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Wanting to rent a Gite/cottage in France but encountering problems

Wanting to rent a Gite/cottage in France but encountering problems

Jan 15th, 2011, 02:20 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 111
Wanting to rent a Gite/cottage in France but encountering problems

I just thought that I would let people know what problems I am encountering trying to rent 3 Gite's, ( also called cottage ) in France for May this year, so anyone trying to do the same can avoid frustration.
I looked at many websites which showed lots and lots of Gites to rent with their prices and vacancy dates and I contacted them one by one. So far, and in every instance, as soon as they know that I am Australian the prices go up by a considerable amount.
One place which has flying lessons, if you want them, and is in the Limousin region of France quoted me $200 extra for the week above what was on their and their Association's website.
One may brush this off thinking that they had not bothered to update the website but when you notice that there are other dates around the one you want which have been booked then that cannot be the case. I brought the cost difference to the attention of the person who had flying lessons and was promptly told that the dates I wanted were fully booked - she had not realized!!!!!!!!!. Seemed she had forgotten that when she had accepted my booking when I phoned her the day before.
I must add here that these people ARE NOT FRENCH but are ENGLISH owners. Further to this little game are the extortionate added costs i.e. 1/ paying half 4 months before arrival ( not refundable ) and the rest one month before arrival. 2/ not accepting Paypal anymore, when they did previously and website says so, because it costs too much for them 3/paying 300 Euro or Pounds for damage insurance on arrival 4/ in some cases not getting the damage insurance payment back for 3 weeks or so after you leave 5/ cleaning fee at the end of the week which is about $60 or so even if you clean it yourself. Further insisting that you pay by Bank Draft in English Pounds which costs us here at least 10 times the amount compared to Paypal.
The way I found to avoid all the above is by going to the area's Tourism Office sites and booking through them. Priced do not change and you have the added security of having the Tourist Office to do any problem solving - like not getting back your damage security cost. Many of these places have their website in different languages and you can contact them direct by email if they do not have what you want on the website. I have found them very helpful.
I am not a novice at getting accommodation in France as I have been there about 10 times so I do know how things are done.
This attempt to do a rip off leaves a nasty taste in my mouth and I really feel sorry for the French people who are then tainted with this through no fault of their own.
France is a wonderful country to visit and has a wealth of fantastic places to see and things to do so do not be deterred by this but do try booking through a French Agency and should you have a problem with an English landlord with a Gite then contact the website that had the information on and do something about them.
The moral here is "watch those pesky English when in France".
MaryD2 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 02:30 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,509
Your comments #1, 3 & 5 I find to be the norm no matter the nationality of the person renting the property.
We have also rented and had to use a bank draft but more often use credit card or paypal.
Judy is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 02:33 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,319
"1/ paying half 4 months before arrival ( not refundable ) and the rest one month before arrival."

That isn't extortionate -- that is pretty normal procedure.

"2/ not accepting Paypal anymore, when they did previously and website says so, because it costs too much for them "

Many owners do not accept paypal.

"3/paying 300 Euro or Pounds for damage insurance on arrival 4/ in some cases not getting the damage insurance payment back for 3 weeks or so after you leave"

Some owners refund the security immediately but some wait a few weeks. Not that unusual at all.

"5/ cleaning fee at the end of the week which is about $60 or so even if you clean it yourself."

$AUS60 is not steep for a cleaning fee. Some include cleaning in the rent, some tack it on.

I honestly don't see where the ripoffs are. Was the rent actually raised because you are from Oz? That seems unlikely IMO-- but maybe so.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2011, 02:47 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,935
As owner of a house in France that I rented for many years, I don't see anything unusual at all about those fees. I never took Paypal, I always required a substantial security deposit (which sometimes wasn't returned for up to 6 weeks because it took me that long to get things like telephone bills so I could see if renters had abused use of the phone - and plenty did), I always required full payment 45 days in advance of the rental, etc., etc. I didn't charge a separate fee for cleaning, but if renters left the place a mess, I deducted from the security deposit.

All perfectly normal as far as I can tell. Nothing extortionate about it. Those of us who have invested a huge amount of equity and sweat into buying and renting homes in France have to protect ourselves, just as renters do. You have no idea what havoc renters can wreak! Most of mine were just fine, BTW, but I do have a few stories...
StCirq is online now  
Jan 15th, 2011, 04:02 PM
  #5  
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Posts: 111
I thought that there would be plenty of people who think that this is OK and as you all have said this as above I will tell you now that I own an accommodation business - I do NOT expect full payment four months in advance - if anything I ask for a credit card number and would charge the first night's accommodation on that if it was a no show. I have owned about 10 homes which I have rented over the years as well so I do have a good knowledge of what happens with rentals etc.
If your website says that you accept paypal, which incidently costs us Australians 0.05% to pay for something Internationally but a Bank fee costs 100 times that, in my eyes if you want the money honey and the interest on that money for 4 months , you, as the owner of the said accommodation, should have to bear some of the cost of the transaction - particularly if you advertised it that way and you do not accept cc.
None of the places I contacted had a phone so StCirq, usage of that does not apply.
I still own a multi-accommodation place and I can tell what damage, if any, has been done with a quick walk around in under 10 minutes.
The Australian dollar is very strong against the US$, the Pound and the Euro and having been overseas last year 5 times I have found that as soon as people know where you are from the prices skyrocket. Never mind that for years it cost an arm and a leg for a meal and a drink in the UK for Australians because the exchange rate was not as favourable then.
In my opinion, if you want people to pay you money for your services or goods you must supply the easiest method for them to pay you, you too are accountable as the landlord to render a good service just like if you had something to sell - it has to be 100% great or you have to refund on it.
In 30 years I have never had anything stolen other than the odd little bottle of shampoo perhaps, never had my places left in a mess, and I think that a towel rail might have been the only thing broken and it was probably because it was old anyway.
I have found that if you treat people the way you like to be treated and if you supply a good quality item 99.9% will respect you and your property. Most of the time when people leave my places the sheets have been taken off the bed and folded and the bed ready to make up, the towels are stacked and in the bath, crockery has been washed and there is little for me to do.
Finally if the Gites in France that you rent through a French Tourism Office have a different system of rental compared with those rented through an English Website you have to wonder just when some people are going to come screaming into the 21st Century.
By the way StCirq I just thought I would mention that it is through the Office of Tourism in Sarlat that I have had the best service this time and every other time I have been to France. Also think that if you are from St Cirq Lapopie (sp??) I don't have to tell you that you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I am very jealous.
MaryD2 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 04:30 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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"I do NOT expect full payment four months in advance - if anything I ask for a credit card number and would charge the first night's accommodation on that if it was a no show."

All well and good-- but that is not the custom in most parts. A one night penalty for an apartment/cottage would not nearly cover for the lost income from a week's lost rent.

"The Australian dollar is very strong against the US$, the Pound and the Euro and having been overseas last year 5 times I have found that as soon as people know where you are from the prices skyrocket. Never mind that for years it cost an arm and a leg for a meal and a drink in the UK for Australians because the exchange rate was not as favourable then. "

I can't see how one thing relates to the other. But re the prices, IME - rates are listed in € or £ and that is what you pay (unless the owners are in the US or UK etc where they want payment in their home currency). If they quoted you in AUS$ - then they may have upped the rates to cover the cost to exchange currency.

"Finally if the Gites in France that you rent through a French Tourism Office have a different system of rental compared with those rented through an English Website you have to wonder just when some people are going to come screaming into the 21st Century. "

Sorry but I have absolutely no idea what that means.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2011, 08:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,703
Some other comments from an owner/manager.

First of all, it is quite common to ask for a deposit ahead of time, and full payment before you arrive. Cancellation policy should be laid out in your contract. Either you accept this or not - it is possible to get cancellation insurance online if necessary.

We require a damage deposit which is refunded the day our guests leave. This is made easier by the fact that we can now check telephone usage online, which wasn't the case in the past. Also by the fact that most people have cell phones now, and many don't use our phone at all. There should be no reason NOT to refund on the day you leave, although if you are dealing with a manager rather than the owner, they may take time to communicate.

Paypal is an issue. We accept it, but it costs us 4% of the rental. And with the competitive market these days, we can't just add it on to the cost. We absorb it, but many others don't.

Cleaning is another issue. Again, we absorb the cost - that is, build it into the price. But since we have small houses, it isn't a huge cost. For larger properties, with a number of cleaners, it can be. We do find that some people THINK they have left the house clean - and it's certainly not dirty. But I sometimes wonder if they didn't notice when they arrived that there were no water spots on the shower walls, no dust in the corners, etc. Our cleaner always spends several hours even when people have assured me that no one will need to do anything!

Finally, I have to admit that many people who rent properties don't have a very business like approach. We always feel that if people are paying money to us, they deserve a certain standard of service. I suppose it doesn't hurt that in my previous job I did a lot of customer service, and it's just carried on. But we do know lots of people who say 'Oh', it's just for the renters,' and don't worry about having good quality linens, efficient response, etc.

But I do find it hard to believe that people change the pricing depending on the person inquiring. In fact I often have no idea of nationality when dealing with someone by email. So even if I could I wouldn't know how to raise the price for someone from Australia (not that I would. We are in Australia now, having just escaped the edge of the flood ravaged area, ready to get out and enjoy Sydney)
Carlux is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 11:31 PM
  #8  
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Carlux, you obviously know what "marketing" means in this business and of course you do not have the attitude "its just for the renters". Last year we spent a night in a B&B in the Lot where the towels were like something I would use to wash the car with.
Renters pay your bills, renters are who you get your money from and I like to think that I get something for my money as so do all people who rent something - be in for one night or for one month.
janisj - can't help you if you don't understand - perhaps when you have worked in the industry for as long as I have and travelled to about 60 countries, as I have, you may decide to see things from other people's perspectives. Anyway try this: if there are 2 shops, side by side and one has a welcoming attendant, the other does not, if one is grubby and dismal, the other not, if one takes all credit cards, cash, etc ( 20/21st Century style of payment ) and the other only takes Chinese Yuan and you are in the USA which do you think the majority of people would patronise?
Last year in France, owners of rental property were doing it very hard and it won't improve any if the product suffers because of greed.
Of course when I phone France and speak to an owner I introduce myself and tell them where I am speaking from - that is how they know where I am from.
MaryD2 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 12:56 AM
  #9  
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PS: Just in case you think I am being somewhat " racist" in picking on the English B&B and Gite owners , I have stayed at one of the best B&Bs that I have ever been to and stayed in in St Claud, Charante, called Manoir La Betoulle which is owned and run by an English couple. Not only do I think that it is the best B&B anywhere I think that it is run better than anything I have seen anywhere in the World. Its value for money and anyone who wishes to see what is a "class act" should try there first. It is better than a 5 star Hotel and its inclusions are top of the range.
MaryD2 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 01:11 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
You should try renting from Dutch owners - they often charge for bedding and towels too!
We normally expect to pay an extra days rental to cover cleaning when we rent somewhere.
Last year we rented two gites, one from a Dutch couple, one from an English couple. The Dutch couple charged for bedding and towels, and electricity plus cleaning if their end inspection deemed in necessary. This was settled with them when handing back the key. They were perfect hosts, and we had no problem with that. We had paid in full in advance for the cottage.

The English couple included everything in the rental price, which again we paid in full in advance.

In the past we have rented from French owners and have had to pay for everything, gas, electric, water, the lot.

So you cannot lay the blame at the door of the English in France - it varies per owner how they deal with things.

Very often the English (or Dutch or German) owner does not live nearby, and employs someone to manage their property and to clean it so the owner charges a separate cleaning fee to cover that expense, and make their accounting easier.

I have never found an owner who accepts Paypal btw.


I hope you enjoy your holiday in France.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:11 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I am not in St-Cirq-Lapopie, BTW. I don't particularly like St-Cirq-Lapopie and much prefer my *own* St-Cirq.
StCirq is online now  
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