THE private rental market has seen an astronomical boom thanks to property portals like Airbnb.
But with the new technology has come opportunities for scam artists to con unsuspecting homeowners and holidaymakers.
“Some scam artists will use photos of real homes and market them as their own,” explains Helle Heredia from Novasol – Northern Europe’s longest running holiday rental company.
“But when the holidaymakers arrive, they knock on the door and find someone else is already there.
“The scammer has obviously marketed a property which is not theirs.”
Other scams are more complex.
“We have even seen people market properties under one identity, then steal people’s credit cards and use them pay for a stay at the same property, pocketing the stolen money, it’s quite clever.
“But this underlines the main problem, the lack of a personal service.”
Companies like Novasol, which began in a basement in Copenhagen some 50 years ago and now operates across 29 European countries, offer the antidote.
“We meet the homeowners, take the photos, do all the marketing, it’s extremely personal,” she explains.
It also creates a budget for every homeowner based on how much they need to earn and how fast.
“Anyone can rent out their home successfully in the summer, you can walk up to a random guy on the street and he could do that for you, we actually plan and work to rent out properties all year around.”
The company also offers cheap contents and damages insurance and will always have a team nearby who can check on the home if something goes wrong.
The company has homeowner insurance included in all rentals covering minor damage, so the homeowner gets payment for any small damages directly into account.
“We care about our clients, there’s a reason our motto is houses with a heart,” explains Helle.
One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to private rental, for homeowners at least, is last minute cancellations.
They can leave you in a tight spot when you had been relying on that income.
Novasol – which has 2,200 properties for rent across Spain – seeks to avoid that headache by guaranteeing you will be paid 28 days before your guests arrive.
“It gives them that extra sense of security which can be impossible to find with a typical portal.”
Typically with Airbnb, cancellations can be made as close as two days to the arrival date, leaving many renters high and dry.
And while they have proven popular with scores of holidaymakers, it may also be a reason why many are still preferring to use the tried and tested ways of Novasol.
“Portals like Airbnb have actually helped us,” explains Helle, “they have encouraged more people to rent out their homes, which means more and more people come to us for help, so for us it has been great.”
Novasol, which has properties around the entire country, including the Balearics, is going on a huge expansion drive over the next few years.
Contact Novasol at www.novasol.com or 0034 868 864 800