Dear Future Guests, March 27, 2020
In spite of the challenges that we all face with the unprecedented global event and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are remaining hopeful for our country and community as we continue to prepare for the future. We have been here answering your calls and working hard to finish up our normal spring services and summer preparedness. When the time comes and guests can access the island again, we will be ready!
Original Notice As of March 23rd, The Town of Holden Beach originally declared a State of Emergency and along with other restrictions… has effectively banned short term rentals starting Saturday, March 28th at 2:00pm. The provisions of the order indicate this will be in effect to at least April 4th.
However as of today, March 27th the ban on short term rentals has been extended to April 25th
Update from the Town: http://www.hbtownhall.com/
Due to this order and the lack of access to the rental homes, we have been working with our owners and guests in regard to the reservations directly affected. Many guests have been contacted to consider a substitute week later in the season, based on availability, however we realize this may not be suitable for all families. Therefore, guests will have their funds returned if requested but only for the current week(s) affected, 3/28-4/25. All rental funds for reservations during those dates will be refunded in full, with the exception of any statutory fees such as the reservation fee. All refunds will be processed soon after the original check out date of the intended stay.
We are still actively taking reservations for later in the 2020 season and plan to honor all 2020 future confirmed reservations in the hopes that the pandemic will recede in the coming weeks and months.
Below is the North Carolina Real Estate Commission clarification under the Vacation Rental Act for additional information and understanding of the guidelines we are required to follow.
Commission’s Statement on Vacation Rental Act and Tenant Refunds Due to COVID Related Road/Bridge/Access Closures
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (“NCREC”)expects further access restrictions as situations continue to develop and, as a result, will publish its position on its website as it potentially affects a significant number of North Carolina’s licensed vacation rental managers and consumers as well. The Commission is clarifying its position regarding whether a tenant’s funds that are being held in trust by a broker for rental weeks affected by the access closure need to be returned to the tenant. The NCREC has historically required North Carolina licensed vacation rental brokers to refund any and all funds held in trust, less certain statutory fees or earned commissions, where access to vacation rental homes is obstructed. Because these are no evacuation orders under N.C.G.S. 42A-36, we focused our analysis on the remaining landlord/tenant laws in the Vacation Rental Act. In the current situation, landlords (landlords are vacation rental homeowners) of vacation rental units in the affected areas cannot provide access to the units for the tenants who have pending reservations. 1 Moreover, access to the property is an integral part of its us and enjoyment and tenants have the legal right to the use and enjoyment of the leased property. 2 As a consequence, we have determined that when access to the property cannot be provided, we find that N.C.G.S. 42A-17(b) requires that the landlord and broker refund all monies paid by the tenant. In those instances where the real estate broker may have legally disbursed up to fifty percent (50%) of the rent received to the owner as provided in G.S. 42A-16 the broker must return the funds the broker continues to hold in their trust account to the tenant. Similarly, the landlord, and not the broker, is responsible for returning the tenant money the landlord received as an advanced disbursement. A landlord who refuses to return money to a tenant may be subject to a civil suit by the tenant. Finally, there may be other contractual issues relating to deductions for commissions, fees and services owed by landlords not contemplated by this paper, but that may fall under the jurisdiction of a civil and not a regulatory action or interpretation. Commission staff consulted with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division before issuing this statement.
1- Whether the responsibility for the access closure lies with the landlord or the federal, state or local officials or is an Act of God is irrelevant.
2- Whether the rental home itself is fit and habitable is also irrelevant, instead access to the rental home is the critical component of our legal analysis under these facts.
Refunds will not be issued until the guest’s original departure day has passed as we do not yet have an indication of how long this situation will last. It is our hope that everyone stays safe and takes the necessary precautions as deal with this pandemic. We will be in close contact going forward for any changes, and if new issues arise.
Through the years our company has faced multiple unpleasant events and factors out of our control: Hurricanes, floods, outages etc. This by far is one of the most difficult and unforeseeable events we have endured. With this event, it’s the uncertainty of what to expect that is especially trying for us all.
Please know that we sincerely understand how you and your family feel and how disappointed you are, not to be able to come to Holden Beach for your Spring Vacation. With the potential health threats that are upon us, we share your feelings and concerns. It is our sincere hope that you and your family all remain well. We look forward to better days soon and we look forward to welcoming you and your family back to Holden Beach, in the near future!
The Staff of Holden Beach Vacations and Realty