For many years, there has been a plague when renting or buying a property in the big cities of Spain: the real estate scam. Many locals blackmail foreigners when renting properties: false owners, hidden debts, malfeasance.
In this article, you will learn more about avoiding real estate scams as much as possible. Renting or buying a property in Spain must be planned. It is, first of all, a research work: determine the budget, the type of apartment, the type of apartment share, and even the location.
The budget must be defined reasonably; for example, you will not find an all-inclusive accommodation sea view at 200 euros.
How do we do that?
First, it is essential to go through a real estate agent or a trustworthy individual, but make sure that the person in front of you is honest and does not want to scam you.
It is also a work of research, reading opinions, going on forums… Some fraudulent owners will benefit from the fact that you are a foreigner and do not understand Spanish laws.
In terms of booking, some people prefer to go online, while others prefer to book in person. An Internet solution can be seen as a simple solution, but it can involve many risks. For example, the apartment photos do not correspond to the state at your arrival, or there is even no apartment.
Identify the scammers
Some crooks will also ask you to pay by Western Union or MoneyGram. They will try to convince you that you cannot withdraw money in person abroad. Some crooks will even ask you to send them cash. This is to be avoided as you will not prove that the owner received the payment. So you may never be reimbursed.
After finding and booking your apartment, you must sign a rental or purchase agreement with the owner.
This step is crucial: it is very important to carefully read the contract and all its clauses. Check that each clause will not harm you. Check if one of the clauses stipulates that if the apartment maintains the same conditions as on arrival, the owner must refund the deposit.
You can also ensure that your landlord pays the deposit to a special official body so that they do not use the deposit until the contract expires. These agencies vary according to your region: AVRA management Fianzas de Alquiler in Andalusia, IBAVI in the Balearic Islands, Instituto Canario de la Vivenda in the Canary Islands, INCASOL in Catalonia, Comunidad de Madrid Madrid and Fianzas Generalitat Valencia in Valencia. Also, ask your landlord for an inventory, even if it is not common for Spaniards.
You can also take a photo of the apartment upon arrival. It is crucial to indicate the date and time to have evidence in case of litigation.
What to do in case of a scam?
In the event of a scam, go to the office and report it to your insurance agencies and bank if necessary.
A body dependent on the government exists in the Catalan region: La Agencía Catalane del Consum. You can use it if you encounter problems with your landlord (surety…), and you will deposit a “denuncia a consumo,” which will then be studied by agents to find out if your landlord is wrong or not. That will undoubtedly deter him. Otherwise, if he perseveres, you can file a complaint with the police.
You now know the methods to assimilate to avoid the best real estate scams and make the most of your stay in Spain without a problem with your owner!