The police have issued some helpful hints on how not to get burned when looking for an apartment to rent in Iceland through AirBnB and the like.
The post, made by the Capital Area Police, points out that as tourism to Iceland increases, so too does the number of people looking to rent apartments, especially in Reykjavík. However, not everyone posting on sites such as AirBnB have honest intentions. To avoid getting ripped off, the police offer a number of tips:
– Visit the apartment, or get someone you trust to visit it for you, before you agree to rent the apartment. Never rent an apartment sight-unseen.
– Avoid agreeing to make payments “outside the system”, i.e., in cash. An official record of a payment transaction will help get you compensated if things go awry.
– Be wary of people with suspicious contact e-mails, such as “email@example.com” and the like.
– Try not to send payments to a third country, e.g., if you live in the US, the apartment is in Iceland, and the would-be landlord wants the payment sent to an account in Sweden.
– Do read the comments under an entry. Previous users will very often indicate if they had a good experience at the property or not.
– Never send credit card or debit card information over e-mail.
– As a general rule, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The police add further that they are willing to investigate potential scams. Being able to write in Icelandic is not a requirement when communicating with the police. We would add that if you have been ripped off, do make a comment under their property’s entry in order to warn other would-be victims of the scam.