MoneySaverSpain: Avoid scams on holiday rentals in Spain

MoneySaverSpain: Avoid scams on holiday rentals in Spain

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If you're looking to travel in Spain this summer, avoid scams and problems with holiday rentals in Spain with this handy guide.

These days there are many offers for holiday lets all over Spain that can be found on the internet, the majority of which are perfectly legal. However, there are fraudsters out there who'll take your money and you'll never hear from them again. In this short guide we offer you a few tips on what to look out for and how to avoid problems even with a legitimate rental.

More fraud is carried out in summer as rentals are short term and there lies the chance for people to "make a quick buck" by advertising apartments that they don't own, getting  part of the rental price up front and then disappearing. Unfortunately many people still fall for the trick of paying a deposit with the promise of getting the keys by courier service, the keys never show up and neither does the false owner.

Sometimes the apartment does indeed exist, but upon arriving it's nothing like the photos or details that you received by email. Some of the main areas that are misrepresented are size of apartment, number of rooms, size of swimming pool, location, etc.

If you decide to go with an agency, a few simple precautions should be taken also. Anyone can set up a website in a matter of hours, so just because you've seen a website for Company X with apartments at great prices, make your own quick internet investigation. On the website there should be a physical address (not just a mailbox number), contact telephone numbers and email. Beware of email address with domains that are "gmail", "hotmail", "yahoo" or similar - reputable companies tend to have their company domain in their email address.  Check the address of the agency with Google Maps - an address which leads to nowhere is a clear sign that something is wrong. Some years ago it was also usual to be cautious if a company did not supply a landline phone number, however many phone numbers that appear to be landlines are, in fact, virtual numbers, so a lack of a landline number isn't so significant these days.

scams on holiday rentals in Spain

Additionally most reputable agencies will generally have a Facebook page, Twitter account and even a presence on Pinterest or other social media sites. All these will help you to ascertain if you can trust an agency.

However, in order to save money many people still tend to use private rentals, either direct with the owner or through an intermediary. In this case you should ask for the following documentation:

  • Copy of DNI or other form of identification.
  • Copy of a bill related to the property to be rented, such as an electricity bill (although this does not prove ownership of the property)
  • If possible, a copy of the IBI (Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles) proving that the property belongs to the person who is offering the apartment.

Remember to keep copies of all emails and SMS messages as back up in case things go wrong.

When you decide to go ahead and rent an apartment, make sure that you sign a contract with the following details as minimum:

  • Names and DNI/Passsport number of both parties
  • Price of rental
  • Dates of rental
  • If a deposit has to be paid, the amount and what it covers
  • Full address of the rental apartment
  • If possible, request photos to annex to the contract as proof of both the contents and condition of the apartment

And don't forget, even though there are great offers to be found given the current economic climate, if an offer seems too good to be true it probably is.

Reprinted with permission of Money Saver Spain.

Maxine Raynor runs the website, which details tips on how to stretch your budget while living and travelling in Spain. You can also find her on Twitter @MoneySaverSpain.

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