NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodNaples

Actions

Naples rental home owners accuse management company not paying

Multiple property owners and vacation renters told Fox 4 they were never paid for the use of their property.
WFTX-InYourNeighborhood-Thumnbails-1280x720-Naples.png
Posted at 9:23 PM, Jan 29, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — For many small business owners in southwest Florida, paradise is business.

And for Steve Buchalter, a local realtor who owns several vacation rental properties, business was good.

Until last summer, when he says he stopped receiving payment from his vacation rental management company.

“All of a sudden at once, everyone was having the same problem. They weren’t getting paid,” Buchalter said.

Bill DePietri, another Naples property owner, had the same problem.

“Through the summer we weren’t getting any checks. Around September I started to really push her for it,” DiPietri said.

They all went into business with Haley Morad, the owner of Live Your Best Life Vacations.

The business model is simple, renters book the stays through various websites, the sites pay the rental management company, then the company takes a 15% cut and the rest goes to the owners.

But the owners tell Fox 4 they aren’t getting paid.

“I had at least $16,000 in rentals,” Buchalter said.

“(Morad) ended up getting us for $10,00. She had taken money from the renters and she never reimbursed us for it,” said DePietri.

As of now, there have been no reports made with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office.

There are also complaints against Morad and her business on the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation.

Morad never responded to requests for comment.

“I don’t want her to continue doing this to other people. The fact that she’s still operating today is mind boggling,” said Buchalter.

Fox 4 has also spoken with three other property owners or renters who have similar stories.

“This is our fifth year renting a place in the winter in Florida. And we’ve never had anything like this happen before,” said Fatti, a retired doctor from upstate New York.

Fatti’s attempts to escape the cold, let him and his wife out of some cold hard cash.

A year-and-a-half ago, Fatti and his wife rented a Naples home through Morad’s company.

Fatti says the initial deposit was $29,000.

Fast forward to October of 2023, Fatti received a call from a different rental company with an urgent message from the property owner.

“Don’t send any more money to Haley Morad. Because they haven’t received any of the $29,000 that Haley took from you,” said Fatti.

Fatti says the experience won’t discourage him from staying in Naples, but now he’s warning other seasonal visitors.

“This is the first interaction that’s gone like this,” said Fatti. “It has increased my suspicion and increased my knowledge about how things could go bad.”