Advice needed on managing changeovers and looking after our holiday flat in St Cyp

(Carol Norwell) #1

We have a lovely gated 2 bed/2 bath apartment in St Cyprien, Languedoc. We have been renting it out this year…and because we keep the prices reasonable, have had a goodly number of bookings. My problem is, we found it difficult to find someone to do the changeovers…originally using a large holiday company who charged a ridiculous amount to rent out our flat…we got about a third of their takings…they rented out for a grand total of 5 weeks last summer. But they did look after the flat, anything got broken, they replaced it, and they were obsessional.

We now have the situation of paying someone around 80 euros…allegedly for a 2 hour clean between lets; we pay extra…around 10 euros for them to change beds/do laundry. We recently discovered they have been leaving forms for our guests with tick boxes for them to confirm they have, cleaned the oven, wiped out the microwave, washed the floors, cleaned the bathrooms etc. with a statement at the bottom which says, if you leave the flat dirty an added cost of 30 euros will be charged. We didnt understand why we had several complaints about the cleaning requirements…we had originally said please leave the flat the way you find it…clean!

We have just spent a week there and immediately after a guest…and found it dirty… (they complainted to us about the cleaning requirement and the form and we said to leave it) but also there were several dinner plates missing, assumed broken, light fittings minus working bulbs…the linen shower curtains in both bathrooms were covered in mould, filthy windows…obviously its been uncared for for some time …

My question is…do we have to engage a maintendance company to do the day to day maintenance, changing light bulbs, replacing broken goods, advising us the shower curtain dirty, cleaning windows…or should we expect 2 hours cleaning to do these things. It took me 7 hours to get the flat back to its original lovely state…and advice would be welcomed…

(Carol Norwell) #2

Brilliant Sara,
many thanks…did send off an email to the nearest one of these yesterday, as St Cyp, Canet and Argeles…all coastal tourist centres…am amazed there are not more directly in our area…Ceret is a good hour plus drive…and Fitou also an hour… couldnt find anything more local…strange eh?

(Sara Bowles) #3

Hi Carol, having just done a very quick internet search, I have found the following Property Management companies in your region:

Les Jours Heureux66 Property Management

1 Rue du Regatieu

Cassagnes 66720

Contact: Ruby Laura Goold

Tel: 06 38 73 15 62


Les Maisons de Primavera 66

Contact: Vera and Paul

Tel: 04 68 21 88 45

Ceret Property 66

Fitou Property Services

On Aude/Pyrenees Orientales boarder

We are too far away from you, being based in the Herault department, where there are large numbers of Property Management companies, but most of them are not legally registered!

Good luck in your search

All the best


(Carol Norwell) #4

Hi Sara,

are you in our area?
I have to say, we have had a tough time finding property management companies in 66…

(Danny Kibbey) #5


I don’t have direct knowledge of these people but have heard good things about them, although it sounds like you may have this problem under control anyway by now:

And this is a good newsletter for the region keeping you abreast of what’s going on and who’s offering which services:

(Jane Canty) #6

Oh Carol, so sorry, there’s a St Cyprien near Uzes and I presumed it was that one, dopey me, shame because they are extremely good at what they do. Also me being a cleanaholic I know their places are left spotless. I hope you find someone reliable soon.

(Sara Bowles) #7

Hi Carol, my husband and I actually run a Property Management company, and believe me there are plenty of us here doing this kind of stuff here, so your choice should be broad. We make individual written agreements with all our clients, they are made to fulfill exactly what the client requires and we ensure that everything is in black and white, so there is no ambiguity for us or for them about exactly what services are provided and the cost of these services. From what you are saying our charges a well below the ones that you have talked about I charge 80€ for a 4 hour changeover of a large house and it’s own apartment. As all our clients would tell you the properties are always immaculate - which is what you expect. I would suggest that you try to contact several Property Management companies, tell them about the problems you have had, tell them exactly what you are looking for and GET REFERENCES from several of their other clients - ask for telephone numbers and addresses. When you call these people then make the first thing you say to them - Hello, I understand that ******* look after your property, you should be able to tell immediately by what they say to you if this is true and then go on to ask further questions about what is done for them etc. We have many different clients, with many different needs and requirements and we treat them as individuals. This is what you should expect from a good Property Management Company - we are siret registered and insured which is something else you should ensure for your own protection.
Good luck in finding the right Property Management Company for you.

(Carol Norwell) #8

that would be very kind Jane…think St Cyprien may be a little far for them…we are 4 miles from Argeles and about the same from Canet…in the opposite direction…but would be interested…thank you

(Jane Canty) #9

Carol, I have friends(based in between Ales and Uzes) who have their own property maintenance business, changeovers etc. As far as I know their standard rate is 15e per hour…all registered and above board by the way…they welcome guests etc, check everything, products linen etc, do laundry, if you want I’ll give you their e-mailaddress. Very honest and reliable, I’ve worked for them myself a few times in the Summer months.

(Carol Norwell) #10

Thank you all for your advice…I will post the job…thanks Catherine…the main concern I have is that our guests are not presented with cleaning rota forms…on their holiday!!! and that we have someone we can trust who will go to the trouble of counting plates, glasses etc…and informing us when jobs need doing that hopefully they can do.

(Franca Porter-Sanders) #11

My first thought was…why don’t you do it yourself because it’s not so huge. But I guess you don’t live in France or nearby to handle it yourself.

80 Euros* for cleaning 2 hours is extremely high and I am convinced there are other good people who would like to do it for less. I think it’s important, if you’re not in the area, to have 1 person who guests can call/rely on if there are problems in the house to solve it.

  • Does this amount includes the washing/ironing of bedding/linen too?

In our part of France, Charente, good cleaning people are underpayed, they got paid 10-15 euros an hour for a gite!


Franca (Au Bellefleur chambres d’hotes)

(Catharine Higginson) #12

Post in the job offers group on SFN?

(Carol Norwell) #13

The problem we have is that we are a 5 hour drive away in the Bergerac region…and need someone actually there!

(Claire King 2) #14

80 euros is extortionate for a 2 hour changeover - especially if guests are being asked to leave it spotless! You should expect to pay 50€ at most for a 2 hour clean (2-3 hours is right for a 2 bed apt) from a company with an invoice, half that if you pay cash in hand to a trusted neighbour.
We state that cleaning is not included and the responsibility of the renter, but offer to arrange a cleaner at cost is required. Usually the French do their own clean, thoroughly, and the Brits opt to pay for a cleaner.
We’re lucky that we’re on hand, so anything like broken shower curtains, lightbulbs, leaky taps etc the renters tell us there and then. Perhaps it would help if you could get that info from your customers somehow.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of money to be made in renting, and if you end up paying a big chunk to a management company it’s easy to end up out of pocket.