Disasters and Your Vacation
If a natural disaster such as a hurricane, snow storm or forest fire threatens to interrupt your vacation plans, it’s important to know your rights as a consumer.
North Carolina’s Vacation Rental Act (N.C. General Statute Chapter 42A) protects consumers who rent a vacation property for fewer than 90 days. Under the law, the landlord or real estate broker must give you a written rental agreement that spells out your rights and obligations as a tenant, the rights and obligations of the landlord and/or broker, and the details of what you’ll pay.
Once you sign a vacation rental agreement, you and the landlord agree to abide by its terms. Landlords are required by law to keep the property safe and habitable.
If your vacation gets cancelled or cut short by a mandatory evacuation order:
Your landlord or broker may have offered you insurance on your vacation rental, which would cover the cost of any nights you miss due to a mandatory evacuation. If you’re ordered to evacuate and were not offered insurance, the landlord is required to refund your money for each night you can’t stay at the rental property due to the mandatory evacuation. But if you were offered rental insurance before starting your vacation that covered the risk of a mandatory evacuation and cost no more than 8% of the rental price and you didn’t take it, then the landlord isn’t required to refund your money in case of a mandatory evacuation.
If your vacation gets cancelled because of damage from a disaster:
After the mandatory evacuation is lifted, the landlord and broker must refund your money if the landlord or real estate broker cannot provide the property in a fit and habitable condition or provide you with a reasonably comparable property in fit and habitable condition.
If you rented the property through a real estate or property management company and have a complaint or question, contact the North Carolina Real Estate Commission at (919) 875-3700.
If you’ve booked a hotel room along the North Carolina coast and you’re concerned that you may not be able to keep your reservation due to a natural disaster, contact the hotel right away.
It’s always a good idea to ask about cancellation policies before you book a hotel room. Some hotels require a deposit or other upfront payment that you may lose if you cancel or otherwise change your reservation.
If you paid in advance, whether or not you may be eligible for a refund will likely depend on the hotel’s cancellation policy and your specific circumstances. For example, if the electricity is out at the hotel, or the rooms are uninhabitable or unsafe for any reason, then you should be entitled to get your money back.
To file a complaint about a North Carolina hotel or motel, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within the state or file a complaint online.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.