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Requesting cash for VRBO apartment

My wife and I are making our 2nd visit to Paris in the middle of October. We are renting an apartment thru VRBO (with very good reviews) for 7 days The owner of the apartment is requiring that the balance, of the rent/deposit ($750), be made in euros. Is this a common practice. The last apartment that we rented, in Paris, was also thru VRBO. And all payments were made to VRBO without any problems. Thanks for any guidance.

Posted by
621 posts

Cash or a bank transfer?

I've had a mix of requests. Some really on the full functionality of the website. Others prefer to do everything offline. Bank transfers are expensive, but I've done them for 2 places I really wanted.

I paid one place in cash but that was a return stay and we were all very chill about it.

Posted by
11480 posts

We have paid cash on the spot to several places in Italy, enough to call it a common request. I do require a receipt as I want to know it is not under-the-table income.

Posted by
8215 posts

It is under the table income for the most part regardless of whether a receipt is required which is why they do business that way. It is advantageous for the renter of course because you at least see the apartment before handing over the balance of cash. I have rented several times including in Russia where the entire rent was paid in cash. I prefer that to sending it all before I even see the place.

Posted by
9436 posts

I've rented two apts in Paris through an agency that required 1/2 by bank transfer when I booked and the other half in cash Euros when we got to the apt. A third one I rented in Paris from a different agency and they required the full amount in cash when we arrived at the apt. It's quite common to pay this way.

Posted by
509 posts

We also were asked to pay the balance in cash upon checking into a VRBO apartment in Paris last year. It seemed suspicious, but all went well. And as mentioned above, it provided an opportunity to see the place before paying. I believe the agent gave us a receipt.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone. I do feel better about the transaction. And the owner, of the apartment, has been great at responding to all my emails. We are looking forward to our 30th anniversary and the magic that is Paris.

Posted by
3521 posts

As long as this payment is to be made in person after arrival, I have no problem with it. If they are asking for the money now, before arrival, I would be very suspicious.

Posted by
1540 posts

I was almost ripped off. Was asked for cash payment prior to even seeing the property. Used VRBO - after doing foreign $$ transfer, I found out the property did not even exist - VRBO does not vett their listing.
Fortunately I able to get the money back - it was sitting in FOREX awaiting conversion to Euros.......I was very lucky.
I would never send any money ahead of time.

Posted by
9436 posts

Frances, this is why I wouldn't rent from VRBO unless a friend recommended the apt and owner. I've only rented through reputable agencies. Even to an agency I'd never pay the full amount up front. Wouldn't with a hotel either unless it's refundable.

Posted by
3 posts

I would not stay at a place where the renter would ask me to pay that much money in cash. If the entire bill can't be paid in cash with a credit card, I'm not staying there. However, most renters will have to collect tax upon arrival. We had to pay our host in Rome 60 euros to cover the tax for our stay, the rest was paid with my Visa. I would not feel comfortable carrying hundreds of euros around. If the money is lost of stolen, you're out of luck.

Posted by
266 posts

I have paid multiple times in cash upon arrival. It is tedious, because you have to estimate how much to get out of an ATM, usually in 400 euro increments, which may take several withdrawals. Also I've paid the security deposit too, which gets returned at the end when you turn in the key. (so don't forget to add that amount in). Twice they didn't bother collecting the security deposit, once they met us and realized we were OK looking. Happy travels!

Posted by
564 posts

I have rented through VRBO in Italy, France, Scotland, England and Hawaii and never had a problem with any of them. In fact, every rental page gave me the opportunity to speak with the owner, I think because it also let the owner "size up" the people would be living in their property. I like paying for rentals with a credit card because you can always dispute the charge if things are not what was promised. In Italy and France I sent the initial payment through Pay Pal on my credit card and in all three cases was asked to pay the balance in Euros upon arrival. While carrying that much money was a bit disconcerting the first time, I went to my local bank (Chase) and purchased enough Euros to cover the rental payment and 200 extra Euros for spending money when I arrived. I carried it all in a money belt from the time I left my home (we have pickpockets here too) until it was time to make the payment. In France where we had two rentals with the same requirement I got enough money from the ATM on several consecutive days before we arrived to cover the second rental. I would NEVER pay the balance in full in Euros in advance, never!! That said, after the first transaction which was in Florence in 2007 I was always comfortable with paying in Euros after seeing the property (inside). I think the request made to you was within the norm and as long as you pay it after inspecting the property you should be OK.

Posted by
1616 posts

I've paid three times in full with cash upon arrival, once in Italy and twice in Germany, and final payment in cash once in France. (everything is so much easier searching and renting in Germany). One of my two rentals in a couple of weeks will also be full payment in cash upon arrival. I research beforehand and have no problem with it, and no problem with carrying the cash. It is also a big risk for the owner that the renter will not show up, especially one from abroad. What they do with my cash is no concern of mine, as long as my accommodations are up to scratch.

Out of interest Frances, if you are still there, how did you find out that your place listed on VRBO did not exist before your payment went through?

Waiting for the reviews of friends before renting any place seems rather odd to me.

Posted by
2916 posts

I've paid the balance in cash/euros on arrival at houses and apartments in France many times, and it was only a problem once when there were no ATMs in the immediate vicinity, but the owner lived next door and said to just pay when we got to an ATM. I have no problem carrying a bunch of cash around for a short time in rural France, and the charges for our gites are usually pretty modest, so it's not a huge sum of money to carry. Now it's usually easier, as we generally rent directly from Gites de France, and pay in full on-line before arrival.