I hope this communication finds you in good health and staying safe in these troubling times. With the current stay-at-home orders, the HCTA Board recently held a Board meeting, by phone, to discuss how these orders impact our owners. I wanted to share the results of the meeting and how you may be affected.
First, a few notes on our cleaning policies. As you know Northern Michigan Escapes (NME), our property management company, does a great job of keeping our units clean and in working order. They were able to handle our spring-cleaning process and get all the units ready for the influx of late spring and summer owners. They have also adjusted their cleaning practices to address the issues related to the COVID-19 virus. Housekeeping staff now uses a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner that is effective against COVID-19, and they are required to wear gloves and masks that are changed after cleaning each unit. Furthermore, NME will continue to use this cleaning protocol after the pandemic.
At the end of March, Governor Whitmer instituted an Executive Order that included a stay-at-home order, as well as prohibition on traveling between residences. This Order impacted our April Owners, precluding them from utilizing their week(s) at Harbor Cove for 2020. On April 24, 2020, Governor Whitmer has extended the stay-at-home order, however she lifted the ban on traveling between residences. With that change to the Executive Order, we are going to be able to reopen our units to our owners. The community center including the indoor pool remain closed at this time.
There is concern that there might be a resurgence later in the year that may result in new travel restrictions which may preclude owners from taking advantage of their week(s) at Harbor Cove. Consequently, after much discussion, the Board has established a policy for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year to provide owners who are impacted by the travel restrictions with some relief. Owners who are precluded from traveling to Harbor Cove between May 1st and December 31st, 2020, due to travel restrictions instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be credited $103 – the cost of cleaning/laundry for each week impacted – toward their 2021 annual maintenance fees. Travel restrictions that are applicable will be those instituted by the federal, state, or local government (Harbor Springs, Petoskey or Emmet County) that would not allow travel to/from Harbor Cove. If an owner chooses not to travel to northern Michigan, once the travel bans are lifted, the credit will not be applicable; this is intended to address only those instances where owners are prohibited from using their week at Harbor Cove due to governmental restrictions.
Owners who participate in RCI may consider spacebanking their week(s) with RCI as an alternative option. Should you choose to pursue that option, the $103 credit will not be issued toward your 2021 annual maintenance fees. RCI members may wish to contact RCI to investigate their “Deposit Restore Program” which may allow you to more effectively bank your week(s) for a fee. Please contact RCI directly if that is of interest to you as NME is not involved with that program and will not be able to address questions.
In many other timeshare properties, there are no refunds as this sort of event is considered an “Act of God/Nature” and therefore not refundable. This seems like a very harsh policy and your HCTA Board feels that it’s important to provide good customer service to our owners. Since the units are not in use, refunding the cleaning and laundry fees, is our way of saying we’re sorry you were unable to use your week due to governmental actions. This is a variable cost to the association and therefore something we can refund, with minimal impact to our overall budget. NME will be cataloging the credits and you will find that credit accounted for on your invoice later this winter when the 2021 maintenance invoices are distributed.
In positive news, we still plan to install the new upstairs flooring in the living and dining rooms for Units 8 and 11 this fall. Units 2 and 5 will likely need to push to early 2021.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to any of the board members or Cindy Dickson from NME. We certainly hope the current crisis is resolved quickly and that we can all get back to enjoying our lives, northern Michigan and Harbor Cove.