I was just chatting with an OwnerRez user who told me about a terrible situation that happened to him. The company managing his vacation rentals just closed and isn't returning any refunds to guests or payments to owners!
If you plan to vacation along the Gulf Coast between now and Labor Day the condo you booked may not be available.
CBS Atlanta has learned a popular rental company in Panama City Beach, a popular vacation spot for many Atlanta residents, has closed its doors unexpectedly this week.
Conyers resident Jon Meier owns a condo on the coast and received an email this week from his rental management company, Oaseas Resorts, saying the company will be closing due to "management issues and economic conditions, including cash flow."
Owners say they haven't received rent payments for June or July and Meier is out roughly $10,000.
"So it absolutely infuriates me that somebody is holding or has removed thousands and thousands of dollars from my pocket," Meier said.
A former Oaseas employee sent this email to condo owners saying the company would not refund money to guests.
Oaseas management said they didn't anticipate the situation.
"We knew the economic conditions and so forth and other things were causing pain, but everybody thought it would work. Then it got to the point that it was wiser for us to start to close it down," Oaseas manager Thomas Duggan said.
Meanwhile, another Panama City Beach rental company, Emerald View, organized Operation Save Face. They've identified 50 condo owners willing to donate their units for next week.
"Somebody needs to help these guests because they saved their money all year to come down here and enjoy it," Emerald View manager Tom Donahue said.
Oaseas Resorts informed the public in a news release that they could contact The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach if they wanted to re-book.
CBS Atlanta News checked with The Resort Collection and they said you can book, but it's not free.
Also, Panama City Beach police said they are conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.
Oaseas Resorts also shut down the properties they manage in the Smoky Mountains.
Didn't anticipate cashflow?? That's preposterous. Guest money should always be held in escrow by the management company. The management company should never be using guest payments to fund their general operations. This is obviously a case of fraud and hopefully the police will investigate thoroughly and the company owners will be prosecuted.
But what's the take-away here?
If you're currently using a management company, maybe you should think about stepping out on your own. Management companies can collect, and sit on, tens of thousands of dollars for your properties. In the high months of summer, if they suddenly go bust or someone swipes all that money, where does that leave you?
We created OwnerRez specifically because we didn't like the shenanigans of management companies. In our case, it was mostly about laziness and attention to detail, but fraud can happen too!
OwnerRez has all the tools you need for managing your properties quickly and professionally just like any management company can do, and, in fact, often a lot better. You can use triggers and auto-responders to respond quickly and send messages on a scheduled basis. You can take credit cards and get renter agreements signed without lifting a finger.
Stop paying that percentage, stop tolerating laziness and financial risk, and start running your own operation. It's easy!