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Paying for Apartment prior to arrival

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Somerville...
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Paying for Apartment prior to arrival

I have booked an apartment in Rome for our upcoming trip. I sent the 10% deposit through PayPal and was told I would need to pay the balance in cash upon arrival. The woman I have been working with then told me that due to a new law, they can't accept more than 1,000 Euro in cash, so I would need to pay the balance via wire transfer 15 days before arrival. When I asked about alternatives, she said I could pay a portion via PayPal, and then the balance (under 1,000 Euros) upon arrival in cash.

I have felt very comfortable with my interactions with her and the apartment gets good reviews (they are all FlipKey, though, which I know is monitored). It does make me a bit worried to have no protection. If I send the full balance via wire transfer and there is no apartment on the other end, it would be bad! I'm pretty sure this is not a scam at all, but figured I would ask if others have had this experience and if you have any advice.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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11. Re: Paying for Apartment prior to arrival

The law applies to all cash transactions, but some categories of business can request to be exempted from the law. To do so, they have to communicate beforehand to the tax agency their intention to grant this exemption to their clients.

The exemption for cash payments over 1000 euros is granted only to certain categories of sellers or providers of services, among which I don't see owners renting apartments to tourists. In the Sole 24 Ore article, it says that people who are both non-EU citizens and resident outside the EU can pay more than €1000 to retail sellers or travel agents, or the like. Footnote 1 goes into a great deal of detail about the types of retail sellers, and also refers to those who fall into the categories exempt from issuing a "fattura" (a type of fiscal receipt). I see in this footnote the following categories of sellers:

Retail sellers in establishments open to the public (hotels and establishments selling food or beverages in public places; persons offering transportation from businesses operating in establishments open to the public); businesses offering tourist packages and services.

The article also refers to people meeting the qualifications of Article 22 of a law, D.P.R. n. 633/1972, which is the category of activities which are exempt from issuing a "fattura", a type of fiscal receipt. I've also read that article of the law, but I don't see any category there, either, which seems to apply to apartment owners renting to tourists.

Even if one of these categories could be construed to apply to the renting of an apartment, the other requirements are so onerous as to make it almost impossible for them to be applied in the situation of the renting of an apartment to a tourist. Once the seller has registered as wishing to take advantage of the exemption to the limit, he or she has to photocopy the passport of the client, get a signed declaration of the client swearing that she or he is resident outside the EU, and "telematically" communicate the transaction to the tax authorities.

I really don't think that if an apartment owner decides not to request this exemption, he can be accused of burying his head in the sand. He's perfectly within his rights to do so.

I've rented apartments in Rome fairly often, and only once did someone collect the tourist tax and issue a fattura. She was the owner of a single apartment that she rented out to tourists, and was perfectly open and above board. I had found the apartment through venere.com, and I assume that they list only people who are in the clear with having their apartments registered with the city, and paying the taxes due on the rentals. Since then, when I need an apartment, I look for them on venere.com or booking.com. Most of the apartments listed there also allow you to pay with a credit card.

As far as paying the full balance in advance, in many cities this is the norm. I was looking for an apartment in London for a family group a few years ago, and all the apartments there required payment in full a certain number of weeks before arrival, usually by wire transfer. I think this may become more common in Rome as well.

St Paul, MN
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12. Re: Paying for Apartment prior to arrival

"As far as paying the full balance in advance, in many cities this is the norm. I was looking for an apartment in London for a family group a few years ago, and all the apartments there required payment in full a certain number of weeks before arrival, usually by wire transfer. I think this may become more common in Rome as well."

I would only pay in advance if I could use a credit card to do so and I would pay no more than 2 months in advance, so that I needed to file a fraud report on the transaction, I could do so.

Italian Landlords should move up to the level of French ones and take Paypal for more of the rentals if indeed the whole cash thing is not a ploy to avoid the tax man.

13. Re: Paying for Apartment prior to arrival

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