Apartment rental? How to avoid the real estate scam
For years, in the big Spanish cities, a scourge has been known when renting or buying a property: the real estate scam. Indeed, many locals scam foreigners when renting their properties: false owners, hidden debts, defects or hidden defects. In this article you will learn more about the methods to adopt in order to avoid the real estate scam.Renting or buying a property in Spain must be planned in advance and is above all a matter of research: defining a budget, what type of apartment, what type of roommate or even its location. The budget must be defined in a reasonable way; you will not be able to find an all-inclusive apartment with a sea view for 200€ for example.
First of all, it is important to go through a reputable and trustworthy real estate agency or a private individual, but make sure that the person in front of you is honest and will not try to rip you off afterwards. It is also a research work, read reviews, go on forums … Some fraudulent owners will take advantage of the fact that you are a foreigner and that you do not know the Spanish laws related to real estate, so it is important to make sure of its reliability.
When it comes to booking, some people prefer to use the Internet while others prefer to book in person. The Internet solution can be seen as the easy way out; however, it can carry many risks: no consistency between the photos of the apartment and its condition when you arrive or no apartment. Some scammers will also suggest you to proceed to the payment via WesternUnion or MoneyGram using the pretext of being abroad and not being able to get the money back in person, some will even go as far as to ask you to send him the amount in cash: this is to be avoided because you will not have any proof that the owner has received the payment, and you may never get your money back.
Once you have found and reserved your apartment, you will have to sign the rental or purchase a contract with your landlord. This is a crucial step: it is very important to read the contract and all its clauses carefully. Make sure that each clause is not prejudicial to you, and also check that one of them indicates that the owner is obliged to return the deposit if the apartment remains in the same state as on arrival.
You can also make sure that your landlord puts the deposit on a specialized official organization, to guarantee that he will not exploit it before the end of your contract. These organizations vary depending on the region you are in: AVRA management Fianzas de Alquiler for Andalusia, IBAVI for the Balearic Islands, Instituto Canario de la Vivenda for the Canary Islands, INCASOL for Catalonia, Comunidad de Madrid for Madrid and Fianzas Generalitat Valencia for Valencia.
Also ask for an inventory of fixtures with your landlord, even if this is not necessarily usual for the Spanish. Also take pictures of the apartment on arrival, indicating the day and time, so that you have proof and are not left without in case of disputes.
In case of a scam, go to the police station and notify your insurance company and bank if necessary. A government body exists in the Catalan region: La Agencía Catalane Consom. If you have problems with your landlord (deposit…), you can file a “denuncia a consumo ” which will then be studied by agents, in order to know if your landlord is at fault or not. This will surely dissuade him, otherwise, in case of perseverance on his part, you can file a complaint with the police.
You now know the methods to assimilate in order to avoid real estate scams and enjoy your stay in Spain without any problems with your landlord!
Frequently asked questions about real estate in Spain
What is the average amount of a deposit?
In Spain, the deposit is usually equivalent to one month’s rent, but it can be as much as two months for shorter rentals or when renting a furnished property. Bonds that are higher than two months’ rent are often a scam.
What is the average price of rent in Spain?
The average price of a rent in Spain, all areas and regions combined, is 966€, for a surface of 124m2.