8 Aug 2020
On August 7th, 2020 Margaret Rudd & Associates sent a notification to our guests who have reservations starting August 8th in properties that were located in the Mandatory Evacuation area as defined in the Town of Oak Island State of Emergency Declaration, as well as properties located from SE 58th St and SE 40th St. on Beach Drive. The communication read as follows:
At this time, either the Town of Oak Island still has a Mandatory Evacuation in place for the area in which your rental is located, or the Town of Oak Island has not been able to restore essential services (water, sewer, gas, electric) in the area in which your rental is located. In most areas, both situations apply.
Margaret Rudd & Associates will not be able to facilitate check-in until the Mandatory Evacuation is lifted AND essential services are restored. Both factors MUST apply in order to allow for check-in. We will contact you by email and text when the Evacuation is lifted AND services are restored, and when the property you have rented has been deemed safe and ready to rent.
The travel insurance policy we offer provides coverage for Mandatory Evacuation due to adverse weather or natural disasters. The policy also provides coverage for interruption of water, electric, sewer and gas at the destination due to adverse weather or natural disaster.
Per the Vacation Rental Agreement, under our Travel Insurance/Guest Protection Coverage section, as well as Section 13 - CSA Guest Protect / Travel Protection and Assistance Program, since MRA offers the insurance, there will be no refund for insurable events if Tenant refused or declined insurance. You may view a full summary of our Vacation Rental Policies on our website.
If you purchased the insurance, you may file a claim to seek reimbursement for time lost while the property is under Mandatory Evacuation and has loss of services.
If you do not have travel insurance, there will be no refund issued for lost time while the property is under Mandatory Evacuation or has loss of services.
Once the Mandatory Evacuation order is lifted AND services are restored to the property, if the property has damages that keep it from safely being occupied then MRA will issue refunds for lost time. Again, this is ONLY after the evacuation is lifted AND services are restored. This will apply to both guests who purchased the travel insurance coverage as well as those who did not.
Should you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com. Please understand that our phones are extremely busy at this time and staff is doing its best to respond to all questions in the order in which they are received. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated as we work through this process.
The NC Real Estate Commission provides a review of the laws governing evacuations and vacation rentals in a document titled Hurricanes, Evacuations, and Vacation Rentals. A link to this document is currently on the Commission website. Items #3 and #4 of this document specifically support our policy and position as stated in the above email to guests.
After the email was sent, The Town of Oak Island released a 3rd and 4th Amended Declaration to the State of Emergency. The amended declarations included language that restricts short term rentals indefinitely. This language is similar to that used in March of 2020 when short term rentals were banned by the Town in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The NC Real Estate Commission provided a statement entitled Commission’s Statement on Vacation Rental Act and Tenant Refunds Due to COVID Related Road/Bridge/Access Closures. This document stated that refunds were to be provided if ACCESS to a property could not be granted. However, a main factor in determining action with regard to refunds was whether or not restrictions were imposed as part of an evacuation order.
Margaret Rudd & Associates has always, and will continue, to operate our business professionally and ethically, following the rules, regulations, and laws that govern our state and profession. As the language of the State of Emergency includes both a Mandatory Evacuation order and references that there be no short-term rental occupancies of any kind or duration, in addition to prohibitions and restrictions which apply to vacation rentals, Margaret Rudd & Associates feels it necessary to request the guidance and evaluation of the NC Real Estate Commission with regard to the handling of tenant funds and/or refunds.
Once we receive said guidance from the Commission, we will move forward as instructed and/or directed by the governing body. We request your patience as we wait for this direction.