ghost

Cornavirus impact on outer banks

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Surf or Sound

My argument with them is that I am paying rental fee, cleaning fee, dog fee, credit card fee and protection fee. I am paying for a bunch of services which will never be performed.

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Are they offering you anything?  Like a voucher for future booking?  We had to cancel our trip to Florida in a few weeks.  I inquired a few weeks ago and they said no refund.  Now are offering that we can re-book with them, but an additional $250 re-booking fee.  Which to me, is more than fair.  I was expecting to lose my whole deal.  I may end up losing it all, plus $250...  Which I wouldn't have been happy about and completely understand your frustration.

 

Please do not take what I am going to say next out of context, this is not meant as a direct response to Ghost, who I feel is handling this situation in an extremely professional manner.  There is another side to every story, and by no means am I saying that I agree in any way of how Surf or Sound is handling this situation!  Just keep in mind that many of the owners of these places are mostly regular folks that have saved for many years, dreaming of owning something near the beach.  Many are paying mortgages and bills on these second properties, to mostly break even every year or enough profit to put back into the homes to keep them updated and attractive to vacationers.  Basically get a place to stay for a week or two, then in 30 years after mortgage is done, is when they profit.  For my situation, that is how the math worked out when looking to purchase something myself.  Trust me, I wasn't looking at $M homes.  My search was less than half of that, using 10% down, and still over what I was comfortable with.  Most will need to rent out well over half of the year to break even, but will be gaining equity.  Under normal conditions, it seems like a pretty good investment from what I could tell.  But factoring things like this and hurricanes, the regular stock market roller coaster might be better in the long run.  Right now, they are losing out on the next few months worth of rent.  Also possibly half of the summer with people scared to go and probably all of the fall with fear that this is coming back then and just regular hurricane fears.  Many of those people are going to be $50k-$100k in the hole this year over this and likely see many foreclosures due to it.  With the market tanking, most of their reserve funds to cover when people are not renting, are 2/3 of what they were, if they even had reserve funds.  Some of these people could be in financial ruin over this.  Hopefully the aid package that was just passed addresses these people, and in return can work out better deals with those forced to cancel.  Again, I am not siding with anyone, as I completely feel for anyone that has lost money over this, especially from the county shutting down and agree that you got a bum deal (especially with the fees that you mentioned).  Every case is different and not all owners are the same.  Some could be families that are well off and can pay $1-2M cash and able to handle $50k-$100k hit without a major disruption.  I certainly feel lucky that I didn't pull the switch and purchase a property.  I know a few others that did and fortunately have dual incomes to stay afloat, but will be hit really hard.  Some others are not that fortunate.

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Surf or Sound first argument was I should have purchased travel insurance now they have a taped message that say's travel insurance does NOT cover this closure, so had I purchased travel insurance I would be losing more money. 

I would gladly take a credit on a future rental .

What bothered me most were the fees I paid for cleaning, dog, protection which go to the rental agency and clearly is in their control, and their refusal to speak to the owners about an adjustment or credit.  

It's not all realtors, my old realtor (did not have available rental) but they are cancelling all fees and trying to work out adjustments with their customers.

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I agree with you 100% on the fees that aren't being used.  Same thing with the insurance for us in FL.  Those policies seem to be a scam.

 

Any realtor or home owner looking to have any of those that canceled to ever use them again, should be trying to work out some sort of credit to a future rental.  I imagine that ours will really end up coming out to about 1.5 the amount of our original cost.  They say $250 re-booking fee, but have to pay any difference in rate increases (which I imagine they will increase rates for anyone using)...  But we get a vacation out of it.  I am sure you and most others would be just fine with that too.  If not offering you 50% off your next rental or something like that, then this company is going under. 

 

Hopefully this assistance package passed by the Feds, will have something in it that Surf or Sound changes their ways on dealing with customers that had no choice.  I'd look into the details of it and possibly even contact Dare County to see if their closure has anything mentioned in it to safeguard visitors.  Their economy is dependent on tourism, so I would hope that they would do something to make sure the tourism money returns.

 

If they don't, please keep us posted.  I personally will not rent from Surf or Sound again if they can't work out something with you.

 

Again, my message wasn't meant to be negative to your situation at all.  There are a lot of people hurting from this stupid virus, that really isn't anyone's fault.

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We rented from them two or three times, and found them hard to work with some years ago.  We’re lucky in that we were already here when the order came down.  

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My usual realtor (Outer Beach) who had nothing available when we rented is working with their customers refunding fees and arranging credits for future rentals .  I wish I had stayed with them but I wanted to get down there so bad I made a poor decision.

Live and Learn

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All those companies are ripping people off if they dont give a full refund. Most of those houses are owned by big realty outfits. I have a place in Florida through air bnb 4/3- 4/12  and received a full refund within 5 minutes of canceling.  The owner even offered  4 extra days for the same price in june. That's how you do business not steal people's money.

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You can blister their ass on every website that rates property rental agencies - that would be entirely appropriate and fair.  At least others won’t make the mistake of dealing with them if they factor in your review.  I hate to see companies ripping people off when the county closure is out of your control.  OH

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Posted (edited) · Report post

maybe a ray sunshine...?

Real Estate Comm. says barred visitors owed refunds

By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on March 20, 2020

Issues over travel insurance remain murky

Dare County’s March 17 restrictions on visitor access left vacation rental brokers in murky waters when it came to tenant inquiries regarding refunds and cancellations due to the COVID-19 crisis. But a March 19 letter from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission’s (NCREC) legal counsel sought to clarify that, stating that with the exception of certain statutory fees, the state’s Vacation Rental Act requires brokers to refund any and all funds when access to vacation rental homes is obstructed.

“In the current situation, landlords of vacation rental units in the affected areas cannot provide access to the units for the tenants who have pending reservations,” wrote NCREC legal counsel Janet Thoren in the letter to Commission Chairman Jeffery Malarney. “As a consequence, we have determined that when access to the property cannot be provided, we find that [the Vacation Rental Act] requires that the landlord and broker refund all monies paid by the tenant.”

full story:

https://www.outerbanksvoice.com/2020/03/20/real-estate-commission-says-barred-visitors-owed-refunds/

Edited by Cephalopholis

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I would fight that, you were forbidden from coming by their law, their mandatory evacuation orders, not your own fault. If it was a hurricane with mandatory evacuations wouldn't that be covered by refund policy?

I smell a skunk.  Realtor gets paid, but I bet the home owners don't.  than realtor applies for federal assistance, than tells home owners to apply for federal assistance.

Edited by towpro

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Surf or Sound policy has changed, but not out of the goodness of their heart or the desire to do right during the emergency. Basically their lawyers told them that they have to comply with the NC Real-Estate Comm. , so they have informed me that I will get a full refund on the last day of my planned stay.

Its important to understand it is not all realtors as many were doing the right think without being forced. 

 

I want to thank everyone for their help and suggestions, hopefully I see an end to this situation.  Thanks Ghost

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we talk about going to OBX with a bunch if friends, which means we will need to rent a home instead of taking RV, so I will remember this company and avoid them.

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I'm so sick of these beach house rental companies including Outer Beaches Realty. I too have had bad experiences with them over the years. This is a global pandemic. So many people are unable to work because of this virus. A friend of mine owns a small business that has total work stoppage right now. He is urging his employees to quickly file for unemployment to get some help. A CEO of one company is donating his salary to help his workers out. The company my wife works for is donating money and food to help the public. Our government is trying to help us out($3000 for each family under 100k) with a stimulus package.  Prominent figures are donating millions to help people. And so on....etc....But it seems like a lot of these rental companies are trying to hold on every penny they can. Like money grubbers. At least that's how they are portraying themselves.  Bottom line is they should give refunds immediately and willingly as a gesture of good will during these incredible times. Outer Beaches Coronavirus  site doesn't even mention refund. They want you to  change your stay to a different week. At least Hatteras Realty mentions a refund. A lot of vacationers who could afford a vacation, can no longer. But those who can and are refunded will book again, and again in the future like most of us will. My 2 cents worth of rant.

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