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Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

Northern California
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Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

I am trying to book a week in Paris and have been doing a lot of research on the well known vacation rental web site (VRBO, aribnb, Homeaway, etc.). I have identified three properties that I like but after corresponding with the different rental agencies (that I guess use VRBO and Homeaway) I have discovered that two different agencies list the same property. One agency tells me that the apartment is rented and the other say it is not. The two agencies are Escalea Apartments and GlamaParis.

Opinions? I am very hesitant. I would hate to arrive in Paris only to have the agency tell me the flat is rented, then be moved to another flat not of our choice.

Thanks

Bedoin, France
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1. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

Have you told the agency that said it was available that another agency with the same apartment told you it is not available? If not, I would. It would be interesting to hear their response.

Either way, if you cannot contact the owner, I would be hesitant to trust the situation.

Montreal
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2. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

I wouldn't risk it. Try to find a reputable agency, as opposed to a listing site.

Neenah, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

I rent DIRECTLY from an the owner.....not an agency.

Montreal
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4. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

I read that it's cheaper to rent direct. Then, in turn, it's important to make sure the owner is reputable.

Val-de-Marne, France
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5. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

You mean that you go to direct-by-owners listing sites and end up finding ads by agencies? Agencies should be banned from listing on these sites in my opinion. I have never encountered that situation but I suppose the Paris market is very different from the rest of France. Like Nevratourist2 I only ever rent from owners and stay clear of agencies. Otherwise go through one of the reputable agencies that people recommend here.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

I think some owners rent directly and list the property with some agencies. At least that is what I found when looking for Rome apartments. The one I rented, I rented through Airb&B (as I preferred their booking policies) but the property was listed through another agency as well as own their own. Price was same everywhere and the calendar for the availability of the apartment was the same at the different sites; once I rented it, it showed up as booked on the other sites it was listed. I also had a chance to communicate directly with the owner prior to formally and finalizing the booking.

I wouldn't book if I couldn't have that sort of the pre-booking communication opportunity with an owner. But, we all have different comfort levels and risk levels.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

MrsFrenchMystique - unfortunately, this has been a trend for a few years on the very reputable HomeAway, VRBO and all the little sites they have swallowed up. On these specific sites, you used to deal directly with the owner - which was the whole idea. Now, this is not always the case.

My companion worked with a well-known legitimate management company that listed on VRBO , HomeAway and their other sites. This is how they operate: a photo and very brief description of "Owner" appears in the one paid listing, but one deals instead with either a manager or an agency - the "Owner" is always "travelling or otherwise unavailable"...

Most management companies and agencies use these sites to sell multiple properties, and many times the property you choose from the one paid listing are already booked or not available, for one reason or another - it is basically a "bait and switch" scheme. Lots of dust has been kicked up about this, mostly from legitimate owners who were outraged at the deception. Single-property owners are paying the same listing fees as these companies who list one property then "direct" you to many others. Despite all this, HomeAway still makes millions.

Currently, the sites I mentioned above feature icons identifying the property as either "Owner" or "Manager" Operated". However, this is not always the case - there are still a lot of misrepresented properties on these sites. Legitimate owners have threatened to pull their listings, file lawsuits, etc, but nothing has changed. HomeAway is a very powerful company - most people don't realize how many companies they have bought up in the last 5 years - and shows no signs of slowing down or changing their ways. Why should they, when they are making a fortune? Cannot speak about other non-HomeAway sites, but I'm sure others will chime in.

Caveat emptor, everybody.

Val-de-Marne, France
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8. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

Interesting Patty. Yes I can see why the small owners would be annoyed at the situation, I would be too as a renter if I were to contact an "owner" and find out they are a professional agency. Luckily rural provincial France has not been contaminated by this type of "business practice" so I have only ever encountered genuine owners in the last 20 years.

To the OP I would follow toutou's and Momcat's advice. It sounds like one of the two agencies may be using this particular flat as the "bait and switch scheme" described by Patty.

New Hampshire
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9. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

It is not uncommon for properties to be listed on more than one, several, online resources. So, many times a double booking is discovered sometime later.

<<One agency tells me that the apartment is rented and the other say it is not.>>

It's also well know that owners/managers/agencies are often quite remiss at keeping their calendars up to date.

If one tells you it's booked, it probably is, or at least had a hold on the dates perhaps waiting for a deposit and/or signed contract. It would not be wise to hope the one telling you it's available is correct without taking steps to verify that.

All in all, however, whenever anything at all seems "weird" during the booking process, it's best to move on.

Anacortes...
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10. Re: Rental Agencies - Weird Situation

Very interesting! I had no idea about this. Thank you for posting, Patty.