If you are vacationing on Topsail Island in Topsail Beach, Surf City or North Topsail or any other beach in North Carolina during Hurricane Dorian you are likely eligible for a refund for your vacation house rental.
That’s because there is a government ordered Mandatory Evacuation affecting Topsail Island and other coastal cities of North Carolina. (Reference: Hurricane Dorian: Mandatory Evacuation on Topsail Island)
Mandatory Evacuations and North Carolina Law
States like North Carolina who have both a lot of vacationers and hurricanes have special laws in place to protect tenants such as the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act.
You get a refund if:
- You had no rental agreement, or,
- Your rental agreement says you’ll get a refund, or,
- Your rental agreement doesn’t cover what happens in the event of a natural disaster, Act Of God, or Mandatory Evacuation.
You probably will not get a refund if:
- Your rental agreement states there are no refunds, or,
- You were offered rental insurance when you signed the rental agreement and you did not accept it.
Some rental agreements spell out precisely what happens in the event of a natural disaster and that could include a refund, no refund, or, a partial refund.
This applies to all beaches along the NC coast including North Topsail Beach, Topsail Beach, Atlantic Beach, Oak Island, Wilmington, Emerald Isle, Outer Banks, etc.
AirBNB vs Rental Agency
- Rental Agency: Many of the rental agencies offer trip insurance. If you declined this they’re very likely to give you a hard time about getting a refund or a replacement. Some landlords, like myself, are just nice people and will reschedule your trip. Owning beachfront property is expensive; everyone knows this going in and it shouldn’t ruin your family trip to this beautiful island.
- AirBNB: If you used AirBNB and booked your stay before Hurricane Dorian existed, you qualify for a refund under the Extenuating Circumstances clause of the AirBNB cancellation policy which covers “Significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure.”
Getting a Refund after Evacuating Affected by Hurricane Dorian
Just because it’s the law doesn’t mean everyone will follow it and you can still get burned even if you had your sunscreen. But, don’t get frustrated. If you need to escalate things just check out my article on how to file a complaint and get your money back here: Realty Agencies Denying Refunds to Topsail Island Tenants After Hurricane Florence.
After I wrote that article, some Raleigh area residents reached out to WRAL who opened an investigation and intervened as well. (Reference: 5 On Your Side helps renters get refunds for missed vacations).
Questions or comments?
Please feel free to email me or post comments below. Here’s what the beach looked like after Florence hit in 2018: