Storms and Rental Income – What Happens?

With hurricane season officially underway, I thought it best to expand on what was mentioned previously in the newsletter, and remind owners of the policies of Topsail Realty regarding cancellations, closures, and evacuations in the event of a major storm.

In the event of an impending storm, there are three possibilities of what can happen with a booked reservation at your property – the guest may cancel versus risk getting stuck in inclement weather, you may choose to shutter your house in preparation for the storm, or there may be a mandatory evacuation of the island.  The only option listed above that would guarantee a refund of owner proceeds to the guest is if you decide to shutter your house before a mandatory evacuation is ordered.

If the guest has decided they do not want to travel due to an approaching storm or if there is a mandatory evacuation of the island, these are instances where the cancellation of the reservation is outside of the owner’s control, and therefore the guest must contact the travel insurance company in order to recoup any of the funds that were paid.  Some owners do opt to allow the tenant to book another week in the same year after the storm has passed, or in the following year, and the funds are transferred to another stay in the future.  However, this is at the owner’s discretion and if you choose not to do so, you are entitled to the funds paid by the guest regardless of whether or not they stayed in your property.

In the event that you shutter your property, the guest is entitled to a refund, as they cannot occupy the house with hurricane shutters or boards in place.  We will pro-rate the guest’s reservation for the number of days that they were able to stay in the house and refund the difference.  For example, if a guest checks in on Saturday and must leave the house Tuesday, we will pro-rate the owner rent for 3 nights and the guest will receive a refund for the remaining 4.  As mentioned previously, it is up to the owner to decide whether or not to shutter their house, and it is often a difficult decision – there’s no telling which storm will be “the one” that results in significant damage to a property, and with rapidly changing conditions, the wait and see approach can be a little nerve-wracking!

Hurricane season quickly turns into a stressful situation for both owners and guests alike when a storm is approaching, and we do our best to keep everyone apprised of what is going on here at the beach.  In the event of a storm, we will do everything we can to make the process as painless as possible for all involved, and continue to strive to provide great customer service across the board.

Jessica Scarborough, Accounting Administrator