Allocation of AFL Vacation Properties
The purpose in writing this is to explain the procedure and rules on allocating vacation cottages and apartments for the periods when AFL members have to apply instead of booking directly online. While members can generally book these properties online by themselves or get help from an AFL employee, there are some exceptions, as follows:
- Vacation cottages in the summertime: In the period usually lasting from the first Friday in June until the last Friday in August, AFL cottages are allocated through an application process. Each cottage is rented for a week at a time, switching renters on Friday.
- Christmas and New Year's: For some years, AFL allocated its apartments at Christmas and New Year's. This past time, there was no allocation meeting for that holiday season; instead, apartments were allocated as soon as applications were received. One week is allocated at Christmas, and a different week at New Year's.
- Easter: At Easter, AFL allocates its vacation cottages for a one-week period, normally lasting from the Tuesday before Easter to the first Tuesday after Easter.
There are firm rules on AFL allocations. They happen at a specially advertised allocation meeting at which AFL members have the right to attend and look on. Before that, union staff will have finished preparing, mostly by:
- Checking the rights of those applying. They all have to be paying AFL dues, or else be entitled as old-age or disability pensioners according to union rules.
- Marking the members who have not received any allocation during the last three years, because these members will have allocation priority.
Every AFL member is permitted to submit one primary and one secondary application, which means there will in fact be four groups to select from, in the following order:
- Primary application of members with priority
- Secondary application of members with priority
- Primary application of members without priority
- Secondary application of members without priority
Allocation starts by allocating according to the primary application of priority members. In cases where there is more than one application for the same week in the same cottage, each of the applications gets a number drawn by chance. Each number is listed by an applicant's name, so the numbers of those who did not receive an allocation are entered on a waiting list.
When the entire round of AFL vacation cottages has been covered for every single vacation week, the procedure is undertaken again, using the secondary applications of members with priority. This allocation is for cottages which are still vacant. In cases where there is more than one application for the same week in the same cottage, one of them is drawn by chance and the other applications receive numbers on the waiting list.
Even if a particular cottage is no longer vacant, a drawing will still take place from the applications in that week in order to decide the order on the waiting list. This waiting list adds to the one from the first round.
After these two allocation rounds, in which only members with priority were involved, there is a waiting list of the ones not drawn in the first two rounds.
This process is repeated for those members without priority, first taking their primary and then their secondary applications.
After the four rounds, a waiting list will have formed of all the applications which received no cottage allocation. This could mean that an applicant would end up on two waiting lists: one for her/his primary and one for her/his secondary application.
Once the application has been processed, an applicant who was allocated a cottage will receive a text message (SMS). When allocations have been completed, both those who were allocated a cottage and those who were not will get an e-mail with more details.
Only one consideration or preference is given to any AFL member: whether that person has received an allocation during the last three years or not. The reason for this consideration is to help ensure that as many members as possible will get a chance at a vacation cottage at least every few years. No other factors are considered (not for instance whether that member has ever received a cottage, how long s/he has belonged to the union or how high her/his dues are).
In recent years, AFL has generally received about 300 applications, which permitted some kind of solution for most members. This year, however, 906 applications came in, so there will clearly be more members than usual who remain empty-handed.
Once a cottage has been allocated, the AFL member must pay a deposit of ISK 5,000.00 within one week. If the deposit has not been paid on time, the booking is cancelled and re-allocated according to the waiting list. The member has until mid-May to pay the balance. If it has not been paid by the final due date, the booking is cancelled.
Since there are often several people in the same family who are AFL members and apply for a cottage, and since allocations are entirely by chance, sometimes more than one person in the family will receive an allocation. This makes it important for members to let AFL know as soon as possible whether they will use their allocation, so that fellow union members will not be left waiting in uncertainty.
AFL members are entirely prohibited from passing on a cottage to anyone else instead of using it themselves. It does not matter whether the other person belongs to AFL or not. Doing this anyway may have serious consequences. When vacation cottage use violates union rules, AFL reserves the right to demand the market rental rate and may apply yet further penalties to the responsible member.
During the first days after allocations, numerous messages are sent to the applicants. Those who received an allocation get reminders to turn it back in if they are not going to use it, since this allows for re-allocation. Members on the waiting list get messages pointing out cottages that are still free, which gives them the chance to change their applications to an available cottage.
When the due date for paying deposits has passed, every cottage week left free is listed on the union website and can be booked directly online by AFL members. In contrast, once the final due date for paying rent balances has passed, not many more changes can be expected. Even so, members do sometimes cancel their bookings, up to the last minute; if this happens, AFL staff do their best to check down the waiting list whether another member can use the cottage.
- Deposits are never refunded. The deposit for an allocated period amounts to ISK 5,000.00 and will not be paid back even if the union member later cancels the booking. This rule is necessary so that no member keeps other members from getting a vacation cottage, only not to use the cottage later.
- Other than the deposit, the rest of the rental payment will be refunded if the booking is cancelled with an advance notice of more than 10 days. If the advance notice is shorter, the refund will depend on whether it becomes possible to rent the cottage to someone else.
On My Pages, an AFL member who has completed the final rent payment can check her/his booking and download her/his rental agreement. My Pages also shows an overview of the messages that have been sent to that member.
Terms of payment
The deposit must be paid using the bill/invoice which appears in online banking; it cannot be paid with a credit or debit card.
The final payment, however, can be made with a credit or debit card simply by contacting an AFL office, even though a bill/invoice already appears in the member's online banking.