Need Advice re: VRBO issue

Old Sep 12, 2023, 2:57 pm
  #1  
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Need Advice re: VRBO issue

I'll outline my situation with a VRBO and hope to get a course of action and if I should take it.

In late march we sold our home & did not have to move out until the end of July. Our plan was to move to Hawaii and find a place to stay.

I contacted a VRBO owner to book as many months as possible from August thru whenever. We found one that could accommodate us until the end of Oct.

His first message to me, via VRBO, was to embed his phone number within various parts of it so we could speak off line. I did, and texted him with my number.

He immediately offered to go off VRBO so we would save money and we agreed on a 1 month deposit that was non-refundable to hold the 4 months. After August, we would be liable for a 30 day notice if we found a house to buy/rent.

Fast forward to the end of June. We managed to find a rental house that would give us a 6 month lease and month-to-month after. We jumped on it.

As soon as we signed it, I notified the VRBO and he said we should lose our deposit, but would give us 50% back and the balance if he filled the entire time we had booked. He promptly refunded.

In Hawaii, unless in a specific zone, where he is not, STRs are not permitted for less than 30 days. This is key.

Here is where it gets sticky.

1. All of October was booked almost as soon as we cancelled.
2. I noticed he booked the second week of August through mid September.

Item 2 now means that he cannot book those 2 weeks in September because it's not allowed.

I have screenshots, with dates for all that info.

I sent an email at the end of August asking for the balance of my deposit. I got no reply. He was normally very prompt with replies. I resent it yesterday and still have no reply. His renters are all within his VRBO cancel policy.

I recognize I was off VRBO, but what he did is not permitted via their TOS. Essentially, I believe we are entitled to the money back, perhaps less the 1 week it wasn't rented, because it was his choice to rent mid month-mid month making it impossible for him to rent it to anyone else.

I think my choices are to report him to VRBO, and I have plenty of emails from him with the terms, including the refund offer or taking him to small claims court. I could also let him keep the $2k, lick my wounds, and say lesson learned.

Thoughts?
Mary2e is offline  
Old Sep 12, 2023, 3:05 pm
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I am not sure I'm reading this right, but let me see:

You agreed to a non refundable deposit.
He agreed to return 50% to you even though your original agreement was that it wouldn't be refundable.
He received an offer to rent the home for part of the time he lost your rental for, but due to state regulations can't now recover the rest. In other words, he took guaranteed booking rather than hold out to try and get you all your money back.

I find the last point I've proposed as reasonable for why you should lose the deposit portion. Reporting to the VRBO etc smacks of vindictiveness to me, though I suppose I'm cynical that way.
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Old Sep 12, 2023, 3:28 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by atsak
I am not sure I'm reading this right, but let me see:

You agreed to a non refundable deposit.
He agreed to return 50% to you even though your original agreement was that it wouldn't be refundable.
He received an offer to rent the home for part of the time he lost your rental for, but due to state regulations can't now recover the rest. In other words, he took guaranteed booking rather than hold out to try and get you all your money back.

I find the last point I've proposed as reasonable for why you should lose the deposit portion. Reporting to the VRBO etc smacks of vindictiveness to me, though I suppose I'm cynical that way.
Actually, he was willing to let us off with 30 days notice after Aug 31. But yes, we did agree to non-refundable.

Yes, he did take a booking and can't book the rest because of regulations. I don't think I should be responsible for covering it though, particularly since it was for Sept.

Effectively he has it rented for all the time except the 1st week in August and the last 2 weeks of Sept.

Not so much vindictiveness is that we did everything possible to ensure he would find a rental - that includes mentioning it on Hawaii vacation groups as available. It's not our fault he decided to take a booking that would render our ability to get our money back impossible.

He could at least have the courtesy of responding and saying he would not be providing a refund. He was very forthcoming and communicative before. That is why I am considering reporting him and/or filing a claim.
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Old Apr 26, 2024, 11:37 pm
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It seems reasonable to pursue a refund for the deposit based on the owner's inability to rent due to decisions that breach local STR regulations and their agreement with you.
ohnMartin is offline  
Old May 1, 2024, 3:55 am
  #5  
 
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So you freely agreed to go OFF VRBO...but now want to report him TO them? I'm sorry, I don't think you have any right to do that given your choice to NOT use their channel. (And thus I find your heading misleading, this is in no way a "VRBO issue")
trooper is offline  

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