Garmaine Staff asked 2 years ago

I am planning to rent an apartment for a year in Cambridge, UK. We liked a property, but the owner wants to rent it through booking.com, and he is physically located in Switzerland. He sent us the following email.

Hi ****,

I am sure you are aware of the current virus pandemic spread worldwide; all doctors here in Switzerland are now the 1st line of defense in the race to control the spread of the virus. Since I'm working over 16 hours/day to help my colleagues to fight this pandemic and as well it's not recommended to get a flight these days, a viewing before completing the transaction through Booking.com would not be possible.

Also a video tour of the property is available if you would like to check it out: URL Allow me to explain the Booking.com process step by step.

  • Upon your request, I will list the property online on Booking.com for GBP 1,100 / month with all the bills included.

  • I will send you the booking invitation through the Booking.com system so you will have 24 hours to confirm it or the invitation will expire.

  • Once you receive the booking invitation from Booking.com, you will have to choose your check-in date ( this would be the date that you would prefer to move in ) & staying period ( minimum one month and maximum five years )

  • After registration, you will have to pay £ 2,200 to Booking.com to get your reservation confirmed. The payment of £ 2,200 would be used as a 1 (one) month of rent + 1 (one) month security deposit. You can use it as the last month of rent or take it back at the end of your stay.

  • Booking.com will automatically provide the tenancy agreement. Booking.com's policy allows maximum 1-month bookings, but choosing a more extended period will enable you to have the contract for it and receive the invoice each month during the selected period.

  • Your deposit will be held by Booking.com in their system until your check-in, after which will be put in a DPS as per law.

  • After Booking.com confirms your payment of £ 2,200 Keycafe ( https://keycafe.com ) will provide you the location of the keys since it is their main partner in these transactions. If you don't like the property for any reason, Booking will refund your money on the same day. If, after the viewing, you decide to rent it, you will have to sign the tenancy agreement and forward it to me by fax or email.

    Let me know when would be the best time for you to list the property online on Booking.com and forward you the listing.

Is this a genuine method to rent properties in a different country through booking.com, or is it part of an elaborate scam?