JUST 476 days until the Olympics, reads the countdown clock in Trafalgar Square. It heralds the flood of millions of people into the city to watch the games. Preparations are already underway: the Tube is being renovating stadiums are being built and hotels are hiking their prices. If you’re looking at all this and wondering how you might be able to get a lucrative slice of the action, you should look no further than your home. Online letting agencies are falling over themselves to get a cut of the profits that could be made on renting out your spare room, rental property or whole house if you are willing to vacate it for weeks on and around the Olympics. Unsurprising, when research from easyroommate.co.uk shows that the average Olympic landlord is looking to charge a minimum of £399 per week – more than four times the current average UK room rent. In areas close to the Olympic Park, such as Stratford, rooms are going for as much as £600 a week. And these are the current prices. Rates will increase rapidly as the date draws closer. But before you rush headlong into marketing your property, make sure you consider these five things.
1. DON’T DITCH GOOD TENANTS
While there’s a pretty penny to be made with short term lets during the Olympics, it’s not worth missing out on longer term tenants for. Not only is short-term letting a lot of administrative work, but even if it makes you three times the property’s regular income, it might not make up for the lost income before and after the games when the property is vacant. Tony Lam of letting agency LDG also warns: “With short term and holiday lets there is a lot more to consider – remember to take into account additional costs like bills, which short term landlords are responsible for. People will expect a lot for paying over the odds, so you should be prepared to be on call 24 hours a day for management and maintenance issues.”
Getting references is not the norm for short-term tenants, so you have to approach the idea with a degree of confidence in your tenants. That said, you shouldn’t be too trusting. You need to consider whether you need to clear out your belongings, and if you do, where you’re going to store them. For peace of mind, Jonathan Moore, director of Easyroommate.co.uk, advises that you should make sure that there’s a written agreement between you and the tenant.
A big downside to letting out your property is that you have to inform your insurers that your property is being let out. This could increase your premium. If you have lots of expensive items in your home, you might want to consider getting a professional inventory done prior to the let.
You might have already thought through the security, insurance and financial aspects of letting out your home, but don’t forget that there might be legal implications too. Many leasehold agreements do not allow lets of under six months. Local councils also often have limits too. Westminster Council, for instance, will only allow residents to let out their homes for 90 days.
Getting the best price for your room or property depends on how well you market it. We’ve listed some of the best websites in the box below. You need good photos and a detailed description of your property to get people interested. Companies such as Accommodate London can take away this hassle for a small cut of the profits.
OLYMPICS | MARKETING YOUR HOME
Easyroommate.co.uk: Much like a sophisticated Gumtree, this website allows you to find individuals or groups for your spare room or rental property. It’s free to register and advertise but it charges you if you wish to be put in touch with the interested tenants. www.easyroommate.co.uk
Accommodate London: These guys deal in short lets for whole homes and charge 15 per cent gross rent. The advantage of using them is that they market the property for you and can help out if things go wrong. After all, they’ve been in the business 25 years. www.accommodatelondon.com.