Shore rentals creating complicated, costly conflict amid COVID-19

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- With the Jersey Shore reopening, many people are looking ahead to summer rentals. That included a group of high school girls who booked their shore home months ago hoping to make part of their senior year feel normal. But it seems that may not happen now either, due to a complicated and costly conflict.

Graduating high school seniors, Amanda Kinney, Riley McQuilkin, and eight other friends have been counting down the days to be at the shore house they rented for the entire summer.

"We were all just like excited to be together and be able to be with each other before like we all went off to school," said Kinney.

In early September, Kinney signed a lease for Unit #2 at 2700 Atlantic Avenue in Wildwood. Kinney and her friends then paid 8 monthly installments totaling $22,220.

The lease began May 22 but on that date, the girls couldn't move in.

"How could you do this to a group with like hard work and girls like this, this is the only thing we were looking forward to, and we all paod for it ourselves. Yes, like all our jobs, worked all school year to pay on our own," said McQuilkin.

The property manager, Bob McGinn, of Court House Realty said, "Because of coronavirus, freeholders had put in place that short term rentals weren't allowed to take place until June 1."

But Wildwood's mayor confirmed that restriction does not apply since the girls' lease ran from May 22 to September 7.

"We never shut down for long-term rentals," said Mayor Peter Byron."Anything more than 30 days is considered a long-term rental."
Another issue is on May 22 another group was already occupying the unit the girls rented. McGinn said those people broke in and he still can't get them out. He also said the girls can move into a different unit starting June 1.

"That's not what we paid for or we agreed to. We signed the lease for the house that we looked at," said Kinney.

"He literally took advantage of these children. It's insanity," said Jeannine Kinney.

The girls want their money back but McGinn said he isn't giving back a dime.

He now claims Kinney defaulted on the lease by failing to make the final payment of $2780. But text messages indicate McGinn agreed to accept that payment past the May 1 due date. Both parties said they are now willing to go to court.

And the lesson is to make sure you get everything, including side agreements, clearly documented in writing.

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