this but hold it
>against damages or
> towels missing, etc etc - hopefully there won't be any -
>and it is returned
> to you in the post on the Monday after your leave.
>Guests have always left
> the cottage in a really good condition thankfully. I
>will leave a spare set
> of bed linen and towels for you in case you want to
>change mid holiday.
4) Her suggestion that we can't complain to her about the neighbour's noise is of course reasonable under the circumstances but her suggestion that we sign a piece of paper that says that she will not accept any complaint to her is wholly unreasonable. How do we address all this within the 2 week window she has now stipulated?
Be grateful for your further advice.
BTW rated you as good service (rather than excellent) as was asked to rate before I had a chance to see the effects of your advice which have been very positive.