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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'