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Look Out For Fake Vrbo Rentals, Florida Tourism Is Down, Arcata Caps Vacation Rentals

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Happy Friday! Hopefully this week felt like it went by a little faster thanks to Presidents Day.

Next week we have our webinar with NASTRA (Nashville Area Short Term Rental Association), which you can register for here. We also have our weekly Demo Q&A session, which you can sign up for here.

Look out for fake Vrbo vacation rentals! Recently Vrbo user, Paul Trosclair, booked a month long stay at a rental in Louisiana. The host required him to check in at 9:00 pm, which Paul told the host he wouldn't be able to do, but the host turned ghost and Paul showed up the next day at 9:00 am. Turns out, after speaking to the property manager of the address he was sent, there was no vacation rental property and the PM had never heard of the owner. Yikes!

This lead to a back and forth with Vrbo who sided with the owner and denied a refund due to a breach of contract, since Paul did not show up at 9:00 pm for check-in... This lead Paul to reach out to Elliott Advocacy who investigated the claims. Elliott Advocacy confirmed that this in fact was a scam. There was no rental property, even proving that the photos on Vrbo were from an Airbnb listing located in Atlanta, 580 miles from where the supposed property should be.

Once they presented the evidence to Vrbo, a full refund was given to Paul and the listing was removed from Vrbo. Long story short, be prepared to prove you're right or a fake owner will win by default.

Florida has seen a 34% drop in visitors compared to 2020. Visit Florida, the states tourism-marketing agency, released data that showed 86.714 million people visited the state in 2020. That may sounds like a lot, but that's the lowest annual total since 2010. Airbnb occupancy went from 40.33% in 2019 to 37.7% in 2020. If you compare that to hotels, motels and resorts in the area, they dropped from 65.8% to 48.6%.

Arcata, California has passed a new ordinance that places a 100 unit cap on vacation rentals. Councilmembers voted 4-0 to pass regulation in attempt to preserve neighborhood settings. All owners must obtain a permit and provide contact information. Any owners currently operating have a 90 day grace period to abide.