At this time of year a surprising number of people who had been planning to stay home for the festive season will suddenly decide to go away after all – and frantically start scouring online and classified advertisements for last-minute holiday rental deals.
Greg Harris, CEO of Chas Everitt Property Rentals, warns that to decrease the risk of disappointment, consumers need to slow down and consider carefullky who they do business with in these situations.
“Avoid being pressured into a decision and be very careful who you do business with,” warns Harris. “Crooks and con-artists thrive on desperation and hasty decisions and use all sorts of bait to tempt you into parting with your money and getting nothing in return. “
#1: Whenever possible, deal with a reputable company with a large portfolio of short-term rental properties. You will be able to make a selection, fitting your needs from several options.
#2: Be specific. If you are looking for a waterfront property, insist that the landlord or agent be specific about the distance to the beach or riverbank.
#3: Be wary of hidden costs. Look out for hidden costs such as fees for additional guests, pets, cleaning and even TV-hire or internet access. Harris says that the best approach is to double check all details and have everything on writing (even if just an e-mail). You should also ensure that you have your move-in and move-out dates, payment schedule and landlord or agents contact details on hand.
#4: Know that you are unlikely to get your deposit refunded if your plans change. This is especially unlikely if your booking falls into high season. “If the landlord has reserved the property for you and you suddenly decide not to take it, it is, after all unfair to expect them to lose out on the income they would have made, especially if you don’t give them enough time to let it to someone else,” explains Harris.
#5: Beware of “housemates from hell”. It may sound like fun or a budget plus to share the costs of holiday accommodation with a group of friends or another family, but there’s nothing to test a friendship like a rainy day at the coast with everyone indoors and getting on each other’s nerves. In our experience it is usually better for friends or relatives to rent separate units and meet up on the beach or just spend the occasional visit or outing together.