My paristay rental has turned into an expensive, time-consuming nightmare. Having lost my deposit and now receiving no response from either the landlord or Paristay, I wanted to caution others and find out if anyone else has had a similar experience. Below is an outline of what happened:
I rented an an apartment with Paristay (listed as Apartment Pastourelle) in Paris for about six months in 2013.
Paristay's contract included a deposit of 2,000 euro to be repaid, minus energy and water bills, after vacating the property.
The place was homely and the landlord, Fred, was a cultured and likeable lawyer-turned-businessman who ran Jacenko, a meanswear shop down the road. I quite liked him and would often pop in for a chat on my way to the business school where I was studying. Taking him to be an honest guy, I left a 400 euro coat I bought from him at Jacenko, to pick up at a later date.
However, once I moved out, it quickly unravelled into a nightmare. Fred kept the deposit, despite the apartment having been inspected in good condition when I vacated. Instead, he stopped replying to my emails (which were very polite as I actually liked the guy). Paristay later informed me Fred had stopped replying to their emails as well and was not returning their calls.
I have lost count of the times I have written politely to Fred and to Paristay asking for news over seven months, trying to believe an explanation other than selfish opportunistism on the part of the landlord. Or that Paristay did was not willing, able or even interested in seeing its contracts honoured. Eventually, they said they would take down all his properties from their site. However, checking today I see it is back on their site available for rent. I was shocked to think they would continue to offer the property, knowing the owner has run off with a deposit on at least one occasion.
Paristay initially said they would sort it out, then stopped communicating entirely and to the best of my knowledge, has done nothing.
The fact Fred has my jacket in storage at Jacenko makes it feel much more personal. Money is money and it's easy to see why someone might opportunistically want to take it. But what would motivate someone to take a coat? The only benefits I could think of would be personal use or re-sale at Jacenko. This seems weird but I can't think of any other reason he would take it, and after 7 months of reminders, laziness is no longer a plausible explanation.
So not only does Fred have my money, he has my clothes! I have subsequently learnt of another person, also a student from Australia, who's deposit Fred has kept and gone into hiding about.
BEWARE PARISTAY DEPOSITS - They are large sums with no protection! I have been left in the lurch because the company will not do anything to follow up if the landlord decides he wants to keep the money. The in-site reviews are not reliable because (a) they are mediated by the company; and (b) are based on surveys, sent before the deposit should be repaid.
Please be careful entering these kinds of arrangements and do not leave yourself in the position of trying to fix them when you are back in your home country. If the company does not want to deal with it they will just go silent and you may find yourself telling your story on a site like this one!
**Please share your experiences / advice**
The apartment in question (active at the time of posting) is paristay.com/1641-Furnished-one-bedroom-in-P…