terms & conditions

By booking a property with us – whether directly, with a third party booking agent or through a booking website – you agree with us that the booking and the booking contract are subject to the Booking Terms and Conditions which are set out below.

Note that during 2021 and, potentially, 2022, the Booking Procedures and Cancellation Policies have been amended to provide a Covid Booking Guarantee. The Covid Booking Guarantee provides more flexible terms relating to your deposit, the date the balance of your booking is due, and the cancellation policy. Guests will be provided with a full refund, including of the deposit, in circumstances where you cannot travel due to Covid restrictions either in the Scottish Borders or in your home region. For the full details please refer to the Appendix.

Within these Booking Terms and Conditions:

“you” and “your” means the person whose name appears in the booking confirmation as well as all other persons in the party (including anyone who is added or substituted at a later date);

“We”, “us” and “our” means JM & JE Sutherland trading as Hillhouse Farm Escapes, Lauder, Scottish Borders, TD2 6RD;

 “booking” means the process set out below which results in the formation of the booking contract;

“booking contract” means the legal binding agreement between you and us which comes into effect once a booking is confirmed in accordance with paragraph 2.4;

“property” means the property or properties in respect of which a booking is made;

 “force majeure” means any event which we could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include, whether actual or threatened,  adverse weather conditions, disease, war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, fire and all similar events outside our control.

1. general terms & conditions

1.1 You must be aged 18 years or over when the booking is made.

1.2 We reserve the right to refuse any booking for any lawful reason.

1.3 Bookings for single-sex groups of more than 4 adult guests, stag parties and hen parties are not permitted without our prior consent. This being the case we may need to seek further information from you on receiving enquiries or bookings for such groups.

1.4 You may occupy the property for the purpose of either (i) a business trip associated with work in the local area or (i) a holiday (as defined in the Housing Act 1988, Schedule 1, Paragraph 9). You agree and understand that no assured shorthold tenancy, statutory periodic tenancy or any other type of tenancy will arise other than a holiday letting or business trip. 

2. booking process

2.1 When booking directly with us, a deposit of 30% of the total rental cost of the property must be made at the time of the provisional booking. When booking via third party websites, deposits are subject to the terms of the relevant website. 

2.2 Bookings made within 60 days of the arrival date at the property must be paid in full at the time of the provisional booking, unless otherwise agreed.

2.3 All bookings remain provisional until payment has been received in cleared funds. Unless payment has been made within 48 hours of making the provisional booking, the provisional booking will be treated as cancelled. The only exception is if alternative arrangements have been made in writing between you and us.

2.4 Once the provisional booking has been accepted and all payments then due have been made, we will send you confirmation by email that the booking is confirmed. Please contact us immediately if any information which appears on the booking confirmation is incorrect or incomplete.

2.5 All bookings remain provisional until confirmed by us in writing at which point the booking contract is formed. 

2.6 The balance of the rental cost and security deposit (see 4 below) must be paid in full in cleared funds 60 days prior to your date of arrival at the property unless the Covid Booking Guarantee is in force (see Covid Booking Guarantee in the Appendix for details). A reminder will be sent to you by email one week before this date. Failure to comply with our payment terms may lead to the booking being treated as cancelled whereupon our standard cancellation terms will apply (see paragraph 10 below).

3. prices & payment

3.1 Our quoted prices are per property for accommodation only and include cleaning on departure, bed linen and towels, electricity, water and central heating. Additional charges may be payable including for dogs, travel cots and camp beds. Travel cot linen is not included, unless agreed otherwise.  

3.2 Payments can be made in UK sterling by bank transfer, by credit or debit. You will reimburse us for any charges raised against us for handling overseas bank transfers or other payments.

3.3 Our booking system is PCI compliant and protected by Secured Socket Layer encryption.

4. security deposit

4.1 A security deposit is required to cover the cost of any damage or breakages to or at the property, its contents or grounds, any additional cleaning required over the time allowed for a standard departure clean, replacement of lost or non-returned keys (and replacement of locks if necessary), a penalty fee and the cost of professionally cleaning the soft furnishings where the no smoking rule has been ignored, replacement of soiled mattresses, late departure (if not agreed), over occupancy of guests or pets or taking pets into a property that does not permit pets, allowing pets upstairs in properties or allowing guests on furniture in a property.

4.2 We will inform you at time of making the booking of the amount of the security deposit.

4.3 An enhanced security deposit may be required for certain types of booking including events and group single sex bookings (where they have been permitted by us).

4.4 We will hold your credit or debit card details used to pay the deposit or balance of the booking for the security deposit, unless you state otherwise and provide us with alternative debit or credit card details.

4.5 If you pay the balance of the booking fee by bank transfer, credit or debit card details for the security deposit must be provided at time of payment. You agree to us holding your card details for the purpose of payment of the security deposit or any part of it or for any additional sums which are payable by you in accordance with paragraphs 4.9 to 4.12 below.

4.6 If you fail to provide credit or debit card details for the security deposit on request, we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled whereupon our standard cancellation terms will apply (see paragraph 10 below).

4.7 The credit or debit card provided in respect of the security deposit must be valid for a month after the booking departure date.

4.8 We or the housekeeper will inspect the property after your departure.

4.9 You will only be notified if there is cause to charge any proportion of the security deposit.

4.10 We will notify you of any damage or breakages noted along with images provided by the us (where applicable) within 5 working days of your departure from the property.  Charges up to the value of £20 are at our discretion.  You will be charged where the cost of repair or replacement totals £20 or more.  In the event of minor breakages (e.g. glasses), cash should be left for replacement.

4.11 The costs referred to above will be charged to your credit or debit card which we hold for the security deposit.

4.12 If the security deposit specified at time of booking is not sufficient to cover the costs referred to above we will charge the full amount of the security deposit and the balance over and above this sum to your credit or debit card on the date that is 14 days after the amount has been notified to you.

4.13 If there is a delay in obtaining an invoice (for instance if repairs are involved), we will charge the security deposit or a proportion of it and will refund any excess to your debit or credit card once the final invoice is received by us. 

5. your obligations

5.1 You must arrive and depart within the check-in and check-out times stipulated for the property, unless special arrangements have been agreed in advance.  Failure to check out on time may result in a charge of £50 being made to your security deposit.

5.2 You must keep the property and all furniture, fittings, facilities, equipment and grounds in the same state of repair and condition as at the date of your arrival and in the same state of general order in which they were found. We will make a deduction from your security deposit for any additional cleaning required over the usual number of hours committed to departure cleaning.  

5.3 Mattresses are checked after every booking. In the event of a mattress being soiled, you will be charged for a new mattress. Waterproof mattress protectors can be pre-ordered at all properties and we urge you to request these in advance if you have any concerns to avoid any charges for soiled mattresses.

5.4 You will be charged for the cost of replacing bed linen and towels with permanent staining including those from hair dye, fake tan or make up. You are not permitted to use hair dye products on the premises.

5.5 All of the properties are strictly no smoking. If you or any visitors to you at the property, fail to observe this rule we will charge you an automatic penalty of £200. In addition, we will charge you for the cost or removing all tracing of smoke from the property including cleaning soft furnishings and any other additional cleaning required.

5.6 You will be charged for repairing or replacing any septic tank which has been damaged by flushing anything other than toilet roll down toilets at the property. Do not flush baby wipes, face wipes, hygiene wipes, tampons and other sanitary products down the toilet.

5.7 You must promptly report to us any breakages or damage and you will be responsible for payment of any breakages, loss or damage to the property and/or its grounds or contents caused by you.  In the event of minor breakages (e.g. glasses), cash should be left for replacement of the item(s).

5.8 You are responsible for the neighbourly and appropriate behaviour of your party. Should you or a member of your party abuse the property or display dangerous, disrespectful, offensive or rude behaviour to our representatives or any third parties (e.g. neighbours or guests staying in our other properties), undertake any illegal activity, or any activity which may cause damage, or unreasonable noise or disturbance we reserve the right to require the person(s) concerned to leave the property. In such cases, no refund will be given to you.

5.9 You are responsible for you and your party maintaining acceptable levels of noise at the property and within the grounds and vicinity of the property particularly between the hours of 10.00pm and 8.00am. In the event of you or any member of your party breaching this responsibility, we reserve the right to ask you to vacate the property. In such cases, no refund will be given to you.

5.10 Any changes to your party should be notified to us. In addition, you must not exceed the number of guests stated on your booking confirmation. You must not sublet the property without notifying us and obtaining our consent. Such consent may be subject to additional terms and conditions.  

5.11 If you intend to organise a function (e.g. party, wedding or other event) at the property, you must seek prior permission from us. A facility fee and an increased security deposit may apply at our discretion.

5.12 You must adhere to the policy on pets set out in paragraphs 13 and 14 below.  Dogs are welcome at properties marketed as dog-friendly but you must not exceed the number of dogs allowed in the property unless with our prior agreement.

5.13 You agree that access to the wider grounds at Hillhouse Farm Escapes, including the tennis court, is subject to availability. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to use these facilities during your stay. You should book the tennis court with us if you would would like to play at specific times during your stay. Other users of the tennis court include guests staying at other properties, the local community and our personal use.  

5.14 In the event of any breach of the obligations of this paragraph 5 you may be asked to vacate the property and in these circumstances the booking contract will come to an end immediately without any refund of payments made by you or any compensation for early termination.  You will be liable for any costs or damages stipulated in these Booking Terms and Conditions caused by your breach and such costs and damages can be charged to the security deposit.

6. liability

6.1 We do not exclude or limit in any way our liability to you where it would be unlawful to do so. This includes liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees, agents or subcontractors; for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation; or for breach of your legal rights in relation to the booking contract. However, we do not accept liability for any loss, damage, injury or death howsoever caused to you (or anyone in your party) or to your vehicles or personal property in circumstances where we have not been negligent. Any valuables left at the property are left at your own risk. It is your responsibility to ensure that all doors and windows are closed and locked when leaving the property or when in the grounds. You should take out adequate travel insurance (including liability for accidental damage to the property, cancellation cover and medical and emergency expenses) prior to the commencement of your holiday or business trip.

6.2 You are responsible for the physical supervision of all members or your party under the age of 18 at all times. This is particularly important in all children’s play areas, close to the streams and ponds on the farm, in fields with farm animals, the tennis court and on the property drive, farm tracks and public roads. It is your sole responsibility to check the suitability of any children’s equipment which is provided at the property as we cannot accept any responsibility for its use.

6.3 We are not responsible for noise or disturbance originating beyond the boundaries of the property.

6.4 We cannot be responsible for the failure or interruption of the supply of water, electricity or broadband to the property or the removal of waste water from the property or for the breakdown of domestic and mechanical equipment such as heating or plumbing systems and boilers. In such circumstances, we will take all reasonable steps to reinstate the supply or service or repair any equipment as soon as practicable.

6.5 At properties where broadband is provided, no responsibility is accepted for any failure of the service, nor can a minimum speed be guaranteed. The properties are in a rural area, and slow and variable speeds are to be expected.   

6.6 We cannot be responsible for situations in which access to the wider site at Hillhouse Farm Escapes is prevented. For example, we cannot guarantee access to the tennis court, and access must always be agreed with us at our discretion.

6.7 All bookings and other arrangements made by us on your behalf with third parties (e.g. catering services, hot tub hire) are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by those third parties. We do not accept responsibility for these third parties or the services they provide.

6.8 We are not responsible for any loss or damage that is not foreseeable. Loss or damage is foreseeable if either it is obvious that it will happen or if, at the time the booking was made, both we and you knew it might happen.

6.9 We can not accept liability or pay any compensation where performance of our obligations to you is affected or prevented by or you otherwise suffer any damage, loss or expense of any nature as a result of force majeure.

7. access to the property

7.1 We have a right to access the property at any reasonable time during your stay to carry out essential maintenance and equipment checks (e.g. heating). We will endeavour to give reasonable notice to you if practicable. Gardeners and maintenance staff may also enter the grounds during your stay but will try as best possible not to interfere with your enjoyment of the property.

8. complaints

8.1 In the event that a complaint arises whilst you are on holiday or on a business trip at our property, you contact us promptly (our details will be found in the guest information book in the property) to allow us an opportunity to rectify the matter. If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, please let us know immediately.

8.2 In the unlikely event that any problem is not resolved to your satisfaction during your holiday or business trip, you should send us written details of your concerns by email or letter within seven days of your return. Please note that posting complaints on social media is not an appropriate form of communication for resolving problems and we will therefore only deal with emails or letters sent by you in accordance with this paragraph.

8.3 We cannot accept complaints unless this procedure is followed. Complaints received after your holiday or business trip will not be accepted if we have not had prior notification of them and been given the opportunity to put matters right.

9. booking alterations

9.1 A booking can only be transferred to another property by treating the original booking as a cancellation and the terms at paragraph 10 will apply.

9.2 The dates of a booking may be changed providing the property is available for the new dates and we accept the new booking.  Any difference in price must be met by you or will be refunded to you on confirmation of the new booking.  Otherwise the original booking will be treated as a cancellation and the terms at paragraph 10 will apply.

10. booking cancellation

10.1 Cancellation by you of your booking must be given in writing. The effective date of cancellation is the date we receive written your notification and the cancellation charges detailed in the table below will apply unless the Covid Booking Guarantee is in force (see Covid Booking Guarantee – Appendix).

Number of days before holiday or business trip start date that notification is receivedCancellation charge (as a percentage of the total cost of the booking
More than 60 daysDeposit amount – usually 30%
Less than 60 days100%

10.2 Where bookings have also been made with third parties (e.g. for catering or transport services) you may be liable for any cancellation charges set out in their terms and conditions.

10.3 Acceptance of the cancellation of part of a booking is at our sole discretion of the and if accepted will subject to the terms of this paragraph 10.

10.4 We recommend that cancellation insurance is taken out when making a booking.

11. alterations to the property by us

11.1 In the interest of continual improvement we reserve the right to make minor modifications to furniture, amenities and facilities without any prior notice.

11.2 We reserve the right to amend prices due to errors or omissions. You will be notified immediately and have the right to cancel the booking if the amended price is significantly higher than the original price quoted and we will refund to you all payments you have made in respect of the booking.

12. non-availability of the property

12.1 In the unlikely event that the property is not available on the date booked (owing for instance to essential major repairs, flood or fire damage or unforeseen sale of the property), a refund of all monies paid by you to us will be made, or a proportion of the cost of the booking in the case of curtailment.

13. dogs

13.1 One well-behaved and fully house-trained dog is welcome in properties which are marketed as dog-friendly subject to the conditions set out in paragraph 13.2. Young puppies are not permitted. There are no specific modifications to the property or facilities at the property to accommodate dogs. The gardens of the properties are not enclosed. Assistance dogs are welcome at all properties.

13.2 In the event of you breaching the obligations of this paragraph 13.2, you may be charged a penalty fee or asked to vacate the property and the booking will terminate immediately without any refund or compensation but you will continue to be responsible for any costs stipulated in these Booking Terms and Conditions and we have the right to deduct such costs from the security deposit.

13.3 We cannot be be held responsible for the safety of your dog whilst staying at the property. The property is close to a working farm steading (with tractors and other dangerous machinery), to water and to roads.

13.4 Please note that where properties are not listed as dog-friendly, this does not guarantee that the property has not been occupied by pets in the past.

14. other pets

14.1 Pets other than dogs may be welcome with our prior consent but you must let us have full details of any pets at the time of making the provisional booking so we can make a decision. Horses may be welcome if they do not require stabling. A field is available. 

14.2 Where other pets are accepted as part of your booking, you agree to the obligations set out in 13 above (where applicable).  In the event of any breach of these obligations you may be asked to vacate the property and the booking will terminate immediately without any refund or compensation but you will continue to be responsible for any costs stipulated in these Booking Terms and Conditions and we have the right to deduct such costs from the security deposit.

15. accuracy of marketing materials

15.1 The contents of our website and any online or offline marketing materials have been prepared in good faith. We will inform you of any significant changes at the time of booking or as soon as possible afterwards if you have already booked, but we shall not be liable for any minor or insignificant inaccuracy in descriptions and information.

15.2 We cannot accept responsibility for any changes or closures to local amenities or attractions mentioned on our website and in other marketing material.

16. summary of your legal rights

16.1 We will carry out our obligations to you as set out in these Booking Terms and Condition with the reasonable skill and care to be expected of a holiday lets business. For detailed information on your rights as a consumer you can visit the Citizens Advice website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/.

17. privacy policy

17.1 We make it our highest priority to ensure that the personal information you provide to us is secure and remains confidential at all times and we comply with the General Data Protection Regulations 2018. Subject to paragraph 17.2 we will not sell or otherwise disclose your personal information to third parties. We will only disclose any personal information where the law either requires or allows us to do so.  

17.2 Your identity and contact details will be made available us and sometimes to our housekeeper and some personal information may need to be passed to third parties where you have requested additional services, for instance chefs requiring dietary information.

17.3 When booking with us, you will have the opportunity for your details to be added to our database to keep you updated on news and information that we think may be of interest to you. If you accept this opportunity, you can unsubscribe at any time. 

17.4 In order to continually improve our service, you may be sent a feedback email after your booking.  Any feedback you provide in a feedback form, via public review sites (e.g. Facebook or Google) or via our social media platforms may be used by us in our social media and other marketing materials in the form of a review or testimonial, unless you request otherwise.  We will refer to you only by your first name, unless agreed directly with you.

17.5 Our full Privacy Policy is available on our website

18. law

These Booking Terms and Condition and the booking contract to which they apply are governed in all respects by Scots Law and will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.

19. entire agreement & severance

19.1 The booking contract incorporating these Booking Terms and Conditions constitutes the entire agreement between us and supersede any previous agreements or conditions. 

19.2 If a court finds part of these Booking Terms and Conditions to be illegal, the rest will continue in force. Each of the paragraphs of these terms and conditions operate separately. If any court or relevant authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.

20. how to contact us

If you have any questions or complaints, please contact us by telephone on 01578 750752, 07803 244249 or via email at jo@hillhouse.scot or via our website contact form.


The Covid Booking Guarantee can be viewed here.

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