How to avoid getting scammed with apartments?
How to avoid getting scammed with apartments?
Barcelona is a wonderful city to live in. It’s full of incredible architecture, rich culture, and fun people. But it can also be a bit tricky to navigate if you’re not familiar with the area.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?”. If so, then you’re already well on your way to avoiding getting scammed. Scams are everywhere—and they’re getting more sophisticated. The best way to avoid being scammed is to know the red flags. Red flags indicate you should proceed with caution when dealing with someone or some company.
In this article we collected some useful safety tips you can consider while searching for the perfect place to stay in Barcelona.
First and the most important thing is that when the price is too good then you can be 99% sure that apartment is a scam. Do not trust too low prices! Always keep in mind that you are paying extra for wi-fi, heating, neighborhood, type of apartment, etc. If you want to live with very good standards it’s obvious that you need to pay for that and there is no other option. If it is too good to be true, just search for something else, because for sure it’s not true.
This is a tip, especially for students who are coming in winter… Remember that winter in Barcelona is nice and sunny but it can be very cold, so always look for apartments with heating. It can be super cold in Barcelona buildings and you will sleep in your jacket and all your clothes because it’s that cold. It’s better to pay a little bit more and don’t worry about these things. Remember also that not in every apartment, wi-fi is included and bills are also not included most of the time, so always ask about the whole price of renting, with every extra bill. Rent can be 500 euros but then you are paying 150 euros more for bills, wi-fi, etc. so be aware of that.
Don’t sign anything until you’ve seen the apartment with your own eyes and verified that it’s real (even on video call). Ask questions like “How long has this landlord lived in Barcelona?” or “Do these neighbors know him/her?”. Also is always more sure to rent an apartment from locals, not foreigners, because it’s more common for locals to buy and rent out their property than it is for foreigners. If you can’t see the apartment, you want to rent before, do a video call with the landlord, to show you a house, building, and streets. Ask him for the address and look at google maps if the apartment exists and if the building that they showed you is in the same place.
Don’t pay upfront. Unless you’re paying a deposit or the first month’s rent, don’t send any money before you’ve seen the apartment in person. And even then, only do so once your landlord has shown you the keys and permitted you to move in! But first ask them about their ID, house service bill, etc. Of course, the best option is not to pay before moving to a new apartment, but it’s not always possible. But you can try to talk with the landlord about a contract that will assure him/her that you will come and allow you to pay in place, not before.
Get a lawyer involved if you are really scared of scams. Sometimes is better to ask and pay somebody who has experience with that kind of thing and doesn’t lose 1k euro. If possible, have someone who knows Spanish accompany you on your visit to the apartment and help translate any documents that are written in Spanish (or Catalan). If there are any additional fees or charges associated with renting this apartment (e.g., cleaning costs), make sure they’re clearly outlined on paper. Always before signing anything. Also, make sure that all of your questions have been answered before signing anything.
Ask around! Do some research into who owns this property before signing any paperwork. If it’s a company rather than a person, there’s a higher chance they’ll try scamming tenants by making last-minute changes or raising prices after signing. You can also try to ask on Facebook pages about this landlord, apartment, agency, etc. to be sure that this is not a scam.
Never wire money directly to anyone’s account. Always use an escrow service so that both parties can feel safe and secure with their transactions. This is super important because that way there is the possibility to get money back in case of being scammed.
Look at the behavior of the “landlord”. If you are asking about additional videos, answers, etc., and the landlord is getting annoyed very quickly, that should be a red flag for you. Scammers want money fast so they don’t want to waste their time, so it’s better to ask more questions and be sure that something is wrong!! They will also hurry you with paying the rent or deposit. They want your money right away, so they don’t want to wait. If your future landlord is avoiding meeting you and showing your house this is for sure a scam. You need to be sure that the apartment exists, the address is correct, and the building is real, so if you are not in Barcelona yet but you want to rent an apartment first always do videocalls!!
The safest way to find an accommodation is to hire a professional agency. They will help you answer all the questions you might have and can find you an accommodation that meets your demands! A well-known agency with more than 500 accommodations and many years of experiences is Sh Barcelona. It offers properties in a wide range of designs, sizes, and prices. And, last but not least, it has flexible dates. Another good agency is Inedit Barcelona. They’ll do everything within their range to offer you a wonderful Barcelona experience!
What documents they can expect from you?
Scammers may not require documents that normally agencies want while renting. Normally it is:
-statement from a guarantor
-proof of study of employment
If they don’t want these things it is a red flag. If they are asking hurry for ID, credit card, etc. be aware because most likely it’s a scam and they will try to steal your identity.
Remember is super easy to be scammed in Barcelona, that’s why listen to your intuition. Any situation that you find out weird is probably a scam. Always see the apartment with your own eyes. Don’t pay in advance to private people. Always search on google if an apartment like this exists and if it’s not on multiple websites. Be aware of all these things and we are sure that you will find your perfect, cozy spot.
We have also a great opportunity for you, you can join us on our trips and parties with Shaz’s guest list and make Barcelona your second home! Stay tuned for our upcoming events on our website, Instagram and Facebook page, we hope to meet you soon at one of our events.