Rents could top £2,000 a week during Games

In Vancouver, which hosted the 2010 Winter Games, landlords cashed in by forcing out tenants and selling houses

A rush by "unscrupulous" landlords to cash in on the 2012 Olympics will push already spiralling rents even higher as demand for properties grows.

With would-be buyers increasingly finding the bottom rung of the property ladder out of their reach, landlords are preparing to let their properties to people attending the Games for bumper profits. Property experts have warned that existing tenants could be forced out to make way for visitors willing to pay as much as £2,000 a week for an East London flat.

"Unfortunately there are unscrupulous landlords out there and, when there is pressure on the market, it creates opportunity for them," said Samantha Baden, an analyst at housing website findaproperty.com.

Beyond the area around the Olympic site at Stratford, agents in London are already reporting rent increases of around 8 to 10 per cent over the last year. The average rent in the capital is soon expected to reach £1,000 a month, and the average age for a first-time buyer in the capital is 43.

Estate agents say that many people are having to rent as they cannot afford to buy, and that this is forcing prices up. Neil Dawson, a lettings manager at Frank Harris and Company, added that "a lot of people are just staying put, and there aren't many buy-to-lets happening either", further decreasing the number of houses available to those looking to rent.

The expected demand for flats during the Olympics is so great that at least one property listings company has changed its focus towards providing a service for people looking to make a little extra renting out their homes during the Games.

Pure Holiday Homes, which specialises in short-term rentals, has begun an advertising campaign and set up a dedicated section on its website in an effort to tap into this market. Sean Collins, the company's joint CEO, said a lot of his clients are "interested in dipping their toe in the water for something like the Olympics".

He added: "I can also see existing landlords beginning to turn their thoughts towards the Olympics and plan their strategies now, and why shouldn't they? The hotels are putting their prices up by a factor of four or five. We believe that a lot of people will be tempted by the prospect of renting out their homes for a couple of weeks and going on holiday – they can make thousands per week."

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, a retired professor at the University of Toronto and author of three books on the impact of the Olympics, warned that London will face many of the same social ills that other Western cities have seen. She wrote: "In Vancouver [host of last year's Winter Games], the landlords in low-rent accommodation saw dollar signs. They evicted their tenants and sold the buildings for big profits."

Organisers of the London Olympics have been keen to stress that affordable housing will be a key part of the Games' legacy. During major sporting events, exhibitions and festivals, property owners typically raise rates from anywhere between 50 and 200 per cent, according to the property firm HomeAway Holiday-Rentals. "Based on what we saw in the World Cup in South Africa, we are anticipating people in prime spots in London will be able to raise their rates by 200 to 250 per cent," a spokesman said.

Lucian Cook, head of research at the estate agent Savills, warned that landlords will have to "weigh up the costs of finding a tenant after the Olympics [against] the money they make in the rent rise during it".

Around 3.5 million people are living in rented accommodation across the country, and the housing minister, Grant Shapps, is looking to attract more investment in an effort to increase the supply of housing.

Mr Shapps said he wants to end the "unfavourable stamp duty arrangements for bulk property purchases" and indicated that, with 300,000 long-term empty properties in the country, the Government is investing £100m to "tackle the problem".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there