Holiday rental scams: be careful!

In an article published earlier this month, Var Matin reported on a scam targeting holidaymakers in the Var region.

Two individuals from Lyon were apprehended by the urban security brigade of Fréjus as part of an investigation into a holiday rental scam in Saint-Raphaël, according to police sources. They are suspected of taking part in a fraud based on the publication of fake holiday rental offers. 

The case follows complaints from five people to the Fréjus police station. These individuals realized that the apartment they had rented for their holiday in Saint-Raphaël was a scam and had to find a last-minute solution. Investigators managed to identify the two suspects as well as 49 victims in different regions of France, with the total damage amounting to several tens of thousands of euros. The two individuals implicated are believed to have acted as intermediaries between the victims and an unidentified sponsor, in exchange for a monthly fee of 300 euros. The sponsor allegedly collected the cash sums. The properties offered were authentic on a peer-to-peer rental site, but were diverted by the scheme’s authors.

To protect yourself against this type of scam, using a real estate agency with several apartments under management can be a reassuring solution.

Renting your holiday apartment through a real estate professional has many advantages:

Solid advice

The real estate agent will take the time to understand your specific needs (location, type of accommodation, desired amenities, budget) to better guide you. Rental sites like ours often have advanced search engines that allow you to filter results according to your criteria, and you can also contact a real estate agent for additional information. If you prefer a more personal approach, you can also visit the agency. In any case, the rentals offered have been verified and managed by professionals who ensure cleaning and repairs (if necessary) between each tenant, so that you can enjoy your stay in peace. Moreover, your interlocutor, who knows the region and the rental, will be present on site to inform you, give you advice on activities to do in the surroundings and the functioning of the co-ownership.

Emergency management

In case of a problem during your stay, an agency will be available to intervene and call an emergency plumber or replace a defective appliance. If there is a problem that could ruin your holiday (an unusable pool when you rent in August, for example), the agency will contact the owner to negotiate compensation in case of a proven problem.

Comfortable rentals, similar to hotel standards

It can be risky to rent a holiday home between individuals because each owner has their own vision of what is comfortable, luxurious, or clean. Some may exaggerate the features and benefits of their accommodation. To avoid unpleasant surprises, know that a rental agency verifies the characteristics of the accommodation and ensures that they meet the required quality standards, especially if the accommodation is classified. Agencies can also offer additional services such as rental of sheets, linens, daily cleaning service, or provide everything needed to welcome a baby, which may not be the case with a rental between individuals.

So be careful when booking your holiday rental online.
Nicolas Caravokiros, head of the East district of the departmental security department, suggests « checking if the ad has not been reported on forums specializing in scams ». « You should prioritize phone contacts and not hesitate to question your interlocutor, for example, about the distance of the accommodation from the beaches, the shops present in the area, etc. »

To avoid the hassle of all these procedures, real estate agencies offering apartments or houses for rent during vacations are preferred contacts.