- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - With Hurricane Arthur approaching, consumers planning a vacation on the North Carolina coast are advised to know their rights if they’ve rented a house or reserved a hotel room.

People should check with their hotel or rental agency to know what to expect if they need to evacuate or cannot reach their destination, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

If consumers are unable to reach their vacation rental property, contact the rental agency or landlord, Cooper said. He said any refund would depend upon the specific situation, such as whether alternate routes are open.

Many consumers have booked hotel rooms for the Fourth of July weekend. He said if consumers are concerned that they may not be able to keep their reservation due to severe weather, contact the hotel immediately.

North Carolina’s Vacation Rental Act protects consumers who rent a vacation property for fewer than 90 days. Under the law, the landlord must give a written rental agreement that spells out rights and obligations as a tenant, the rights and obligations of the landlord and/or broker, and the details of what the renter will pay.

Once a vacation rental agreement is signed, the renter and the landlord agree to abide by its terms. Landlords are required by law to keep the property safe and habitable.

The landlord may have offered insurance on the vacation rental, which would cover the cost of any nights missed due to a mandatory evacuation. If an evacuation is ordered and the renter isn’t given a chance to purchase insurance, the landlord is required to refund a renter’s money for each night they can’t stay at the rental property due to the mandatory evacuation.

If a renter is offered rental insurance when they signed the rental agreement and they didn’t take it, the owner isn’t required to refund the money in case of a mandatory evacuation.

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