At KEES Outer Banks, it is our sincere desire to be good community neighbors. We are homeowners and we are members of the Outer Banks community. Our roots are planted deep and we are here to stay.
We all know that tourism is a way of life here. We plan our activities around the “season”. We just know that at certain times of the year, and certain days of the week, the roads will be flooded with vehicles, the stores with shoppers and the restaurants with patrons. At times, it’s an inconvenience. It can be frustrating and we understand this.
Of course, we also understand the lure of the golden, wind-swept beaches and dunes and the warm, aquamarine water. We count ourselves blessed to call this fragile string of islands home. So many of us depend on tourism dollars for our livelihoods and know that we have to make our living while we can.
Many of our neighbors choose to rent out their homes and/or condos through vacation rental programs or online services such as Airbnb.com, Homeaway.com or VRBO.com. There are several advantages to this practice. First, if rented through a professional management company, it’s helpful to have a local management company looking after an investment property. Particularly when the owner resides out of town. Second, it is favorable for overall neighborhood security to have a property occupied rather than vacant. Third, many times the rental revenue is needed for payment of mortgage, taxes and upkeep. It may be the only way the owner can afford to keep his/her property.
Even with the most sound policies of potential renters and the best of intentions, sometimes there are still problems. Certainly, we are not attempting to gloss over or minimize our neighbors’ concerns or frustrations.
Most Common Issues
Parking can become an issue in residential neighborhoods with vacation rentals. All of our vacation rental property descriptions clearly state the number of vehicles that a given property can accommodate. Each time we book a reservation over the phone, we remind our guests of the parking allotment for the property they’ve chosen. Unfortunately, vacationers don’t always understand the impact that just an extra car or two can have on an already fragile parking situation. Frankly, sometimes they don’t care. We find ourselves frustrated by this behavior just as we know our neighbors are.
We know too well not all tenants take their trash out to the curb. We take this very seriously, as we know that this can quickly escalate into a health concern. Notices are posted in each of our vacation properties regarding garbage pickup, but yet again, they are not always adhered to. Because of the unique way in which KEES Outer Banks schedules rental stays, the trash day may or may not fall during a guests tenancy. Our staff regularly patrols our rental properties, with particular attention to garbage days. If a can is found full, it is brought to the curb for pickup. A team member will then return to make sure the can is put back in its proper place and not left at the curb.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of being a year-round resident among vacation rentals is when tenants pack a property, exceeding its posted capacity. We absolutely share your concern and frustration. Septic systems are put at risk when overused. The noise level usually rises in accordance with the number of people occupying the home. We recognize that this is both a nuisance and a disruption to your life. Vacation homes with too many occupants exceed normal wear and tear and are at risk of outright damage. Since our first loyalty is to our owners, it is our duty and responsibility to properly care for our owners’ assets. When we have overcrowded properties, our owners and their investments suffer.
We have addressed all of the above concerns because we want you to understand that we are fully aware of the issues that a small portion of our guests create. To that end, we are as proactive as we know how to be. Rules, regulations, home capacities and expectations are clearly noted on our website and in our properties. A member of our management staff is available 24/7/365. We urge our neighbors to contact us with any issues, concerns or conflicts that may come up.
Team members regularly patrol our properties, from Corolla to Hatteras Island. We keep a keen eye out for too many vehicles at a property. When we find that situation occurring, we immediately address and resolve it with the guest. The extra vehicle(s) will be moved elsewhere or the entire group will be forced to vacate the property.
Overcrowding is not tolerated. When we become aware that a group of tenants is exceeding the allowed maximum of a property, we immediately take action to rectify the situation, up to and including eviction.
KEES Outer Banks offers a unique product to our guests. FlexStay is our solution to the horrendous weekend traffic on the Outer Banks and the evolving public travel trends. Instead of being another vacation rental company contributing to traffic back-ups and environmental pollution, we encourage our guests to arrive any day they’d like and stay any number of days that is convenient for them. We believe our FlexStay program is a win-win situation for all parties involved, including neighbors.
KEES Outer Banks Cares About Neighbors
At KEES Outer Banks, we make every effort to be the best neighbors we can be. We make ourselves readily accessible for any issues on a 24-hour a day basis. When we do receive a complaint, we handle it as soon as is practical.
We choose to work in harmony with Homeowner’s Associations and other governing bodies in the neighborhoods in which we represent vacation properties. We respect and follow the regulations of every association. Our guests are made aware of any specific guidelines in the communities in which they are vacationing.
In fact, we took the extra step of contacting local HOAs to make them aware that we are representing vacation properties in their neighborhoods. This was also to give them contact information and to reiterate that we are available 24/7/365 to handle any concerns or issues that arise.
We strive in every way to have a positive working relationship with every individual with whom we come in contact. That includes the neighbors at the vacation properties we represent. Because we are your neighbors ourselves and we understand from a first-hand perspective the difficulties that can arise from having vacation rental properties in your neighborhood.
Professional Property Management Services
Another topic we’d like to address is the misconception that our professional management services are of the same caliber as an online vacation rental site, such as Airbnb.com, HomeAway.com or VRBO.com. We can understand how an individual not familiar with the vacation rental industry may tend to put all vacation rental companies in the same category, but we would like to assure you that there significant differences.
First, and most importantly, we are HERE. As we have stressed repeatedly throughout this post, we are your Outer Banks neighbors. While it is true that KEES Hospitality is headquartered in Newport News, our KEES Vacation Division has their office located in Kill Devil Hills. All of our day-to-day operations on the Outer Banks, including our Maintenance and Housekeeping Departments, are performed by KEES team members who live year-round locally on the Outer Banks. Again, we regularly patrol all of our properties to be sure that guests are adhering to policies and procedures. If they are not, we address it then and there. If you find a problem with any of our properties before we do, we urge you to pick up the phone and call us, or stop by our office. We will be grateful to be made aware, happy to discuss it with you, and willing to meet you at the property if necessary.
Second, we are professional property managers. This is not a hobby or a side gig. This is our livelihood. We follow the industry closely, we are up to date with all regulations in the industry and we’ve seen about anything a guest can throw at us. We are experienced and knowledgeable professionals with the ability to handle any issue that could arise.
Additionally, and unlike most absentee owners, we have the means to handle any issue that arises. We have maintenance staff on call 24 hours a day. We have a dedicated housekeeping staff. We have existing relationships with a variety of professional, licensed tradespeople. We have trained management staff with years of experience. Absentee owners simply cannot resolve tenant issues in as efficient a manner as we can.
Minimum Rental Periods
Another misconception that we have become aware of is the assumption that we allow 1-night rentals. We would like to assure all of our neighbors that this is simply not the case. All of our properties have a 3-night minimum and we recently calculated that our average stay is 4.67 nights.
We certainly hope that we have been able to put to rest any lingering concerns that our neighbors might have regarding KEES vacation rental properties in their neighborhoods. Please allow us the opportunity to be a good neighbor and we promise that we will do everything in our power to be a force for good stewardship on our beloved Outer Banks.