VACATION RENTAL SCAMS
THE ADVICE OF OUR STUDY TO PLAY ARNAQUES at SEASONAL RENTALS
ALERT SEASONAL RENTALS SCAMS !!! As the summer season approaches, it seems important to us to give some practical advice to future holidaymakers looking for a house or apartment to rent for the holidays. Main objective: to protect them from possible risks of Internet scams.
It is now very easy to rent a house or an apartment for summer holidays directly on a website. Faced with the increasing risks of scams flourishing on the net, the National Chamber of Judicial Officers recommends adopting the right reflexes to avoid unpleasant surprises and ruined holidays. Florilège: the lessor disappears after the payment of a deposit, the owner's e-mail address has been hacked by swindlers, the property is already rented or occupied, or even non-existent, the places do not correspond to the description of the advertisement... Also, it is advisable to apply certain simple but useful advice:
At the time of search and reservation :
- Beware of ultra-competitive, discounted or last minute rental rates,
- Knowing how to conduct a little investigation. The majority of specialized sites or ads of individuals do not verify the identity of their advertisers and do not benefit from a secure payment platform. It is therefore preferable to make sure, beforehand, of the real contact details of the lessor (telephone, postal address, e-mail, etc.) to exchange with him/her directly before any transaction.
- Check (internet forums, consumer protection sites, etc.) to see if any scams have already been reported on the website offering the rental of the property,
- To be able to identify the business name of the professional concerned (commercial court register, which can be consulted on the Internet, for estate agencies and agents, etc.),
- Be vigilant about the amount of the deposit or down payment to be paid (30% of the total amount of the stay in general) and the method of payment required. Recommendations: do not pay by cash money order or unsecured bank transfer, and/or avoid payments to foreign countries, especially if the property to be rented is located in France,
- Request a written rental agreement. The lessor has the obligation to give one to the potential lessee (decree n° 25305 of 16 May 1967). Written in two copies and signed by both parties, it will include a description of the premises (surface area, number of rooms, outbuildings, equipment, etc.), the dates of the rental and its price (amount of charges, etc.).
As a specialist in leases and statements of facts, the bailiff can intervene, in this context, to check the conformity of the seasonal rental contract, to detect unfair terms or to analyse the termination clauses.
Upon arrival at the chosen resort:
- Ask for a detailed inventory of fixtures in the presence of the landlord (and read the meters),
- If the property does not comply with the description or reveals unreported defects that prevent the normal and peaceful use of the rental, Article L.121-1 of the Consumer Code (applicable to professionals and individuals) provides for penalties for misleading commercial practices,
- If the owner does not want to reimburse the holidaymakers or agree to lower the amount of the rental, inform him of his disagreement by sending him a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt and quickly contact a bailiff. The latter will be able to draw up an inventory of fixtures report (the most solid proof in court) and advise them of the legal steps to be taken.
Acknowledgements to the National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice
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