Oak Island Accommodations asked the NC Real Estate Commission for refund policy eligibility. It was determined, and communicated, through the Commission statement titled Hurricanes, Evacuations, and Vacation Rentals in Items 2 and 3 that:
(2) When a vacation tenant complies with an evacuation order, he or she is generally entitled to a refund of a share of the money he or she has paid for the rental (rent, security deposit, taxes, etc.) prorated for each night the evacuation order was in effect.
(3) There is an exception to this rule, however. If the tenant was offered travel insurance that covered the risk of mandatory evacuation, then the landlord has no obligation to refund the tenant’s money. To trigger the exception, the cost of the insurance offered cannot exceed 8% of the cost of the vacation rental and the policy cannot exclude the particular storm. It is important to note that some vacation rental insurance companies exclude coverage for storms that have been named by the National Hurricane Center prior to date the insurance was purchased. If a storm is named prior to the purchase of travel insurance and, if the insurance will not cover the tenant for losses or damages resulting from a mandatory evacuation or from damages and losses caused by the named storm, then the tenant is entitled to a refund from the landlord of all monies paid.
The commission statement further communicated in Item 4 that:
(4) If, following the storm and after any mandatory evacuation has been lifted, the landlord or his broker cannot provide a promised rental property to a vacation rental tenant – whether the reason is that the house was significantly damaged or that it is inaccessible due to damage to or closure of roads or ferries – the tenant is entitled to either a refund of his money or the substitution of a reasonably comparable property at the same cost. This refund may come in the form of a paid claim against travel insurance. Tenants and vacation rental managers are encouraged to read and understand the limits of coverage being offered.
Given this information, refund eligibility is determined as follows:
FOR GUESTS AFFECTED BY MANDATORY EVACUATION
If you purchased travel insurance, you are advised to begin the claims process. For information on your coverage and/or the claims process, please contact Red Sky directly at 866-549-5283. Please note, Red Sky will not make a final decision on a claim prior to your travel dates. If you purchased travel insurance, you must file a claim.
If you DID NOT purchase travel insurance and are not allowed to check in due to the mandatory evacuation order, your reservation is non-refundable. If you are scheduled to arrive prior to August 21, 2020, you can submit a request for a date transfer for a later arrival, by emailing our guest services department. Transfer requests must be for the same property for an available date in 2020. Property owners are under no obligation to accept your date transfer request.
If the mandatory evacuation order is still in place on September 4th, 2020, Oak Island Accommodations will work to either transfer or refund all affected guests, whether travel insurance was purchased or not since the travel insurance policy offered only provides coverage for 30 days from the qualifying event.
FOR GUESTS AFFECTED AFTER MANDATORY EVACUATION IS LIFTED
Guests will be notified of the status of the property they have rented and if they will be permitted to check-in or not.
If the property is rentable, guests will be notified that they will be allowed to check-in to the property they have rented.
If the property is not rentable, guests will be notified that they will not be able to check-in upon their arrival date. Guests who purchased travel insurance should begin a claim with Red Sky. For those who did not purchase travel insurance, OIA staff can work with you to search for a comparable property or offer a refund.
Check-in and refund eligibility will be assessed on a week-by-week basis, and staff will be in communication on that weekly basis as the situation unfolds further.
Staff will also work to respond to all questions as quickly as we are able, and will follow up with additional communications by email as necessary. We ask that guests keep an eye on their email in case of any status changes.
As always, we appreciate patience and understanding during this time.