Things You Should Know
Here at Century 21 Action, Inc. we hope you have a fabulous time while you’re here with us on Topsail Island. We have provided this booklet to help you plan your vacation, fully understand the rental contract, explain some policies and terms of your contract, and answer some other frequently asked questions. Please take time to read this booklet and your contract very carefully. As licensed real estate professionals representing other people’s properties’s, monies and vacations; we do not get to grant exceptions to the rules.
Security Deposit Waiver Fee
As a guest of Century 21 Action, Inc. (Agent), the tenant may pay a Security Deposit Waiver Fee (SDW) instead of the normal Security Deposit at the discretion of Century 21 Action, Inc. The SDW Fee is $60.00 per reservation, per property and is non-refundable once paid. Under the SDW plan, you will not be required to pay for accidental damage to the home or the personal property of Owner contained within the premises, up to an aggregate limit of $1,000. Damages exceeding this limit will be the responsibility of Guest. Exclusions within the SDW plan specifically limit Guest’s coverage and do not cover or release Guest from liability for damage due to the following: (a) intentional, willful, reckless, or malicious acts of Guest or others on the premises during the tenancy; (b) damage by pets; (c) theft from the premises of either Owner’s property or property belonging to Guest; (d) gross negligence of Guest or intentional misuse of furnishings, appliances, equipment, or other amenities provided with the home; (e) damage caused while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (f) damages to real property resulting from operation of any motorized vehicle by Guest; (g) any breach of the lease agreement; (h) Guest not following check-out procedures; and (i) Guests failure to follow the instructions of the Owner, Agent, or any authorized representative of Owner or Agent that results in damage or costs from failing to follow such instructions. The coverage of the SDW plan, as well as the exclusions contained therein, provided to guest shall extend to all members of Guest’s party and guests thereof. In order to receive coverage under the SDW plan, all damages must be reported to Agent before checkout. Agent will have ultimate Administrative Authority in approving or denying coverage and claims. Denied claims are the financial responsibility of the guest. The SDW plan is not available for tenancies of 30 consecutive days or more or non-family or large groups such as weddings, reunions, corporate retreats, etc.
What is a Vacation Rental?
Essentially a vacation rental is very similar to a long term lease that a person or family contracts when moving into a property. Thanks to the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act there are a few differences, but the main principles remain the same. Vacation Rentals are VERY different from Hotels, Motels, and Resort stays. Vacation Rentals are essentially a real estate transaction and are regulated by the NC Real Estate Commission. Your Rental confirmation is a legal contract between you and the property owner and becomes binding upon signing it or making a payment on it. We cannot bend the rules of the contract for any reason because we are simply the agent handling the transaction for the parties involved.
Who owns the Property?
Vacation Rentals are owned by private individuals, just like you, who have made their properties available to Vacationers through an Agent, like us. When you reserve your property, the property owner takes the property off of the market for your dates of stay, and cannot rent it to anyone else for those dates, even though the next customer may desire the same property and dates or may be willing be pay more. Many property owners rent their properties short term during the spring, summer, and fall; and long term during the winter months.
Can I Cancel my Reservation?
Yes and No. You can cancel your reservation, however you will not get a refund until the property has re-rented under the same terms as your agreement, and any balances you owe are still due until that happens. See the contract for cancellation fees and non-refundable fees in such an event. After all, the property owner did take the property off the market for you and may not be able to re-rent it. If you have purchased the Travel Insurance, and the reason for canceling your reservation is covered by the insurance, then the insurance company will refund your payments. Please make sure you are happy with the property you reserve and the dates before confirming your reservation.
If I don’t like the Property when I get there, will you move me to a different one?
We want you to enjoy your stay as much as possible. However, we are not able to move you to another property, or make any refunds or discounts, if you are dissatisfied due to your contract with that particular property. Again, please try to preview the property before entering into the contract.
How accurate are your Vacation Specialists' representations?
Our Vacation Specialists try to become familiar with all of our properties. However, it is impossible for them to remember every detail about each property, and they may get them confused from time to time. There are literally millions of possible different details between all the properties we represent. Unlike a hotel or resort, every one of our properties is different. The Vacation Specialists will make mistakes and we cannot be responsible for these impossible details. If you have specific needs or expectations for your rental property, please try to preview it or have a friend preview it for you. Keep in mind that for the most part, you get what you pay for when comparing similar size, location, and seasons. For example, a 3 bedroom oceanfront that rents for $1800 per week is not going to be as upgraded as a 3 bedroom oceanfront property that rents for $2800 per week.
What are the different charges on my contract?
The rent is obviously the money the property owner is charging for your stay. The cost of the travel insurance varies based on the cost of the reservation. If you do not desire the insurance, please cross it out on your contract, initial the contract in the spot provided, and deduct that amount from your first payment. The Security Deposit Waiver is a non-refundable payment that is in lieu of a security deposit. If you elect not to accept the security waiver, you should initial in the spot provided on your contract and deduct the amount from your first payment. By not accepting the security deposit waiver, you will then be charged the security deposit, which is due with your final payment. Other Charges include the reservation fee, and may include pet fees, early bird check-in, late checkout fees and phone convenience fees. The reservation fee is charged to cover the cost of procuring, processing and accounting for your reservation along with mailing and printing expenses, etc. Taxes in our area vary based on the location of the property; some of it is state tax and some is local tax. You may see items listed with "$0” charges, they are items that property owner is providing for you. Rental items you have requested (beach chairs, baby equipment, etc.) should also appear on your contract.
What is the difference between the Security Deposit Waiver and the Security Deposit?
The Security Deposit Waiver Plan is a non-refundable fee that you can elect instead of the Security Deposit. The Security Deposit is a deposit we collect, at the request of the property owner to cover actual expenses for damages, broken items, repairs, stolen property, and other bills caused by the tenants during their stays, outside of normal wear and tear. The security deposit and security deposit waiver amount is NOT the limit of a tenant’s liability; they are responsible for all costs, even if they exceed the security deposit or the limit on the waiver plan. Most of the time it is not necessary to withhold ANY funds from a security deposit but there are instances where a child or adult may have accidentally broken something or a person caused a problem due to neglect. The Security Deposit Waiver is explained in greater detail in another section.
When will the security deposit be returned?
The security deposit will be put in the mail to you within 45 days after your departure. Please allow a few days for postal delivery. It will be in the form of a company check from one of our escrow accounts. We are not able to refund the security deposit to your credit card. If there are deductions from the funds, we will account for them with actual bills from third party vendors.
What is Traveler’s Insurance?
A pamphlet was included with your contract fully explaining the terms of this insurance and what it covers. This insurance is provided by CSA, please call them with any questions. Please be sure to carefully consider this insurance in order to prevent loss of any payments for an event that may have been covered by this policy. Please note that insurance cannot be purchased after you have paid the reservation in full and is not refundable once accepted.
Tell me about the Payments.
Payments that are received 30 days or more prior to arrival can be made in the form of personal check, echeck, cashiers check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard). Payments received 30 days or less to the arrival date cannot be by personal check or echeck, sorry. Credit Cards will be run for payments immediately upon receiving them. There will be a convenience fee charged for phone payments. Echecks are accepted online. The Advance Payment must be received within 10 days of making the reservation or the reservation will be cancelled. The Balance Payment must be received 30 days prior to the arrival date or the reservation will be cancelled in accordance with the cancellation policy. If you prefer, you can make the full payment with the Advance Payment if you think you might forget to make the Balance Payment or for the convenience. With all payments, please arrange for all funds to come from the person’s name in which the reservation is held to avoid any confusion on who the funds should be credited.
What time can I Check-In?
Standard Check-In begins at 4:00 pm on the day of your arrival. Due to the complexity, size, and locations of our properties, our staff needs every minute to prepare the property for your stay. Please do not interfere with their work or pressure our staff to allow you entry before your check-in time. For your own safety and security and for the safety and security of our vendors and staff, do not park at the property until you have received your Check-In packet. Please do not do any grocery shopping until you have received your keys to avoid spoiled food. Rarely, check-in time may need to be extended beyond 4:00 for repairs, damages, or extra cleaning from the previous tenant. If you desire to check-in before this time, we offer an Early Bird Check-In. With this service you can get a guaranteed check-in at 1:00 pm. The cost for this service is $60.00 plus tax and is non-refundable after it is paid. Only a limited number of early bird check-ins are available and are given out on a first come, first serve basis.
What if I can’t check-in until after your offices close?
If you can’t get here before our offices close, late check-in, be sure to notify us ahead of time so we make other arrangements. If you are not paid in full, a late check-in will not be possible.
What time is Check-Out?
The standard check-out time is 10:00 am promptly, on the day of your departure. If you desire a later check out we offer a Late Check Out service. With this service you can check out as late as 12:00 pm (noon) and the cost of this service is $60.00 plus tax. Only a limited number of these late check-outs are available so inquire early. PLEASE NOTE that if you have not departed the property by 10:00 am, and have not arranged for late check-out, the $60.00 fee will be charged to you and you still need to leave immediately.
What other Information may I find on my contract?
The description on your contract includes several key pieces of information; your login information for our guest portal, bed sizes, check-in location, and other relevant information. Be sure to thoroughly read the contract for accuracy of what you are expecting of your property, ensuring it's for the correct property, and to understand the terms of the agreement.
What do you mean by Maximum Occupancy?
This is the maximum number of people that can be on the property at any given time. Children 4 years of age and older are counted. This has become a very important point in recent years for several reasons. Local, State, and National health regulations, building codes, and other laws are becoming stricter. Furthermore the property owners are very concerned about wear and tear in their properties and do not look favorably upon extra bodies bouncing around. Unfortunately, exceeding the Maximum Occupancy at any time, with either overnight guests or day guests will result in eviction without refund. Plan a large enough (occupancy) property for all guests. Also note that maximum occupancy may mean that some of the sleeping spaces are sleeper sofas, cots, lofts overlooking or attached to living spaces, or other sleeping arrangements you may not normally find in a regular residential property. Beds are not indicative of allowed occupancy necessarily, but may provide options or extra bedding for the allowed occupancy.
Where do I check in?
Your Rental Contract should state which of our offices you will be checking in at. Either our Surf City office or Sneads Ferry office should be noted. If your contract does not specify a Check-In office, please call us. Maps are included in this pamphlet.
What should I do upon checking in?
Please be sure to read all the information in your check-in packet. There is important information included to help your during you vacation or in case you encounter any problems. If you find that the property has not been cleaned properly, please call our offices immediately upon checking in. We strive to provide excellent service, mistakes can happen unexpectedly and we want every opportunity to make it right for you.
What should I do upon Checking Out?
There will be information included in your check-in packet for check-out procedures.
What do I need to bring?
You will need paper products (toilet paper, napkins, garbage bags, dish towels, paper towels, etc.), soaps and detergents, beach supplies, minimal cleaning supplies, and any specialty items you may desire during your stay. Several local grocery stores are located either on the island or just off the island. Our properties now provide bed and bath linens for your convenience. We can also help you reserve almost anything else you need for your vacation (beach gear, baby equipment, grills, etc.). Visit our preferred partners website at www.sweetdreamslinen.comfor their complete inventory, descriptions and more.
What is provided?
Each of our properties are individually furnished and equipped by the property owner. However, all of our properties feature standard items: TV’s, pillows, comforters or bedspreads, microwaves, coffee makers, pots and pans, dishes, utensils, and glassware.
Air Conditioning, extra TV’s, DVD’S, telephones, porch and deck furniture, grills, games, and other equipment are furnished as a courtesy by each property owner and are not guaranteed to be at a property or functioning. Refunds will not be given due to breakdown of these courtesy items.
We cannot guarantee a phone for local calls and encourage you to check with your mobile phone company to ensure service in our area. Please note that some of the Condo Complexes require a phone deposit at their front desk.
Our properties provide premium linen service which includes both bed and bath linens for your stay. There will be bed linens provided for each bed in the property along with bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth for each guest up to the maximum occupancy and bath maths for each full bathroom. In the event you need additional linens, or perhaps beach items, baby equipment, grills, or other fun vacation gear; please call our offices and we will be happy to assist you with this through local providers. Please don’t wait until the last minute as demand can exceed availability during the busy summer months.
I have special needs or a medical condition.
We will be glad to help you with any special needs you may require during your stay, but we urge you to plan ahead and keep the following in mind. We cannot guarantee telephone use, number of stairs at a property, air conditioning, type or location of beach accesses or other representations. Again, please plan for any situation.
Will the property have window screens?
It may or may not. Some property owners have intentionally taken the screens off the windows and doors because they want them left shut for one or more reasons; (they do not want the corrosive salt air in their property to rust appliances and fixtures, some renters tend to leave the windows open and run the air conditioning at the same time; they have been damaged and are continually damaged due to the weather on the coast). For the reasons above we cannot guarantee that your property will have functioning screens on the windows and doors. Thank you for your understanding.
Are there bugs at the beach?
Bugs are a common occurrence in any rural, beach community. Our properties have exterminating contracts, but the bugs don’t know that and they will still come into the property from time to time. Please keep the following in mind: 1. It is not unusual to see bugs in properties in a rural beach environment, 2. Dead bugs mean that the extermination is working and nothing further can be done, 3. Bugs may take from 1 minute to 12 hours to die after they have entered an exterminated property. 4. In some instances, it can be difficult or impossible to completely eradicate the problem. Please call us if you have an ongoing problem and we will send an exterminator out as soon as they can get there.
Grills & Fireplaces
There are several very important things to keep in mind about grills & fireplaces: 1. Grills are not permitted on decks. 2. If the property offered a grill and/or fireplace as an amenity, please keep in mind that it is not guaranteed to be there nor functioning. Our harsh corrosive environment is extremely hard on these items. 3. As the renter, you are responsible for the cleaning of these items. 4. As the renter you are also responsible for any fuel for the grill or fireplace. Please make sure it is the correct type of fuel. Charcoal, lighter fluid, gas/propane or wood are not provided.
Family Groups Welcome
All rental units are for family-groups only. No teen or college groups are allowed, even when chaperoned. Should a group misrepresent themselves, or in the opinion of Century 21 Action, Inc. the guest(s) are detrimental to the property, they will be required to vacate the property without refund. No house parties by any group will be permitted at any time.
If you plan to bring a pet, please be sure the property accepts pets and notify our office while making your reservation, a pet fee is required per pet. Dogs are the only pets allowed unless we have granted an exception in writing. Any kind of nonapproved pet in any property will result in immediate eviction without refund. A non-refundable pet fee will be required for each pet. Some pet properties restrict the number of pets and/or size of pets. Non-Pet Properties do not allow pets to be kept outside or on the property at all. Leash and pooper scooper laws are enforced in our area. Please see our website for more information about local laws and services for your dog.
Will I be disturbed during my stay?
During your stay it may be necessary for repairs, exterminating, or other service providers to enter the property. We will attempt to notify you ahead of time. Entry is required for property preservation for you, future tenants, and the owner, and cannot be held off, denied, or rescheduled. We regret any inconveniences this may cause but we promise to keep them to a minimum. Rental properties will sometimes be listed for sale throughout the year. We are not always notified when aproperty goes up for sale. Please be aware that it may be necessary for agents to arrange showings for qualified buyers during your stay. Property showings cannot be denied by tenants. We appreciate your cooperation and will do everything we can to make it convenient for you. If you are interested in a property of your own, please call our sales office at 800-760-4150.
What is the beach like?
Topsail Island beaches are some of the most beautiful, clean beaches you will find. Gathering shells and other treasures is always a good way to spend some time on Topsail. Shore birds and other wildlife are here for your viewing. Like all beaches, we never know what the beach will be like from one day to the next. It’s a natural process that changes from one day to the next according to mother nature. Some days the waves may be lapping at the foot of the beach access during high tide, other times the waves may be breaking several hundred feet away. One thing’s for sure, it’s always awe-inspiring and beautiful. To answer some commonly asked questions: fires are not permitted on the beach at any time, leash laws are enforced by the police, driving on the beach requires a special permit and is not allowed all times of the year or in all areas (contact the 3 island town halls for more information). During your stay you may have the opportunity to witness a loggerhead turtle laying eggs, or a nest hatching. For these reasons, we ask that you leave ocean front, outdoor lights turned off at night as they disorientate the turtles. Be sure to use designated beach accesses during your stay and stay off the beach’s sand dunes. Hefty fines are given by local authorities for disturbing the dunes in any way, and for any reason.
Is there Internet Access?
Many of our properties now provide High Speed Internet access (wired or wireless). In the event that your property does not have this feature, you are welcome to come to our office lobby in Surf City to connect to our secure wireless internet connection during office hours.
How many cars can we bring?
Parking varies greatly between each property. Planning for the least possible number of vehicles is strongly recommended. Most of the condo complexes limit parking to two (2) vehicles per property. Many of our homes only accommodate parking for a few vehicles as well. RV’s are highly discouraged. We do not have offsite parking for vehicles, RV’s, boats, or trailers.
Can I smoke outside at a nonsmoking property?
Smoking is permitted on decks, balconies, and other outside areas at non-smoking properties. Please be sure not to permit any smoking inside a no-smoking property as the high cost of smoke removal and any lost rentals will be the renter’s responsibility. Guests are expected to properly dispose of cigarette butts and ashes.
What if I leave something behind after my departure?
In the event that you leave behind a personal belonging in the property, please call our offices immediately to report the items you left. We will try to locate the items to the best of our abilities. If you request, items can be returned to you via US Postal Service with shipping charges and a $25.00 processing fee. This must be paid with a credit card over the phone and is subject to a phone convenience fee. Unclaimed items are donated to charity after 14 days.
Can you bend your policies for my reservation?
Because we are a real estate company (like all North Carolina Vacation Rental Property Managers), and your reservation is a real estate transaction; we are bound by state laws, our contracts with the property owners, and our lease with you. As much as we might like to bend the rules, we cannot for these reasons. We are not a party to the contract: we don’t own the house or furnishings and we didn’t pay the rent. When comparing a vacation rental to a hotel or motel, you get a lot more for your money with a vacation rental, but there are unbreakable rules and policies that come with it. For these reasons, please be sure to fully read, and understand this brochure and your contract.
Things Beyond Our Control
Our staff works very hard to make sure your stay is happy and comfortable. However, there are things that are out of our control, just as there are things out of your control at your home. Please understand that there will be no refunds or discounts, nor transfers offered or expected for such things. Examples of these types of things that are out of our control include: breakdown of air conditioners, TV’s, DVD’s, electronics, internet access and appliances, construction nearby, presence of bugs in a treated home, beach accesses unusable due to acts of nature, a home not decorated to your tastes, bad weather (including hurricanes), noisy neighbors, or beach access location. We will do everything we can to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, but please keep in mind that Topsail is remotely located and does not have all the features or conveniences of a larger city. 24 hour service in our area is primarily limited to ambulances, fire departments, and local authorities.