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Hurricane recovery renters skipping out?  

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Markmelissaj
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November 20, 2018 1:16 am  

We own rental property here in the states, and it doesn’t matter, no one have any respect anymore, they tear the stuff up, and yeah I can sue but they don’t have the money anyway, I try to be as reasonable as I can with rent, but getting tired of it, gonna sell them all and move back down to st. Croix, I’ve been trying to find out who owned the property that freedom city surf shop was on and if it was for sale, and maybe open something up. If anyone knows please let me know what’s up with the place or old coconuts


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Fishbait
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November 27, 2018 9:03 pm  

lescooper, thanks! I just saw this post, been into the wind & not on these boards.

Our manager promises us that we are getting the missing 1/2 month rent + the security deposit will make up the full 4k a month. She also promises us she will be showing it next week as soon as the lease is officially over (91 day)

But I will keep you in mind and may be in touch. Wouldn't mind meeting you for a brew and chat someday either.... We're in Carambola Golf Club condos, but not there yet.


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rosesisland
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December 2, 2018 12:28 pm  

I been watching the rental market in the VI ever since we moved back 6 years ago, weekly if not daily. For the life of me I cannot understand why landlords and property managers advertise for a Long-term Renter and put in their ads, “Just bring your toothbrush and suitcase.” As a long term renter, I’ve encountered with homes even going for $2500/month (before hurricanes and before refinery announced the restart) plus all utilities paid by the renter, yet these beautiful homes with lovely furniture, etc. would then supply their old worn out linens, crappy dollar store kitchen ware, flatware and faded by the sun crappy art on the walls. Every nice, nice home I’ve rented so far until now, I’ve had to take up storage space to store all those things.

That would be a vacation rental IMO!

If someone can afford above average rent, then they can supply all those things as they are easily available right here in the islands.

As a former 30 year landlady, I can see just how easily it would be to just slip out in the middle of the night with one’s suitcase and the toothbrush. If your tenant has even a small vehicle, all those things can be bought here and transported in vehicle to the renter’s home or condo. If your tenant had ownership in all those things, leaving in the middle of the night might now be considered. Just supplying furniture and appliances would be much better.

Finally, after searching several years, I’m in a rental with nothing but furniture, period. I have my own beautiful Fiestaware dishes, great flatware, chefs knives, high quality pots and pans, high end quality linens and towels and my beautifully framed art work I’ve collected from all over the world. It would be a travesty for me to leave those things behind.


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Scubadoo
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December 2, 2018 3:05 pm  

Hence the reason FEMA pays hotel rates regardless of whether or not their workers are staying in a hotel. They are expecting complete furnishings and are not long term. If they are in a vacation rental they are more likely to have decent quality furnishings that the owner uses when not rented. They don't commit to a lease or any length of time and can leave with a day's notice (and will expect a refund for any unused days paid) So there is justification for the high rates as landlords bare all this related risk. Unfortunately it does drive up the rates for non-FEMA works as well. But this is temporary, FEMA will be gone in a few months and hopefully will not have a reason to come back for a long time. The refinery will keep prices up for a while with temporary workers but probably not at a level from FEMA. The new man village or whatever they are calling it may bring some relief.


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Fishbait
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December 3, 2018 3:27 pm  

RE: the furniture only or fully equipped debate.

We bought our place with decent flatware, dishes, pots & pans, etc. that the previous owner left behind. We purchased new linens (bed, towels, etc) because the one's there were shot.
We also set up BBVI and Dish Network accounts in our name that we pay.

We were open to either a 1 year lease or short term 91 days and were prepared for both. So far, 1 91 day lease down, ended well enough with full rent paid and no damages and the manager is actively working on the second 91 day lease.

Our manager deals with companies she knows, who still pay well. I don't think she does a lot of Federal FEMA type rentals.


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stjohnjulie
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December 4, 2018 7:36 am  

For the small rental cottage we are building for a long term renter I went ahead and bought furniture for it with the hopes I can attract a specific kind of renter. Also wanted to get furniture that fit for a small place and wasn't pressboard garbage. I'm skipping linens, dishes, etc because we are doing long term. I want to put someone in there and leave them there for as long as I can. Long term affordable housing on St. John is pretty much non existent at this point. This high season should be interesting. I have already heard restaurant owners complain that they can't get enough staff to meet demand because there is nowhere for their staff to live. Same goes for construction/relief workers.


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Fishbait
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December 4, 2018 3:07 pm  

stjohnjulie wrote:
Long term affordable housing on St. John is pretty much non existent at this point. This high season should be interesting. I have already heard restaurant owners complain that they can't get enough staff to meet demand because there is nowhere for their staff to live. Same goes for construction/relief workers.

I imagine land on St John for new development is in short supply. But it would seem on the surface that St Croix would be a perfect spot for new development, plenty of open land. But I imagine that government lethargy and red tape combined with a shortage of qualified construction people and other factors are scaring developers away. It can't be government graft scaring them, they are used to that...


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Gator's Mom
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December 4, 2018 4:39 pm  

Legal changes are under consideration that will keep real estate from lingering in probate for years. If implemented, these legal changed may help improve the availability of housing in the VI.

Bill Making It Easier To Pass On Real Property As Inheritance Among Measures Approved During Rules Committee Hearing


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caribstx
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December 4, 2018 7:30 pm  

Gator's Mom wrote:
Legal changes are under consideration that will keep real estate from lingering in probate for years. If implemented, these legal changed may help improve the availability of housing in the VI.

Bill Making It Easier To Pass On Real Property As Inheritance Among Measures Approved During Rules Committee Hearing

Its highly doubtful the probate changes will make any difference whatsoever in the availability of housing in the VI.

It might clear up some of the blight in Christiansted and Frederiksted.

But, most people coming here want to live in modern homes.


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Gator's Mom
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December 4, 2018 8:23 pm  

.. but won't new probate rules help clear some of the ownership issues on larger parcels of land where new houses and condos could be built?

Developable land is also tied up in probate - not just parcels with structures.

Its highly doubtful the probate changes will make any difference whatsoever in the availability of housing in the VI.

It might clear up some of the blight in Christiansted and Frederiksted.

But, most people coming here want to live in modern homes.


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stjohnjulie
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December 5, 2018 6:45 am  

I hope that it helps! This is a problem for my husband's family. The land that his great grandfather left to his children has largely not been probated. There was one person who had executorship that was able to get things done with the properties to a certain extent, but she passed away a year ago now. When I inquired with a lawyer about the cost of getting probate done now he informed me that it would likely be in excess of $40,000 if all of the heirs agreed on what should be done with the property. With the cost, and getting that many people to agree, I'm gonna bet it will sit as it is for a lot longer. Even though there isn't a lot of non-park land on St. John, there is a lot of undeveloped land that can't be developed because of probate issues.

Gator's Mom wrote:
.. but won't new probate rules help clear some of the ownership issues on larger parcels of land where new houses and condos could be built?

Developable land is also tied up in probate - not just parcels with structures.

]


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Fishbait
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December 5, 2018 2:19 pm  

stjohnjulie wrote:
I.....When I inquired with a lawyer about the cost of getting probate done now he informed me that it would likely be in excess of $40,000 if all of the heirs agreed on what should be done with the property. With the cost, and getting that many people to agree,

.. but won't new probate rules help clear some of the ownership issues on larger parcels of land where new houses and condos could be built?

Developable land is also tied up in probate - not just parcels with structures.

]

I'm not familiar with the probate issues but Good Lord! $40,000 to probate an estate? If a person dies with a legal will, why would it not be a generally cut & dried proceeding?


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caribstx
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December 5, 2018 2:35 pm  

Fishbait wrote: I'm not familiar with the probate issues but Good Lord! $40,000 to probate an estate? If a person dies with a legal will, why would it not be a generally cut & dried proceeding?

Nothing is "cut and dried" in the Virgin Islands. If you've lived here for more than a few weeks, you've probably noticed everything is a clusterf@#k.


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East Ender
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December 5, 2018 2:39 pm  

Not that this is germane to the OP's problem, but if you have a trust, you can avoid the aches and pains of a will and probate. It seems like many Virgin Islanders don't want to think about the possibilities around death and do not do advanced directives, trusts or wills.


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Gator's Mom
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December 5, 2018 2:45 pm  

I've been researching how to set up a revocable trust in the VI for real estate.

Has anyone set up a trust? What were the costs?

caribstx wrote:

I'm not familiar with the probate issues but Good Lord! $40,000 to probate an estate? If a person dies with a legal will, why would it not be a generally cut & dried proceeding?

Nothing is "cut and dried" in the Virgin Islands. If you've lived here for more than a few weeks, you've probably noticed everything is a clusterf@#k.


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East Ender
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December 5, 2018 3:04 pm  

Gator's Mom: We did it through our attorney. I don't know the exact cost, but now we just put everything in the trust. Easy peasy.


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islandjoan
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December 5, 2018 3:14 pm  

I would like to know the cost as well.
I'm guessing $500 to $1000?
East Ender, can you let us know?

East Ender wrote:
Gator's Mom: We did it through our attorney. I don't know the exact cost, but now we just put everything in the trust. Easy peasy.


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Gator's Mom
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December 5, 2018 3:22 pm  

Any VI government charge/stamp tax to change the deed?

East Ender wrote:
Gator's Mom: We did it through our attorney. I don't know the exact cost, but now we just put everything in the trust. Easy peasy.


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caribstx
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December 5, 2018 5:30 pm  

Gator's Mom wrote:
I've been researching how to set up a revocable trust in the VI for real estate.

Has anyone set up a trust? What were the costs?

We had revocable trusts set up several years ago through Attorney Linda Baxter (deceased). The books are about 2 inches thick but the process was pretty straight forward.

They were probably a couple of thousand for the wife and I altogether.


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East Ender
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December 5, 2018 6:59 pm  

I'm also going to say a couple of thousand. They are lawyers after all...:D


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islandjoan
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December 5, 2018 7:41 pm  

That's what I figured.
Which is why, if the new bill / law is enacted, that won't be necessary.
So I'm gonna wait to see if that happens, because I don't have a lot of disposable income.

East Ender wrote:
I'm also going to say a couple of thousand. They are lawyers after all...:D


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Scubadoo
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December 6, 2018 2:12 am  

Gator's Mom wrote:
Any VI government charge/stamp tax to change the deed?

Gator's Mom: We did it through our attorney. I don't know the exact cost, but now we just put everything in the trust. Easy peasy.

My lawyer told me a couple years ago we would have to pay the full stamp tax to transfer real estate into a living trust, same as selling to anyone else.


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stjohnjulie
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December 6, 2018 6:53 am  

The one lawyer I could find who would even entertain probate was helpful with giving me information but wasn't about to paint a pretty picture. The great grandfather had a will. And a couple of his children had wills, but many did not. So it has to probate from every branch of the tree on down. My husband is one of 9 kids. His dad is one of 10 kids. You get where I'm going with this I guess. It's just a lot of people! So that $40,000 is only if everyone agrees. And I'm going to guess that not everyone is going to agree.

Fishbait wrote:
I'm not familiar with the probate issues but Good Lord! $40,000 to probate an estate? If a person dies with a legal will, why would it not be a generally cut & dried proceeding?


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fdr
 fdr
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December 6, 2018 1:31 pm  

The situation Julie describes is far too common and has been one of the barriers for many to receiving disaster aid from FEMA. If you’ve lived somewhere for decades but the name on the deed isn’t yours and that person is dead, the government relief can’t be paid out to anyone even if the property damage qualifies. Lots of folks slipping through the cracks for this reason.


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NugBlazer
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December 6, 2018 6:16 pm  

SkysTheLimit wrote:
I've heard stories of tenants that had been in place for several years that were given 30 days to vacate. That's just wrong! Shameful actuall.

NO, IT IS NOT! How do you know the landlord's situation? Maybe they have a friend or relative who needs the space. Maybe they've fallen ill and need to sell the place to make money. Maybe their costs have risen and they need to charge higher rent. Maybe they just don't want to be landlords anymore. Whatever the case, it's really none of your business. The point is you are not in their shoes and you have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to shame them. None. As long as they're giving proper notice they're holding up their end of the bargain, regardless if the tenant has been there for a month or a decade.

What if something serious befell you or someone you love in the states and you suddenly had to sell your house and move back? Would that make you a terrible person who deserves shame just because you had to give your years-long tenants notice to vacate?

I'll say it again: SHAME ON YOU for shaming someone else for doing nothing wrong. YOU'RE the one doing harm with your comments.

Cruzans do it better.


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