Olympic house lettings under starter's orders
As the nation gears up for the Games, Britons plan to turn their homes into cash.
Sunday 07 March 2010
With the Winter Olympics over, the world's gaze turns to London which will host the summer games in two years' time. Concerns over transportation, ticket allocation and security aside, many Londoners – and those outside the capital but near major events – are thinking one thing: how can I make extra cash when the Olympics come? The most obvious answer is to rent out their homes to some of the millions who will be visiting during Olympics fortnight, or take in a lodger.
Any major sporting event demands a variety of accommodation, from holidaymakers to large corporations with clients to schmooze. With Britain hosting the Olympics for the first time since the austerity Games of 1948, the excitement and visitor expectations are building along with the facilities.
Bruce Abbott, who runs Hotel London Olympic Games, a free website, reports a 200 per cent increase in interest over the past month as people look to rent and let. "As soon as we won the Olympic Games, I realised that there would be a requirement for additional accommodation as well as hotels, once the mainstream became full," he says. But how to ensure a successful let while keeping your most valuable asset secure?
Mr Abbott says call in the professionals. "There are always guidelines and rules to be followed. For example, you should have your gas appliances checked and a certificate issued. Experienced letting agents and specialists are the best people to talk you through each stage of the process," he says. Silvia Lawson Johnston from A Place Like Home insists that an agent's reputation and experience are vital. The properties she handles in central London, mostly owner-occupied, are found through word of mouth.
If you want to employ a lettings agent for the Olympics, expect them to take 15 to 20 per cent of the rental income. Agent services should include securing a holding deposit as well as drawing up a formal rental agreement.
Joanna Doniger has been managing short-term property lettings for Wimbledon fortnight for 18 years. She'll be doing the same for 2012, and expects no shortage of demand. Only the competitors stay in the Olympic Village; the entourage – coaches, trainers, medical staff and the like – all need beds and hotels are not always ideal. "Each country is likely to take its own house in London," says Ms Doniger. And even that is the tip of the iceberg. Visitor numbers are expected to be close to 950,000 per day to London during the Olympics.
Prices are as varied as property values themselves. Ms Doniger estimates that a studio flat in Pimlico, central London, will fetch around £1,200 per week, which is about 50 per cent more than the regular rental, whereas she has a three-bedroom family house in Greenwich on the books for £5,000 per week. It's in an ideal location, overlooking the park where the equestrian and pentathlon events are taking place, as well as a short hop to Stratford and the main Olympic Park.
But with events scheduled across London, no area need be excluded. And no type of property; even a spare room shouldn't be overlooked. Says Matt Hutchinson of spareroom.co.uk: "It's one of the simplest ways of using an existing asset to make money, and it provides much needed local quality affordable accommodation without which the Olympics won't function." He adds that the Olympic accommodation isn't only for three weeks. There are plenty of people working in advance to make sure the Games happen in the first place. He predicts a surge in demand for rooms near the main Olympic site, and the various events. What's more, if you take in lodgers in your home you are eligible for the Government's rent-a room scheme which means you can earn £4,250 a year in rental income before having to pay tax.
And the Olympics Games aren't only in London. Manchester, Newcastle, Windsor, Dorset, Wales and Scotland will all be hosting a limited number of events such as football, kayaking, mountain biking and sailing. A private home can offer high-quality accommodation and convenience, particularly for a family, at prices comparable to an upmarket hotel. And not all tourists will want to stay for the entire three weeks. A family on holiday may be stopping off for a week, which gives you the benefit of being around for the remainder of the Games.
Whether using a letting company or not, it is vital to find out what your home insurance covers. For DIYers, take a substantial deposit and draw up a short-term contract. If the booking falls through, don't despair. Joanna Doniger says, "If it's anything like Wimbledon, there will also be those in a last-minute panic."
Olympic gold: 'We can soak up the atmosphere'
Jan Neate and her husband, John, are taking the DIY route, but cautiously. Jan feels their two-bedroom house in Wanstead, east London, 10 minutes to Stratford by train, would suit one or two couples or a small family. "Our house has everything to make a home-from-home for visitors. Pets are welcome, and whoever rents it can even have use of my car," she says.
But for luxuries like these, Jan wants to strike up some sort of relationship first. "It's not necessarily feasible to meet tenants, but I certainly want to build up a level of communication in advance." They plan to charge up to £400 per night and will move in with Jan's mother nearby.
"It also means we can soak up the atmosphere of the Olympics. When the time comes I'll want to be part of it all." The house is advertised on hotels londonolympicgames.co.uk.
Independent Partners: Get fee-free expert mortgage advice and find the right mortgage deal for you.
Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak
The Tardis-style house measures in at just 83 inches wide
- 1 David Sedaris: What I learnt from Fitbit about the world around me
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: 'It's only rape if the victim is conscious'
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony