Summer is approaching and therefore holiday rentals increase their offer. However, you must be careful to avoid deception and fraud. Some time ago, we wrote about the fact that rental housing in Spain was going through good times. Something similar is happening with apartment holiday rentals which is becoming a growing business in our country. It seems clear that clients prefer an apartment rather than a hotel because they like to feel completely at home and a hotel does not offer this atmosphere. An apartment conveys warmth whereas a hotel proves to be cold and impersonal. As a result, families are more in favour of holiday rentals in which to spend their holidays. However, we must point out that we must be extremely careful regarding holiday rentals because this growing business has attracted criminal organizations that swindle honest clients. An important part of holiday rentals are viewed and hired by means of the Internet. Therefore, the Internet network has become a breeding ground for fraudsters. In Estate One, we always recommend whichever real estate service is needed, to hire a professional. However, if the client decides to sign a holiday rental with a private individual we strongly advise the client to take some precautions: let´s see what they are.
Pay no attention to poorly written and drafted advertisements. A large number of people do not care about the fact that the text of an advertisement has spelling mistakes or is poorly drafted and as a result of this disregard for convention, they respond to the ad. Many criminal organizations do not operate on a national level, but out of Spain. In these cases, it is easy to detect ads which are badly written in Spanish. Therefore, the Golden Rule should be to rule out immediately any ad which has any of these characteristics.
I won´t believe it till I see it. Indeed, the second characteristic of a fraudulent ad is if you are not allowed to view the property. Hence, we advise you to eliminate any holiday rental which you cannot visit personally. Although this advice would seem common sense, many frauds are done in this way. The owner may give all kinds of excuses to avoid showing the property and often the tenant trusts the owner and makes an advance payment without ever having seen the flat. However, sometimes the property is located far away in which case we recommend asking the owner to videotape the present state of the property and then show it to the future tenant.
You must demand a contract. An indispensable prerequisite in order to conclude a lease agreement requires that the owner gives the tenant the contract which must include all legal data concerning the holiday rental as well as cancellation conditions and an emergency telephone number. It is quite simple to see if a contract is legal, that is why we recommend to double check it. If a contract is not offered by the owner, the proposal must be rejected.
Use the telephone. You must distrust the advertiser if you are only able to contact by means of electronic mail. Many fraudsters avoid giving a telephone number or they may even give a false one and thus, never answer a call. We advise to contact the advertiser by telephone and hold a conversation. If this cannot be done, you should turn down the offer.
Investigate. Thanks to the Internet, nowadays we are able to match up information and we strongly recommend you to do it. The Internet can help us find out if the flat has been rented previously and if there are any references concerning the advertiser. Some Interline platforms can help us, such a Google Street View. This platform can allow us to view the outside of the building and therefore check if it coincides with the photos that the owner has shown us.