Monday, February 8, 2016

France - Holiday rental fraud

Two serious cases of fraud involving holiday rentals have been reported in the local press, near the popular resort of Argelès-sur-mer on the Mediterranean coast, south of Perpignan.

The first involved a woman 'owner' who advertised a studio to let giving a false address - in a street where the highet number was 360 she gave an address at number 390. Advertising was placed on popular sites like 'leboncoin' with illustrations etc showing the property. A substantial deposit was requested 'in order to secure the property' but when holidaymakers arrived they found that no such apartmetn existed. Calls to the owner's mobile phone reached a recorded message until finally declared 'full' by the system. Visitors reporting to the local Tourist Office found they were among fifty or so others filing a complaint and with the police.

The second case involves deposits - estimated at 40 000 euros - collected on another non-existent property, again involving a private 'owner' using the popular media and the internet to advertise.

Property rental fraud of this kind is not new and prospective holiday renters should take all necessary precautions before parting with their money. Using a reliable local estate agency - member of FNAIM or SNPI - may cost a little more but offers a guarantee of security and that the renal property has been visted and checked that it reaches a required standard.