Rental Scams??

ERINM

Registered
Is anyone familiar with any common rental scams?

I am currently looking for a temporary apartment, but I am abroad in the US. Many of the apartment owners state that they require a deposit and or other fees paid to reserve the apartment. I am a little leery and uncomfortable sending money to a complete stranger with no guarantee of anything. Is there any way around this? My thought is that I would much rather rent from an actual owner rather than dealing with an agency...but perhaps agencies are more reliable? Any info is always appreciated. Thanks!
 

lostnation

Registered
I have heard of some scams, such as people reserving through an agency, only to find that the apartments didn't even exist once arriving!

That said, I recently moved here from abroad and did what you are considering with no complications. I was required to pay $370 or so up front via paypal, then handed over a wad of cash in the amount of ~1400 (2 months rent + 1 month deposit) that I reluctantly brought with me when I got to the apartment. I was a bit concerned that something would go wrong and that they could just take my money and run, but everything turned out fine.

I rented through BARTS, so, I feel like they're an agency worthy of an endorsement. They were also relatively responsive, while others never got back to me or took a week to reply:
http://www.barts.com.ar/

Generally speaking, I would personally feel more safe going with an agency than some random person with no accountability at all, but that doesn't mean an agency won't rip you off. I think if you stick to the bigger ones (as recommended in this site's rending in BA article) you should probably be all right.
 

2GuysInPM

Registered
Erinm, I would definately stick to agencies that have been established for some time and come recommended. This forum is a good place to find some recomended ones. Just run a search on the forum threads.

We personally have used Reynolds (http://www.argentinahomes.com/) a few times in the past and never had a problem with them.

One thing I would also recommend; if you are paying a sizeable amount for your deposit in cash (USD$), to write down all the serial numbers of the bills in a sheet of paper and have them sign it during check-in. Then ask for the same notes to be returned to you once your rental is over. There was one story posted here or some other board where the renter got his deposit back in fake US notes. This however, should not be a problem with any of the established reputable agencies. Its more of a safeguard if you rent directly from an apartment owner, or a questionable agency.

Good luck.
 

Zenobia

Registered
The agency I delt with is BA Home Rental (http://www.bahomerental.com). I haven't moved out of the apartment, so I don't know exactly how you get your deposit back, but I can assure you that when I got here, this place existed. They show you pictures of the apartment on the website. I was able to reserve the apartment while I was in the U.S. through Pay Pal.
 

elhombresinnombre

Registered
Zenobia said:
The agency I delt with is BA Home Rental (http://www.bahomerental.com). I haven't moved out of the apartment, so I don't know exactly how you get your deposit back, but I can assure you that when I got here, this place existed. They show you pictures of the apartment on the website. I was able to reserve the apartment while I was in the U.S. through Pay Pal.

Any Brits reading this thread ought to know that if they pay more than GBP100 for goods or services using their UK-issued credit card (NOT Debit Card) then the card company is jointly and severally liable with the supplier if the product is no good or the money disappears. In other words, if you can't get your money back any other way, the card company has to give it back. If you don't like buying things on credit, it is still worthwhile buying with your UK credit card and immediately paying off the balance for the protection it gives.

This is all thanks to some unintended consequences from the 1974 Consumer Credit act. While stuff like the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) has had unintended consequences leading to councils tapping phones and searching dustbins for evidence in civil matters and the Terrorism Act being used to eject an 82-year-old man from a political conference, the 1974 CCA was intended to clamp down on dodgy hire purchase agreements but accidentally ended up protecting consumers from a lot more.

This protection does not extend to your UK debit card. There is a process called "chargeback" which might get you your money back if you paid by UK debit card but this depends entirely on the goodwill of the issuing bank and is not enshrined in UK law.
 

2GuysInPM

Registered
The problem is that most of these rental agencies/apt owners dont accept credit cards. They may go as far as Paypal or even credit card for the reserve, but everything else they want done in cash (to protect themselves and the apt owners against credit card chargebacks).

There are probably some exceptions... It would be great to know if any agencies will accept credit card for the whole process (reserve, deposit, and rental money).
 

CrashRosbe

Registered
Yeah, I think you're right to be wary of sending individuals money. You could use an agency (which are more expensive) for your first week or month and then look for something local when you're here.

I can recommend a couple of smaller companies that are totally legit. The first one we used for our initial place and they work with my boyfriend's company whenever someone is moving to Argentina. It was:
http://www.argentina-host.com



The second we used for our current place and seems to be totally fine too (I also talked to a couple of the other renters when I visited to look at apartments and they were really happy).
http://www.purabuenosaires.com.ar/
 

dsc

Registered
This is the most informative thread I've found about which agencies are reputable.

If anybody has any other good reports about agencies and wants to mention, please do.

Thx
 
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