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Need advice on apartment rental policy in Paris-Please Help!

Need advice on apartment rental policy in Paris-Please Help!

Feb 21st, 2006, 10:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 69
Need advice on apartment rental policy in Paris-Please Help!

This is our first time renting an apartment in Paris. We narrow down to this VRBO apt www.vrbo.com/36111 in 16eme. However, as we look into the process to book it, the owner says that they do not ever write out a rental agreement in the 4 yrs they rent the apt. They ask us to pay now in full, since we will be going in 2 wks. We will be in Paris for 10 days so our rent is 2K+ USD. We can pay by credit card (Visa & MC). They ask us to pay for or provide a credit report, Credit card info and our Social Security no. Can you please share w/ me your experience and whether this is standard practice ? We can pay in total, but "no rental agreement" and our "social security" number? I am a bit uncomfortable? Should I be? should I pass on this?
Thanks very much for your help.
MomJC is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 138
I rented an apartment from ParisPerfect last March and was required to pay a deposit of 30% of the total rental fee at the time I made the reservation and the remaining 70% 90 days prior to arrival. So it is not surprising to me that you would be asked to pay 100% now for a rental in two weeks. However, I was not required to provide a credit report or SS#, and I was provided with a rental agreement (they called it a booking form, but it included the terms and conditions of the rental).

I am speculating, but the request for the SS# and credit report may be due to the short time between booking and rental and the timing of payment from your credit card company.

This was my first and only experience renting an apartment in Paris, so I am by no means an expert. I do know that VRBO is sometimes recommended by posters on this board. Perhaps someone who has rented through them can provide more specific information.

Good luck and enjoy Paris.
newesttraveler is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
Personally, this sounds pretty unreasonable to me and it's way too much money to pay up-front. Generally, for a last-minute rental like this, the owners are more flexible (not the other way around) with deposits, etc. since they are happy to be renting it out at all. The 2 places I was thinking of renting (16 days away) both said the general security deposit wasn't necessary since it was last-minute.

I rented a 6th arr. ? (St. Germain des Pres) studio from a couple who were very informal about the whole matter (for example they had me leave the balance of rent on the table before I left) and yet they still e-mailed me a written contract as well as copies of their passports with their photos, etc. before expecting me to paypal 50% of the rental cost. I know that rents are higher in the area you're staying but the apartment seems a bit overpriced for a last-minute, 10 day, 1 br rental during low season. Have you looked at beau-paris.com?
fishee is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,498
MomJC, there is another thread about vrbo on the go at this moment, and I just posted some of our experiences there. Take a look:


AnselmAdorne is online now  
Feb 21st, 2006, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
I too am using VRBO for a rental in Paris that is coming up very soon. We just finalized things this week-end for an arrival 10 days from now, so our time frames are pretty similar. I just mailed a check in US funds of $500 for a deposit; the landlord will just hold the check and return it when we leave. She wants to be paid the full amount of the rental in cash when we arrive, so we are planning to get the Euros from our bank here and take them in our money belts. Our assumption is that the landlord doesn't want to have to report the money she is earning from the rental, and that's why she is looking for a cash payment.

I too would be a bit leery of this whole situation. Last summer we decided not to rent from a guy who wanted a signed rental contract (the same one that would be used for a long term lease) and a ridiculous security deposit for a rental that was going to be only 4 nights in a place that was about $75 a night. What was most interesting though is that when we were in the area (this was rural), we accidentally drove past this place which we assumed was in a really nice location on a stream and found out that yes it was on the stream but it was in a building next to the main road. wW were very glad we followed our instincts and didn't follow through with this rental.
julies is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 101
I would NOT ever give anyone my SS# and/or my credit report!

This will only open you up to Identity theft and Fraud.

A cc# alone should be enough to rent an apartment. Look at another apt if they want more,
latenighter is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 69
Thanks everyone very much for your help. Your thoughts further reinforces what I thought was strange. I don't mind paying but requesting all personal info and not provide a rental agreement is very strange. It's a shame, the apt is lovely and in a good area. Thanks.
Fishee - Have you used beau-paris.com before? Thanks for the site. there's one apt on there, I am going to check out.
MomJC is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,631
Hi mom the links below could help you know more about rentals.
IMO you must get a booking contract.
If you don't feel confident, don't rent it.

Julies <Our assumption is that the landlord doesn't want to have to report the money she is earning from the rental, and that's why she is looking for a cash payment.> It can be if there is no document at all but otherwise, I don't think so.
have a look at those links as well



good luck!
cocofromdijon is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,602
Take a look at vacationinparis.com Many people on this site have been satisfied with them. They are located in New Jersey, do everything in dollars and you can use credit cards. They give agreements and have last minute deals on their website. A relative used them with no problems and we will be using them in a month. Good Luck.
opaldog is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
beau paris is a site that I've used but once again, I believe it's its just a website with a relativly small number of listings since I contacted the owner directly anyway. I've found that many rentals are listed on multiple websites (sometimes I do a google search to find them all since the posted price will vary...) Good luck and have a great time.
fishee is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Posts: 4,229

I had looked at the owners thread last summer and contributed to it, but it was interesting reading again. I guess we have been extremely lucky in finding appealling rentals that have turned out well. And, we have always dealt directly with owners. I think maybe it is best because both sides of the equation can get a feel for the other's style, expectations and personality. We are quite easy-going and trusting and probably are better match for owners who are somewhat the same. In addition, we are always extremely careful and respectful of other people's property and would just assume that all renters would be that way. I guess it all boils down to the trust and respect issue. Apparently not all renters are this way. After reading the old post about the experiences that some landlords have had, I can now better see why some of them are so cautious.

I also have to agree with the comments about agency fees that were made by some people. This time around I looked at an apt. that was offered through an agency. The rental was broken down into fee for the owner and fee for the agency. I realize that the agency had put together the website and answered inquiries, but I didn't really think I had gotten anywhere near the 25% agency fee when I had done the search on the internet myself, found an apartment I was interested in, and found an apartment that their calendar said was available. In our case the owner missed out on a potential rental because of the fact that I didn't see that much value added by the fact that an agency was involved. I would much prefer to just communicate directly with an owner.
julies is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:50 AM
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well, just to weigh in (why not), I've rented a couple times but I'm one who WON'T rent from private parties, so I don't have a lot of these issues.

By contrast to others, I don't think there is anything unusual at all for what they are requesting, except for the "no rental agreement". Of coruse you have to pay the full amount of the rental before you stay there, and asking for a credit report isn't that unusual for lots of people, if they are Americans. I think Americans kind of use credit reports a lot mroe than foreigners might, and not only does it have to do with the short time frame (you will be there before the credit card company probably actually pays the bill, and you have 60 days to refuse to pay certain CC charges), but also that many people use credit reports in general to reflect stability of a person. The social security number is because of the credit report, you need it for that.

I don't think think there's anything unusual about the request or the payment, just having no rental contract. I won't deal with people like that, but I don't deal with owners directly anyway because I want more professionalism and a valid company. BTW vacationinparis that someone touts above is a firm that refused to give me a rental contract several years ago, saying they "just didn't do that", they preferred to be casual, etc. I walked and refused to deal with them before I thought that was very unprofessional.
Christina is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:02 AM
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Posts: 1,602
I mentioned VacationinParis and I did receive an agreement from them. Whether you want to call it a contract or not, it indicates which apartment we are renting and states the terms and that we have paid in full and how we paid. I consider that a "contract". I have so far had good dealings with them. I expect it to continue. I have also rented from a private party and rentparis. Each one handled the transaction differently, but I never had a problem.
opaldog is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,562
I just rented an apartment from www.rentparis.com. The trip is in 3 weeks so I havn't actually gone through with the whole rental yet, but dealing with the company so far has been a joy. They are very prompt with answering emails, etc. They required 50% at the time of reservation - paid by bank transfer or you can use paypal if you want to use a credit card (that's what I did). The remaining 50% you can pay in cash on arrival, or you can do the paypal or bank transfer but it has to be there before you get there. So in other words, entire amount must be paid when they give you the keys. They want a €300 security deposit which can be a US bank personal check, and they'll give it back the day you leave (assuming you don't wreck anything). They have quite a few very decent looking apartments still available for March. You have to down load a rental agreement off the web and fax it to them, and they email you back the rental agreement so you each have it.

Although I liked a lot of the apartmetns I saw on vrbo.com, and I might consider renting that way someday, I agree with Christina that I am more comfortable renting from a company than an individual. I went on this forum and searched and found several good references for rentparis.com and that makes me feel much better about the whole thing. I might consider a rental through vbro if I could get a personal reference for the specific apartment/owner.
isabel is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Posts: 33,383
Vacationinparis may have changed their business practices and now will give out contracts, although it is possible what you describe wasn't fully what I was asking them for. I wanted a lot more than just a statement saying I had paid in full. I was used to dealing with very professional rental companies that had explicit contracts with details about deposits, when the deposit would be returned and what fees could be taken out for what conditions, etc., and things like that. As I recall, at the time vacationinparis wouldn't give me anything in writing at all, even the minimal stuff like you got, so perhaps they have gotten a little more businesslike over the years, although they were pretty sneaky about a particular apt. I was interested in and refused to show me a photo of the bedroom or bathroom, saying they "didn't have to" in order to rent the place, and just didn't happen to have a photo, etc. They still haven't posted a photo of the bathroom of that place, but they did finally post one of the bedroom and I saw what they were hiding -- the bedroom was barely larger than the bed. I just thought they were sneaky, but at least they may have improved some over the years. I prefer to rent from places that are French, anyway, though.
Christina is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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For those of us who do use VRBO (and I've always had good experiences), it would be nice if everyone would report back with "VRBO" and the listing "####" so that it's easy to find through a search. It would be reassuring to find just one reference that all went smoothly with a rental. Is there some other place where we should post this kind of info? I find slowtrav to be more difficult to navigate and they actually don't have that many recs unless I was just looking in the wrong place.
fishee is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,172
fishee, I think this is all the SlowTrav Paris reviews:

Did you submit your review? They are also behind on posting the reviews after one submits them.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
Actually I submitted a review here but didn't use a VRBO reference number, rather I used the address of the apartment. I've searched multiple times for reviws on slowtrav for multiple cities and I never find the apt I'm interested in -- made me feel like I was wasting my time. I think my travel budget is much smaller than most slowtrav folks so the listings aren't as relevant for me since I'll never rent a 1 br apt for 1400/week.
fishee is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
I'm with fishee. All the slowtravel apts are more than I'll ever spend.

Also, I too looked at slowtravel and found it difficult to find what I wanted. I'd read the review and then go look at the site and find it was way more than I wanted to spend. Being in the midst of this, I'm finding it is much more difficult to find a nice, acceptable cheap Paris apt.
julies is offline  

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