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3 tips to avoid scams

False advertisements, rentals in poor condition, scams… Are you sure you have taken all the precautions before booking your holiday home?

The summer holidays are already approaching, do not wait any longer to go through the classifieds sites and the rental platforms between individuals to find the residence where to take it easy in the sun. But watch out for bad surprises.

In general, the major platforms (Airbnb, Abritel, Homelidays, PAP Vacances, etc.) offer a secure environment. But fraudulent offers and malicious renters sometimes manage to interfere on the sites. Our advice to avoid unfortunate encounters.

Tip n°1: beware of overly attractive offers

The more the price or the quality of the services seems out of step with the market, the more you have to be skeptical. Great opportunities still exist. To avoid falling into the trap, ask to speak to the landlord, demand guarantees that the house belongs to him.

The most common scam consists of offering a property for rent when the person who publishes the ad does not hold the rights. The photos and additional information may have been captured on other sites, or even from the real lessor. Some dishonest rental companies also offer the same property several times over the same period. The sites track down these kinds of scams themselves, but it is always possible that some will slip through the cracks. Monitor similar offers on competing sites with photo search. Quick tip: on the Chrome browser, right-click on the photo and select “find the image with Google Lens”. All sites using the image will appear.

Tip n°2: Do not go beyond the framework of the platforms

Do not give in to any pressure from the lessor explaining to you that you risk losing the property if you do not accept his conditions. Refuse to communicate your credit card number, and obviously to add its security code or secret code. Also be sure not to leave the framework of the site on which the offer was published, if it offers a secure payment method.

All major platforms secure the amounts committed until the actual transaction to ensure that both parties honor their promise. It’s a sad consolation, but if the beautiful house with a swimming pool you found does not exist, you should be able to recover the sums paid.

Tip n°3: Be vigilant during the inventory

It is not because the platform secures the transaction that you have to jump into the pool without going through the “inventory of fixtures” box. ” Check that everything advertised in the ad is there and in working order, insists Laurence Cadenat, associate lawyer at Cornet Vincent Segurel. Do not hesitate to test the pool alarm system if there is one, as it is mandatory safety equipment. Possibly delay the payment of the rest of the deposit until the necessary has been done, because it is an essential point for the enjoyment of the property and a possible reason for refusing the rental “. And if you discover faulty points just after having co-signed the inventory, be sure to take photos and notify the lessor immediately, in writing. Note that with some sites, such as Airbnb, there is no deposit. It is the platform that is supposed to guarantee the lessor in the event of deterioration.

If the inventory of fixtures has not been made at the entrance, the tenant is deemed to have received the premises in good condition and must return them as such (article 1731 of the Civil Code). The latter can however prove the poor condition of the rental by testimonials, photos or a bailiff’s report.

See also – UFC-Que Choisir answers: what am I entitled to after the cancellation of my vacation rental?

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