Friday, May 31, 2013

Barcelona Apartment Rentals

There are very good reasons why it took me so long to finally rent an apartment in Barcelona.  The thought of it still makes me sigh because it was like pulling teeth.  The exception might be ultra high end places ie villas where you are dealing with foreign owners.  But if you are trying to rent from locals, be prepared:

  • To be asked for your passport number
  • To have to wire money for the deposit.  An amazing amount of people do not use PayPal
  • To be asked for a damage deposit even for a basic apartment
  • To not be emailed a contract in advance to sign
  • To find out upon arrival the money you were paying towards cleaning did not actually include full final cleaning...
  • To not have any communication re: location of the apartment or contact number should you be running late
  • To have to feel like you are trying to pull teeth to get what ought to be basic information
  • To be asked for your credit card over email
  • To not have total sound proofing, even in a new build
  • To not be able to rent the apartment you saw pictures of
  • To not know when check in and check out times are
  • To read time and time again, reviews that are in stark contrast to the pictures, even on the nicest of rental sites

It was not all difficult.  On the flip side:

  • I didn't have any issues with timers on the hot water heater as I've had previously in France
  • Windows have electric external metal blinds that shield from the strong sun as well as provide a dark sleeping environment
  • The design of the apartments are very ingenious.  My terrace was very private considering it was in an inner courtyard
  • Didn't have any issues with drinking tap water contrary to what you will read  
  • Very usable kitchen, smart appliances
  • Got a washer and dryer -- Dryers are rare in Europe
  • Loved how large shiny rectangular porcelain (?) tiles are used for flooring
  • Good water pressure
  • Very well lit
  • Good security
  • AC!  A must for Barcelona 
  • Friendly neighbours
  • Owners were very keen to rent to you
  • My apartment rep did allow me to walk him through the Paypal route when I refused to pay my deposit via bank transfer

Now that I have an "in", it will be easier next time as I'm definitely going to return in the future.  I felt giddy en route from the airport to Placa de Catalunya.  Considering just how little time I've spent in the city in the past (3 days), it even surprised me just how much it continues to capture my heart. 

Before I arrived, I wasn't sure as I had taken more risk with my private info than I've ever had with a stranger.  Hotels in Europe will ask for your passport but never a rental until now.  It was a difficult decision as I'm very protective of my passport.  I remember thinking, if they stop me at Schipol passport control because I apparently shouldn't be there, that would suck but I'll deal with it then.

Their explanation for needing your pp number was because the police apparently needed a copy of the rental document.  When no rental document was ever can understand what would have been going through my head.  Documents were finally signed at check in and I did get an official copy.

What a contrast to our previous experiences where we were emailed a contract to sign, receipts given for the deposit, confirmation of rental to bring to check in, requests for flight information to coordinate meeting times, maps & neighbourhood info given in advance, booklet at the apartment detailing how appliances work etc. etc.

Just a different way of doing things.  I'd recommend staying in a hotel first.  Then decide if it is worth it to you to wade into their rental market.

No comments:

Post a Comment