Vacation home rental scams: Belvilla warns travellers
At a time when the prospects of an “international” summer seem to be uncertain, Europe seems once again to be opting for more local vacations and travellers continue to massively favour vacation home rentals.
A boom in bookings is accompanied by an upsurge in scams and false advertisements on the part of consumers and owners alike. In order to avoid any misadventures or scams, Belvilla, the specialist in vacation home rentals in Europe, has published a guide to best practices to avoid false rental announcements and to ensure that you have a peaceful vacation.
Hanita Van Der Meer, Director of Press and Public Relations at Belvilla says: “These types of scams against owners and guests occur every year. Although these are isolated cases carried out by amateurs, they have an impact on the reputation of the entire vacation home rental industry. At Belvilla we constantly reinforce our safety guidelines and encourage our customers to be extra vigilant about renting from private landlords and to exchange via a secure platform. At Belvilla, our customer service department works hard to ensure that our customers are followed through with the booking process. We also make it a point to strengthen our sanitation protocols and service offerings to ensure tenants and guests are well taken care of. ”
Sophie Gouraud, Head of Business Development France at Belvilla adds: “We see around us that tenants but also owners of vacation homes are sometimes the target of many scams. We strongly recommend that they rent a property via a specialized platform. This step allows the tenant but also the owner to access secure payment methods as well as a competent customer service. We also invite all French people wishing to rent a vacation home to never trust a landlord who, for example, would refuse them the realization of a rental contract. Without a rental agreement, it will be impossible for them to appeal to a jurisprudence in case of need. ”
What precautions should you take?
In many cases, it can be difficult to clearly identify fraud, so it is imperative to pay special attention to the time of payment. Belvilla also advises against transmitting too much sensitive information without guaranteeing compliance with data protection standards.
Other indicators of a scam are the landlord’s refusal to make direct contact with the tenant or the offer of a suspicious payment method without direct confirmation of receipt of the amount due.
Belvilla would also like to draw tenants’ attention to overly attractive advertisements. Below-market prices, unbelievable services, beware of properties that do not exist or landlords who disappear after the deposit has been paid.
In order to avoid fraud and to spend your vacations in complete peace of mind, Belvilla strongly recommends:
-Booking through an established rental agency
-Checking the existence and contact details of the owner
-Pay special attention to: payment terms and overly attractive advertisements
-Not to give in to pressure if the owner demands payment or exchange too quickly
-To demand a rental contract as well as a reservation confirmation
All of these points of vigilance should allow holidaymakers to protect themselves from scams and frauds and to ensure that they have a serene and peaceful vacation.