Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Please! Need advice: nervous about apartment in Paris

Please! Need advice: nervous about apartment in Paris

Old Jun 17th, 2009, 12:16 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 45
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please! Need advice: nervous about apartment in Paris

Hello everyone,
Please help me get a sense of perspective! I'm a nervous wreck! Months ago, I put a 500E deposit on an apartment through perfectplaces.com (which is like vrbo in that the landlord is strictly responsible for the listing) to reserve it for 5 weeks, June 29 to August 4, so my daughter and I could study at the Sorbonne. The owner seemed very nice on the phone and spoke perfect English, and the apartment was not exactly what I had wanted (because it's on a busier street than I wanted and it doesn't have a lot of coziness), but it was nice, had enough space (370 sq.m.) and said "full kitchen" and I was so, so tired of going back and forth with various other agencies and landlords. I didn't actually see a stove in the picture, but there was a teakettle on the counter, and the kitchen pictures were incomplete, so I just thought it had to be there somewhere. After all, it said "dishwasher," and "refrigerator" and "full kitchen"! So today I finally asked the owner directly, and there's no stove. It also said "covered parking" in the ad, and I asked about that. It turns out it's five minutes away on rue soufflot, so it's probably just something you have to pay for. Now as I reflect on the two previous tenants she referred me to per email, both had aol accounts (as the landlord does) and they both responded to me overnight, which I find unusual for people who have no close connection to the landlord. And the last thing is, I asked what the possibilities were for paying the remainder of the rent, and she said Paypal or cash. That seems unusual to me because I know there's a fee for Paypal and every other landlord tries to avoid it. Can somebody help me figure out what's going on here? I feel very uneasy about it! Is this just miscommunication and misinterpretation, or does this sound like a scam? We are leaving in a little over a week! I'm panicking! How can I fix this??? I can't sleep!
I don't want to identify the landlord or apartment because I'm just not sure what to think yet... I feel totally stupid, too, to be finding this out last minute.
Suzible7 is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 12:50 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lots of landlords take Paypal nowadays, based on the reviews I have read. It's a convenience to the renter, but perhaps even to themselves, as not everyone wants to walk around with lots of cash. The question is whether Paypal offers you any protection.

It does seem the landlord is not exactly forthcoming about shortcomings, which is not a unique characteristic. Have you looked for any reviews online for this apartment?

Yes, it's possible the two renters are fake too. Have you Googled them? Do they have the same language proficiency as the landlord?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 02:58 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 628
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Does the owner have "Verified" status with PayPal? It's difficult to scam through PayPal. Ebay owns PayPal and they're very aggressive when it comes to fraud. The fee for PayPal is no different than any credit card fee. It's the cost of doing business and such fees protect both parties. You should consider PayPal a mark of extra security. You can contact PayPal and ask about the owner's email address.

Most scams request full payment or half payment in advance and include wire transfers. Scams involving less than $1000 aren't worth the trouble.

"I was so, so tired of going back and forth with various other agencies and landlords."

Not to beat you up further but apartment rentals are not a regulated business. One must remain diligent, especially for a five week rental.

Without revealing the actual listing, it's impossible to judge the wording of the ad. Many apartments in Europe have no stove and, quite often, "hot plate" is listed somewhere in the ad. "Full kitchen" can often mean that enough supplies are provided to eat in.

Sounds to me like anxiety is getting the best of you. Had you mentioned Western Union and/or Craigslist, I'd be much more suspicious. As long as you don't have to supply the balance until you arrive, the worst that could happen is that you are dissatisfied with the place and you may lose your 500 Euro deposit if you decide to stay elsewhere. Whenever you rent an apartment in Europe, it's always good to have a Plan B, just in case.

Business is down so no matter what happens, it should be fairly easy to find new accommodation if you absolutely must do that. Yes, it'll cost you extra but one must be able to afford flexibility when renting abroad.

Take responsibility for the way you handled this transaction and think positively, until you're proven wrong.
NYCTS is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 03:58 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I tend to agree with NYCTS. I just went through the maze of looking for an apartment, and I understand how confusing this can be. The fact that you do not pay the balance until arrival is a very good sign. Many I corresonded with wanted the entire amount paid by 2 weeks in advance. This scared me. I found a place where I paid 1/2 in deposit and the remainder upon arrival. This I was comfortable with. Paypal is not, in my opinion, a red flag. It's convenient on both sides and protects your financial info. I paid my deposit through Paypal.

I wouldn't be shy about asking questions so you know exactly what to expect. Frequent correspondence with owners builds a bond and will reassure you. I know you only have a week.

As someone said earlier, have a plan B in mind if you are unhappy upon arrival.

Good luck. Sounds like a wonderful experience for you and your daughter. Five weeks in Paris...!
FancyNancyPittsburgh is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 07:01 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,611
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Paypal isn't unusual. When I rented from vacationinparis.com, PayPal was an option although I just mailed them a personal check to pay the $300. deposit and also to pay the balance of the apartment two months before I was to arrive to it. So, by the time I'd left home, the apartment was paid for.

For spring 2010, I've already sent an apartment owner a personal check for $250. to hold the apartment. We had been e-mailing each other, for a couple of months before I sent the $250. check. I had the questions I needed answered answered before sending the check. Plus, I did some research and googled the owner's name and was quite satisfied with what I found.

The apartment had no reviews as it is a recent 2009 listing. But, I felt confident about it so went for it. Plus, it's on the street I've stayed on for 19 years and where I want to be, so I found it to be the perfect apartment and location for my personal situation. So, I figured I'd better jump on it.

A few days ago, I checked, out of curiosity, to see if there were any reviews yet and now there is one and it is a 5-star review. So, that might be the first person who's stayed at that apartment. The owner is from here and lives and works here in the States and there's a U.S. contact number.

As for the rest of the payment, I'll send a personal check for $750., two months before I arrive and $1,000 a month before I arrive. $500. of it all will be the deposit. Then the keys will be mailed out to me. The apartment will be paid for before I arrive which I personally prefer, as I don't want to have to deal with the money situation upon arrival. I also prefer dealing with owners/companies where I can pay in dollars and not worry about exchange rate fluctuation as I have no idea where the dollar will be in spring 2010. I do know that the $1500. I'm paying for the apartment is $1500. no matter when. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:21 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't see any reason to panic at all. Paypal is perfectly normal. So is not having a stove but rather a hotplate or toaster oven or any number of small appliances. French apartment kitchens are small. You can't expect a parking space right outside your door - it's a big city - a block or two away is normal. If you're concerned about parking costs, ASK him. And why would you be parking a car for 5 weeks in Paris anyway?

Sorry, I don't see any of this as unusual at all.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 10:19 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 45
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dear WillTravel, NYCTS, FancyNancy, Guenmai, and StCirq,
Thanks so much for your replies. I went to bed last night hoping someone would shine a light on my situation, and you did! I am clearly getting the last minute jitters. Being able to pay with Paypal and not cash was one of my fondest dreams three months ago, so I'm not sure why even that has made me nervous!!! Yikes! Also, the landlady just emailed me to say that she had confused the words for stove and oven and that of course there is a stove. ;-) I am so relieved...
In the future I am sure I will not be so crazy nervous about doing this and I will be able to plan ahead better, too... Thank you, thank you for sharing your perspective with me and your experience. Without this outlet I could have easily worked myself into a frenzy and canceled the trip! I am just going to try to chill now and start looking forward to this incredible opportunity!
Suzible7 is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 04:29 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,611
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The best to you and just take a deep breath, get a lot of sleep, and have a great trip! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 05:48 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yay! Take a deep breath and enjoy your trip.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 06:00 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,465
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Oh - I'm glad you got that straightened out! I was going to suggest there is probably a cook top and no oven and that is what turns out . . .

The parking bit floored me to be honest - I've never stayed in a Paris apartment that did have parking. So to have it w/ a 5 minute walk would be a luxury.

As for the paying the balance - the majority of places I've rented in Paris and the UK required final full payment 4-6 weeks prior to arrival.

Have a great trip --- and relax
janisj is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
nicolos1
South America
6
Oct 11th, 2014 11:22 AM
mwiars
Europe
99
Dec 10th, 2011 11:47 AM
ClaireSF
Europe
11
Sep 12th, 2006 09:41 AM
chuck249
Europe
27
Sep 7th, 2006 08:36 AM
Badgerb03
Europe
9
Oct 13th, 2003 02:09 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:39 AM.