You sure have read all the travel guides on how to survive with 30 € per day, and you have organized the contents of your vanity case in 10cl bottles, placed in a clear plastic bag of a liter maximum. Finally, you have found an apartment for rent on the internet. However, when you arrive at the supposed address of this very chic vacation rental, you find yourself in front of a Starbucks coffee shop. Dear friends, you have just been scammed for rent!
There is obviously some hesitation in renting an apartment in a remote city. However, it is worth remembering that renting scams also happen every day to people in their own city. As travelers, we know that the thrill of travel is linked to the quest for adventure. But that says adventure also says risk and reward. Calculate this risk by researching the booking of a furnished apartment or a shared flat. Without this, it may be a one-way trip to trouble that you have just booked.
New York Habitat believes that one of the best ways to help our guests determine if an apartment is the one they need is to let them see what previous tenants thought. You can read the comments that our customers have sent us for all our apartment listings on our website, whether they are located in New York, London, and Paris or in the South of France. We also encourage you to request apartment suggestions from our agents. They know our offers on their fingertips because they have visited a large part of these apartments and know many owners personally.
Pieces of advice and steps to follow before the hiring
- Do business with a reputable real estate agency or real estate broker with a license. They must have references, a history of transactions and a reputation to defend.
- Do an online search on the company in question: if you cannot find the company, it is likely that it does not exist. Do they have a website? Do a reverse lookup using their phone number or address. Make sure they match the name of the company and the information found on the website.
- Verify that the agency you are dealing with has local and international affiliations or accreditations. Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau (which documents complaints against US companies) or the REBNY (New York Real Estate Commission)? In France, many real estate agencies are members of the Chartered Real Estate Council (SNPI). In England, you can check whether a company is registered with the government by visiting the Companies House website and looking for the name of the company in question. In addition, many travel agents are registered with ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) or IATAN (international airline representation network).
- Call and speak directly to an agent: check that your agent or broker knows what he is talking about. Lay the ground, ask questions. Legitimate agents or brokers must be familiar with their listings and be able to answer all your questions.
- When you get in touch with a real estate agent, ask where he (or she) is fired. In New York, for example, you can search real estate agents by name through the New York State Department website.
- Finally, check on the Internet what people say about this company on the forums and on the sites dedicated to the trip. They are travelers like you who leave their comments on these sites. They speak forcefully about what they think of a travel agent or real estate agency. They are quick to warn of the troubles they have encountered on their way. If you see a history of negative comments or complaints, you should consider the warning.
We hope these tips will help you spot and avoid being scammed for rent.