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My in-laws own a condo in Maui for which I handle the bookings and off-site management from California. We had a booking for 10 days. Midway through their stay, I received a phone call from our on-island manager stating that the guests reported that, after being out of the condo for a day, they returned to the condo to find water leaking heavily from the can lights in the kitchen over the sink from above.
I immediately called the association manager for the condo. He told me that he would look into this immediately. I asked him to call me back right away. He did not call me back that evening. I called him the following day to find out what had been going on. He told me that he did not have the time to call people back. Really?? I immediately called him back and left a voice mail message on his phone advising him that his actions were hightly unprofessional and requested that he call me back before the end of business that day. He finally called me back that evening while he was in the unit with the guests and a repairman and asked when I would like him to start working on replacing the drywall in the ceiling. Since we have several back to back listings, we agreed that he should begin right away.
He finished the work in approximately 3 days. I received a phone call from the guests on the last day requesting a refund of at least one night and possibly two for their inconvenience. They were unable to use the kitchen for several hours a day and they said that the repairman (who was hired by the association manager - not us) had said that he would come at noon one day and did not come until 3:00. They had left the unit before noon and when they returned at 3:00, he was just arriving.
I told the guest that I would personally refund them at least one night's stay (out of my own pocket) and try to get at least another night's refund from my in-laws. My inlaws are telling me that the guests need to write a letter to the association manager and request a refund. I don't quite understand that since they are paying my in-laws for the stay and not the association.
I would love any advice I could get from others regarding the suggested compensation to the guest and the association manager's responsibility to pay for the compensation. They are paying for the repair but are refusing to even speak to me.
Well, this is a tricky one. Not knowing your family dynamic, it is hard to give advice on how to handle your in-laws. Maybe Dear Abby...?
However, that aside, we feel that two night's refund is not out of line considering the inconvenience to your guests, who sound as though they were quite cooperative. We have no experience with homeowners' associations but someone at the condo units (other owners or a board member?) should be able to tell you if the management has any financial responsibility. If this were a private home, the answer would be that the owner alone is responsible.
Perhaps it is time for your in-laws to hire a manager who is not family? The strain on you while you try to do an excellent job, has to be upsetting. Our best wishes!
I agree with Stj, this is a hard one. I used to own a condo with an HOA ( thank god THAT is behind me!!)
You didn't mention the reason for the leak. If it was a Condo association problem (broken pipe, bad roof, etc.) and your inlaws pay the fees , I really do think they have to deal with the HOA, since they hold the contract with the HOA. I doubt any HOA is going to deal with a 3rd party.
Your inlaws should be responsible for the refund due to the problems the guests encountered, if your inlaws are the ones getting payment for rentals.
It's a tough one, since family is involved. Who actually enters into the agreement with the renters? You, or your inlaws? That will mean a lot.
Look forward to hearing more.
Thank you so much for the replies. I forgot to mention that it was a pipe that burst in between the ceiling and the floor of the unit above. The HOA tool full responsibility for the repair. I'm curious if they would be responsbile also for the reimbursement for the guest's refund. I am also wondering if there should be any concern for mold, etc.
I fail to see why the HOA would be responsible for anything to do with the guest's refund. The condo is a home, and sometimes home repairs take more than one day. It is not the HOA's fault that the unit is being used as a short term rental.
I would let your in-laws find someone else to manage the unit. I don't think they are living in reality letting YOU reimburse for one night, and expecting a third party to cover another part of the reimbursement.
It seems to me this is an insurance issue. Under no circumstances should the guest have to deal with the HOA, the guest only deals with the condo owner/or manager in your case. Your inlaws should reimburse them for allowing the repairs to take place, and then should pursue this matter with the HOA. I know my condo insurance policy includes a loss of rent provision, but I don't think that wouldn't apply in this case as the water leak wasn't stemming from the condo but above the condo. You could ask your inlaws' insurance company for their advice. It may not pay to actually file a claim depending on the amount we're talking about....
But in any case, I definitely would reimburse the guest. Sounds like they were really good about it.
You may wish to verify that the insurance will even cover short term rental situations. A standard landlord policy will not. I would guess that the majority of VRBO homeowners think they are insured, but are not.
Your tenants were extremely accommodating! I don't think I'd be that easy going if 3 days of my 10 day holiday had workers doing repair in my accommodations. At least 2 nights rental fee should be refunded. The tenants have no responsibility in this. They should not be required to write a letter to the HOA. The HOA has no responisbility to refund them as they are not party to your rental agreement but it sounds like they are responsible for the cost of the repairs.
My first comment is regarding your in-laws. Unless you are being paid a fee, I would stop handling the bookings. For in-laws to stop speaking to you over such a silly situation is unfair.
Why are you refunding for a condo which is not yours? Are you receiving income?
I believe the refund of one night is fair. The tenants did not loose use of the house. Not sure exactly where the inconvienece was??