Short term renters frustrated with lack of flexibility on cancellations

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – A local realty company is allegedly refusing to allow renters to cancel or modify their beach house rentals for this summer. “We’re planning ahead, we’re looking at the future, we’re seeing notifications – ‘If you’ve been in Dewey Beach or Rehoboth Beach get tested’ – and we’re trying to be proactive,” said Stephanie Carrino, who was planning to visit with a group of friends.

Amie Altaffer is part of Carrino’s group – and says Jack Lingo Realtors isn’t budging on their rental contracts. “They refused to give us any kind of cancellation. No money back,” said Altaffer.

The would-be renters tell 47ABC that Jack Lingo Realty isn’t allowing any flexibility when it comes to getting a refund or a credit for next year. They say that now they’re forced to choose between their money and their health. “We have three small children in our group. Two are immune compromised. I work in healthcare. So we were just making that decision based on us,” said Jen Flavo, who was also planing to visit Delaware’s beach towns.

Falvo says that when she and her family tried to contact the company to get some help, they didn’t get very far. “They kind of passed us around through the office. We couldn’t get straight answers. We’ve been emailing,” said Falvo.

Each of the renters that spoke with 47ABC say under normal circumstances – they would agree with the company’s no cancellation policy. But Altaffer and Carrino say they also have people who are immunocompromised in their group. “We have somebody with diabetes, somebody with celiac disease, somebody with Graves’ disease, somebody who’s had open heart surgery,” said Altaffer.

Altaffer says she and Carrino decided not to visit Rehoboth Beach this summer. Now the pair says they’re out of $1,000 – and that’s only half of their payment. The other half is due in August, whether they visit or not. “It’s a monetary thing. If we don’t get it back, we don’t get it back. But that doesn’t mean that it’s right,” said Carrino.

Falvo says she and her family could potentially lose $500 if they decided not to go this year. She says that decision is still up in the air. “I understand they got to run a business, but at the same time it’s just not right,” said Falvo.

Some renters claim the company is sub-letting homes under renters who have decided not to go to the homes they rented this year. Others say the company is asking the renters to find sub-letters on their own. In both scenarios – no refund is being offered. “We live in Ohio. How are we supposed to be the ones that find the sub-letters?” said Carrino.

Renters tell 47ABC that all they want is some clarity – especially when they are planning to visit out of state. “How much closer should I call back? And they just keep saying closer to the date. And we’re saying how much closer to the date? And they’re just saying we can’t do refunds,” said Altaffer.

It is important to note that the company’s rental contract prohibits cancellations. However, Falvo says her attorney thinks that because the COVID-19 pandemic is an extenuating circumstance, an exception should be made.

47ABC did reach out to Jack Lingo Realtors by phone and email. We have not yet heard back from the company.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Local News, Money