Can I get refund on Jersey shore rental? Experts weigh in

With continuing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are reconsidering their vacation plans, but getting your money back may not be easy. There's no doubt this is a difficult situation for consumers and for owners of vacation rentals. But according to the real estate experts we spoke to, at least in some cases, consumers should be getting their money back.

Donna Moczydlowski and eight of her friends take a "girls" trip every year.

"Every year we go someplace different. We've been to Delaware, we've been to Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, we've been to Gettysburg," she said.

This year's destination was to Cape May starting June 20.

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Moczydlowski wants to cancel even if Cape May is open by that time because as a cancer survivor, she has health concerns.

"My immune system's not up to what it should be. It's just scary," she said.

Susan Mandia had a similar girls' trip planned. Hers was for Ocean City the first weekend in May.

"It's just a time to recharge, get together and have fun," she said.

Then COVID-19 happened, now both women are trying to get refunds of more than a thousand dollars.

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"He is telling me I am canceling my lease and there are no refunds for cancellation. I'm not canceling a lease, the state of New Jersey is canceling our vacation," said Mandia.

Mandia booked the vacation through HomeAway which did encourage the owner to provide a full refund due to COVID-19. But the owner told Action News he is only willing to offer Mandia future rental dates, which Mandia said do not work for her group.

"We have put a package of relief forward for people to be able to get their money back, to be able to potentially delay that vacation, delay that getaway," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The attorney general's office said consumers should first read their leases carefully then attempt chargebacks with their credit card company if possible. They also want to hear from renters who believe they're eligible for refunds but not getting them.

Now, according to a local real estate attorney, if you weren't or aren't able to use a rental because of a shut-down order, in most cases, you are entitled to a refund.

Unfortunately for Moczydlowski, if a county or township is back open during your rental dates, unless your lease provides for a refund, the owner can hold you to your agreement and hold onto your money.

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