Renting Apartments

Jul 25th, 2007, 06:09 AM
  #1  
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Renting Apartments

My husband and I are trying to rent an apartment in Florence, but are nervous to pay a 30% booking deposit through paypal. Does paying this before we get there sound reasonable? Is there a way to check if this guy's apartment is legit?
GillsinEurope is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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why do you think paying a deposit might not be reasonable? Heck, some apartments require 100% payment before arrival . . . . .

How did you find the apartment in the first place - is there something that seems shady about the owner/apartment?

If you provide a link someone may know the area or even the apartment.

(BTW - a more deatiled title would help since "Renting Apartments" could be asking about anywhere in Europe)
janisj is online now  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:14 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the helpful information. I found the apartment on Craigslist which is always a little scary because anyone can post on there. The link to the apartment homepage is: http://www.viadelleterme.it
If anyone has ever stayed there I would greatly appreciate a reference! Thanks again for the tips. Clearly, I am new to Fodors.
GillsinEurope is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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OK -I do not know the flat at all - but it is a very nice and detailed website. Nothing about it would give me any pause.

the terms an conditions are pretty normal . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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oh - also, I don't usually bother for apartments/villas, but have you checked tripadvisor?
janisj is online now  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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I would rent from an agency where I found good reviews such as on Fodors or Slowtrav.com
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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You may want to consider going through a rental agency, or an apartment owner with a lot of legitimate feedback.

Not sure I'd send 30% to someone I found thru craigslist in another country, without any backup references.

There are many apts in Florence mentioned on this board, and also try the reviews on slowtrav:

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/list.asp?r=Florence

Asking for 30% deposit is fair, and standard practice, though.
LAwoman is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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did you look at the web site? Just because he found it on craigslist doesn't mean anything one way or the other. That is just like a classified ad in a local newspaper or the Penny Saver. Not a good thing or a bad thing - just a way the owner has decided to do out reach. You aren't booking through Craigslist.

(just like VRBO or Homelidays)
janisj is online now  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Yes, Janis, it looks very legit and certainly better than your typical private listing that's only on craigslist.
LAwoman is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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It's is normal to need somthing down! (otherwise, it will coas them oney to hold those dates for you)

I don't think you should worry about it at all...I own a vacation home...and I advertise on craigslist all the time...as well as the "big" listing sites.

If you are worried, you should call your credit card company and ask their policies - usually cc transactions (via paypal or not) are the sasfest way to go - the companies will let you disput and not pay for any charges if there is a problem. I'd be worried if they told you to send cash in the mail too a PO box but not by credit card...they get charged a serevice fee to do so and are doing it so that their guests can feel secure in their payment(and I think that you can purchase a paypal protection plan too)

so..that said...ask for referals! I have never met another vacation home owner who was not willing to give references, so I think that might make you feel better.

also...check the reviews on sites like SlowTrav and TripAdvisor - you may just find it

p.s. I take a 250(refundable) damage/security deposit to take a booking...and I require full payment two weeks prior to a stay - so I doon't think 30% is unusual ;-)
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Ok well what if the owner says that I have to pay through bank wire because he got ripped off in the past from paypal? And he said he can't give me references because of people's privacy? The price is fantastic so if it is legit, I really want to rent it out, but I've never done this before. Thanks again for all the help.
GillsinEurope is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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He gives a landline and not a mobile number, which is good. But the number he gives is in the province of Perugia and not in Florence. Also, it's not a listed number. OK, so he's a very private kind of person.

For what he's offering, the price is very, very low.

I'd probably phone the number and ask a few questions, including who will let you in if he's somewhere off in Umbria.
Zerlina is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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seems strange that he would not be willing to provide references?
ramekin4 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Is the owner American or European? I ask because Europeans seem to LOVE wire transfers...and Americans tend to be REALLY scared of them Also...while PayPal in the US is fairly good...it is a whole different animal in europe...so it could really be the case. I wouldn't write it off yet....not odd at all that he owns his vacaiton home in a different town than where he lives Also, perhaps if the place is so very reasonably priced, he does not want to pay the big PayPal processing fees - they are quite high for international transactions...over 7% I think...so youo could try to offer to pay his fees and see what he says (since you will probably have to pay some sort of fee to your bank anyway for a wire)
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Sometimes sending a bank wire is a nightmare.

It is perfectly safe. But I did this once and it cost $50 for the wire. Then, the owner said she did not receive it and it costs me $60 to trace it. And they had received it.

So consider that cost on top of the rental if you have to resort to a bank wire.
Sher is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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p.s. we stayed once on Borgo S Apostoli and it was a great location.

Good luck
Sher is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Some real red flags here...problems with paypal, no references...it might very well work out OK, but if not?? There might be a reason price is so low.
LAwoman is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I rented a villa in Torrox Spain off a reputable website but directly through the homeowner. I asked for references. Several times. He couldn't/wouldn't provide them for "privacy reasons". Finally, he supplied the name of one person in Ireland whom I contacted. She said the place was all right. It wasn't. It was a dump and was packed to the rafters with his mother's "old lady" mismatched towels, tablecloths, ugly plastic kitchenware, etc., since she'd lived there after retiring to join him from England; was furnished in rummage sale furniture; didn't have the promised heat; was located on top of a main road frequented by motos and construction trucks with nonexistent mufflers. If he can't come up with references, there's probably a reason.
gailw is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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no references would bother me...only explanation would maybe be that he has none yet...if it's a new rental, then it would also make sense why the prices are low; I think I would push for a reference...if someone had a nice stay, why would they mind providing a reference?
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 11:30 AM
  #20  
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AHHH...half you guys say it will probably be fine and half of you say it could be a real scam or a real dump. I would rather end up with a dump then end up losing a 30% deposit and no place to stay when we arrive to Florence. I emailed him again and we'll see what he says next.
GillsinEurope is offline  

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