Housing Specification Blog

Going for Gold as Landlords Cash in on The Games

June 25, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

London is one of the most densely populated cities to host the Olympics in many years. With landlords looking to capitalise on every inch of space they can muster, where does this leave existing tenants? Some of those already dwelling in ‘Olympic hotspots’ are being asked to dig unusually deep during the 17 day event.

Some of the luxury apartments near the Olympic village are rumoured to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 a week during the Games. With agents advertising ‘Olympic Only’ lets, existing occupants are set to feel the squeeze. A limited fortune is only forecast for landlords with properties in prime Olympic locations. Despite popular belief, accommodation prices elsewhere in the capital will largely remain constant.

As soon as London won the Olympic bid, homeowners near the Olympic site looked to cash in on the sub-letting craze. As we hurtle ever closer to the opening ceremony however, property in this area isn’t proving as lucrative as previously expected. Existing tenants are being made to feel the pinch to compensate for the disappointment in subletting.

A selection of tenants that opposed rental increases have been threatened with eviction. This might seem like a profitable solution in the short-term, but landlords not only risk a void once the event finishes, they also make a gamble on the reliability of their future tenants.

Landlords thinking about subletting their properties should have a look at their insurance agreements. Most policies stipulate that a short-term loan should surpass 6 months, no less. Substituting this to allow for a 17 day holiday let will incur an invalidation of the policy. Mortgage agreements should also be consulted as there could be clause included which forbids the residency of paying guests.

The last year or so has seen a proliferation in online sites specialising in Olympic only lets. According to a study carried out by The Guardian, a search on gumtree.co.uk for ‘Olympics and rent’ in London results in around 3,500 private adverts. With agents reporting a surge in Olympic-let queries, it seems that the majority of the capital will be up for rent this summer.

In comparison to previous Olympics, a larger proportion of people actually live close (or within a convenient proximity) to the site in East London. The city is already well equipped with accommodation availability, so the influx of temporary rental options simply exceeds demand.

With some landlords asking three and four times their usual rent, short-sighted greed is to blame for the inflation of letting costs. Landlords should be advised to think carefully about the implications of rental increase on existing tenants. Considered and fair rental increases, which reflect the short period of the Games, will prove most amicable. Reliable tenants are worth their weight in gold, and their dependability will long outlive the Olympic fortnight.

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