Pay cash/check for rental??

Apr 25th, 2013, 10:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 29
Pay cash/check for rental??

I had recently posted seeking help finding an apartment in London.
Found a place in Bloomsbury and finally heard back from the owner.
She wants a check into their bank account.
Says that since it is not a company that is the only payment accepted.
Everything I have read says NOT to send cash or check.
I assume there are no exceptions to that rule??
She sent me her address and the address of the unit being rented which I had trouble locating on Google Maps.
4annmarie is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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I don't see a problem with a check. How else would you have preferred to pay? Credit card? PayPal?

I have d one it all ways: check, both US dollars and foreign currency, bank transfer, PayPal, credit card.

What are u worried about?
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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By the way you spell check I assume you are from the US, am I correct? If so you cannot pay a check in to a UK bank if it is US dollars without someone paying a heavy fee. I will expect the owner will want you to do that.
Personally I would move on there are others out there who will make payments easier.
BTW Paypal dose not cover you against fraud either.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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Have you seen a number of reviews of the property. Do you have a landline number for the owner?

I can understand that a private owner would only take cash. If you are just not comfortable with that - you should look only at apts represented by a management company that takes CCs - but you will be limiting your options.

And if you post the specific address perhaps someone local can have a look at it for you.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:45 AM
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I normally pay for holiday accommodation by bank transfer here in Europe. I have never had a problem with doing that, and can't see why you are so worried about paying in advance.

I would ask the owner for their bank details and do a bank transfer, with you paying all the fees.
It will cost her a lot to pay a US cheque into a UK bank account, and some banks may even refuse to handle it.

If you are unhappy with doing that then you need to find somewhere else which will accept cash.

One reason for requiring payment, or at least a sizable deposit in advance is to cover the owner for a no-show.
hetismij2 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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From your other thread you were keen on the Bloomsbury apartment, is that the one you've chosen? If so, have you read the secure payment methods on the website?

They list a secure payment option. Is that acceptable to the owner? If not and the owner insists on cash or a cheque and you're not comfortable with that then walk away. If you send monies in advance and it falls through you will be left with nothing. Only you can decide if you're comfortable with the risk.
sofarsogood is online now  
Apr 25th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Assuming you're American, you can't write a check in GBP, and if you write it in dollars, the landlord will probably have to pay a hefty fee to get it converted to GBP and desposited. So a check, at least one in dollars, is useless to both of you. What she probably meant was an international draft, which you should be able to get at any decent-size bank. It should cost you under $10 and is essentially a cashier's check in a foreign currency. You sign it and put it in the mail to her. Or you send a wire transfer, which will cost a good deal more. Obviously, you don't send cash. Have you asked her about PayPal? If none of these is acceptable, find an apartment that's managed by a company.

As for the apartment itself, it doesn't sound as though you've done much due diligence on it if you are having trouble locating it. That's a big red flag for me.
StCirq is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Just an FYI on bank transfer fees for Wells Fargo. I just tried this and $45 for an international transfer ! I asked about a check in euros and "even more than that" they said. They told it had increased. I'll say - I don't remember anything close to that.

Turns out the lovely lady with the apartment was appalled, as well. We were trying to send 100 euro for downpayment, she doesn't take PayPal which I prefer. She just said "that's ridiculous, just pay me the whole thing when you arrive." I thought that was very nice.
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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She wants a check into their bank account.
Says that since it is not a company that is the only payment accepted.
Everything I have read says NOT to send cash or check.
I assume there are no exceptions to that rule??>>

paying in advance [normally at least 4-6 weeks before the let begins] is the industry standard in the UK for self-catering accommodation. If, like us, you only have what they call in the trade one "unit", it doesn't make sense to sign up with a c/card company. therefore you have to operate with cheques and cash. Payments within europe are generally pretty easy now, and our aussie customers have managed ok too.

if you take out travel insurance that should cover cancellation costs if, for example, you can't travel due to illness/accident.

soogies - we've been known to make deals like that with people too, but with some trepidation - what if they don't turn up? That's a week or two's money down the drain.

so there can be doubts and uncertainties on BOTH sides.
annhig is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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I want to thank you, annhig, for being kind to people like us .

Yes, we realize it's a gamble on both ends, moreso on owners' part in this case. It was just nice to be validated that $45 is a ridiculous amount to pay in order to send 100 euro.. Of course, it would have been the s ame fee for 1,000 euro but somehow that stings less.
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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It was just nice to be validated that $45 is a ridiculous amount to pay in order to send 100 euro..

soogies, same thing with us. Our bank wanted $50 to wire transfer a €100 deposit for a b&b. It was ridiculous, so I told the owner and she said to just pay her in full when we get there.

Last year, I willingly paid that fee only because I was paying the whole amount (€1200) for an apartment rental (short notice ~ 3 weeks). But our landlord said that he didn't even get the whole amount because his bank deducted a fee for international wire transfer, so we paid the difference even if he didn't asked us to do so. He was actually very, very nice and we will be renting the same apartment next year.
JoyC is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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I've paid for an apartment by check, I don't find that so unusual. I was dealing with an agency in Paris that was pretty savvy, though, they knew everyone didn't have francs (at that time). They just told me to send them a cashier's check for XXX USD and I sent it by USPS GLobal Priority Delivery or something like that (which didn't cost that much, I think around $7). I think they got it within a week. Of course, I checked the exchange rate to see if what they were asking was okay, and it was a great deal, it was even a little lower than that day's interbank rate, so their agency must have only updated it weeky or something, but in any case, they were not marking up the exchange.

They wanted my business, however, and were an agency, they knew what they were doing and had a business bank account.

Is there any way the owner would agree to that? I would think it more likely than them just saying pay when you get here, which really puts them at risk. But I don't know about fees for cashing checks in USD from other countries.

I have also gotten checks made out in euro at a travel exchange service in the US (Travelex), they have that capability. It was more expensive, but I had no choice at that time, I had to write a tuition check to a school in Paris. It was some percentage of the amount, as I recall. Currently, they charge around 12 pct for that service, which is a big chunk, of course. But they will write you a check in foreign currency. It is better than $45 for $100, though.

Or maybe they would accept a deposit and paying about 12 pct of that wouldn't be too bad (like a couple hundred dollars). But see if you can get a bank to do with StCirq says is pretty cheap.
Christina is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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My bank charges me 25E,and that was a few years ago (the last time I ever did that), and the exchange rate is never terribly good, either. And I think my bank is pretty typical - but of course it's a French bank and I don't know about British ones.

soogies, did you just ask for "a check"? Or specifically, an international draft? I know the tellers at my US bank, and if I asked for "a check" in a foreign currency, they wouldn't have a clue. If I ask for "an international draft," they at least have the sense to go get a supervisor who may know what that is.
StCirq is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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St Cirq - I asked for an international draft first. They were unsure. So I said I want to transfer money from my account to euros in someone else's account in Europe. They gathered a few people to try to figure it out and finally handed me a long form (never have I had to do it myself before).

Then they said it was $45 and when I asked them what numbers go where, in reference to the routing numbers the apt owner Gave me, they didn't know what to do. So I asked for just an international check, in euros. They said that would be even more money.

So by now I was both mad at the fee and mad that they didn't knw wat they were doing. Told DH and he got the bank manager on the phone (first time we used this wells Fargo for this service. Never had a problem in Texas). Took two days for bank manager to call back and he thought they "could probably do it but it would still be $45."

Sheesh. In the meantime,apt lady and I had been emailing and that's when she said just pay on arrival.

I'm stunned by the ignorance of the bank. Not a small city, here. You'd think they'd be more familiar with this. Irritating.
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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I hear you, soogies. I've banked over the years at 3 different banks here in the DC area (hardly a backwater), and nobody knows nothin' at any of them. We finally opened up an account t the World Bank Credit Union, where....guess what?...they have a really good answer to all our questions (not to mention the best currency exchange/international draft/wire transfer rates imaginable).
StCirq is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 02:21 PM
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Hmmm, St Cirq is World Bank Credit Union just in the DC area?

I'd been wondering if we should look for another bank for something like this and keep an account there.
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Soogies, I'm sure they are all over the world, but you have to be an employee, a vendor, a consultant, or related to one of those.
StCirq is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 02:43 PM
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Oh, well, that counts us out.

But at least I don't feel so bad that even in DC someone is having this same trouble.
soogies is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 03:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 29
I have no problem with sending a deposit.
I absolutely think that is appropriate and reasonable.
It was the idea of sending cash or a check that was a red flag to me.
Mostly, because when I began the search I had read posts instructing renters to never send cash or checks.
I appreciate all your input and it really does boil down to one's comfort level with the risk.
I will discuss (via email) with the "landlord" and see if we can come to a mutual agreement.
thanks again.
4annmarie is offline  
Apr 25th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Have you rented apartments before Annmarie ? If this is your first time, then I can understand your trepidation when asked for cash or check. When I first did it ten years ago, I don't think there was Paypal and a check seemed natural. It does take trust, on both sides.
soogies is offline  

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