Opinion: Film Tax Relief hasn't just helped the film industry – it's also given the prime lettings market a boost

Stephen O'Kane
Premiere Of Disney's 'Beauty And The Beast' - Arrivals
Emma Watson played Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, made in the UK at Shepperton Studios (Source: Getty)

What do Rogue One, Beauty and the Beast and Spectre have in common? They were all filmed in the UK. The country’s Film Tax Relief has been attracting filmmakers and TV producers from across the world for the last decade: since the tax rebates were introduced in 2007, over £1bn has been distributed with the scheme being used more than 1,000 times.

It also helps explain how the UK’s creative industries generate nearly £10m per hour. In fact, UK television and film is one of the best performing sectors of the economy, growing by 16.4 per cent in the three months after the EU referendum.

Even fewer know that the sector’s performance has, in turn, fuelled a growth in London’s lettings market. To maintain privacy and for convenience, producers, directors and actors on longer shoots typically look for short-term accommodation rather than a stay in a hotel.

Properties in central London tend to be very popular, with other areas such as Richmond and Notting Hill also being particular favourites due to their ease of access to Shepperton and Pinewood Studios. And if filming runs into the night, there isn’t the hassle of late-night travel.

We have also seen an increase in the number of high-profile individuals in the entertainment industry making the UK their primary residence. After working here for an extended period, they fall in love with the London lifestyle, which can feel more discreet than, say, Los Angeles.

But what are these creative A-listers looking for? With budgets that can reach £30,000 per week and more, they want the very best in class and quality of finish in the city’s most exclusive addresses, which provide the discretion and security you would expect given their public profile.

Actors and actresses tend to have a more personalised style and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to finding a suitable property. Instead, it is about understanding the individual’s needs and remembering that their private persona is often very different from their public one.

If they are in town filming for a while, they might be bringing their families with them, so it is not uncommon for extra amenities and facilities onsite for staff, including nannies or personal assistants, to be a requirement.

How a property is dressed is crucial, and furnishings need to be immaculate. A landlord looking to attract a high profile renter needs to be incredibly flexible and agreeable to making changes to the property to suit their taste, from providing weekly fresh flowers to changes of furniture. Technology is important, too, so having an integrated house is very appealing.

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Keeping transactions confidential is paramount and the whole process needs to be hassle-free. This could be by ensuring that non-disclosure agreements are in place or requesting that owners are not present for viewings to prevent tourists, paparazzi or fans camping outside the property once he or she moves in.

This last one is probably of the highest importance, as protecting a high-profile renter’s privacy is crucial in the celebrity lettings market.

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