How realistic an idea is it to rent out your Wanstead home for the duration of the Olympics? Letting agent Mike Molloy of Martin&Co on Wanstead High Street answered some of our hypothetical questions.
Wansteadium: Will Wanstead be attractive to potential renters?
Mike Molloy: Hopefully. The hard bit for us is educating people about Wanstead. Even in typical rentals those that find out about Wanstead often are recommended from a friend or work colleague. Wanstead is somewhat of a hidden gem, as highlighted in the double page Metro newspaper spread a couple of months ago. Wanstead is perfect for many people as it is three stops from Stratford yet offers a nicer living environment. Alternatively it’s only six stops from Liverpool Street and 11 stops from Tottenham Court Rd so offers the best of both for tourists.
W: What sorts of properties will be most in demand? And roughly what sorts of weekly rents do you anticipate might be achieved?
M: A lot of the committees and companies weâ€™ve spoken with like the idea of a larger property in order to have multiple staff members in and make things more cost effective. Our head office have suggested we work at 4 x the current rental values. We have tried to base this on real life realistic rents achieved regularly at annual events such as golf opens, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Wimbledon, etc.. I have heard figures far in excess of this and have spoken to people who have been quoted Â£200-Â£300 per night for a double room. There is little chance for comparison still as many hotels and guest houses are holding out for a little longer before declaring their rates but will are keeping on top of this.
W: I rather like the idea of getting out of London during the Olympics – but how long will people want to rent for? Two weeks? A month?
M: A number of spectators will want the property for the specific time in which they have tickets so probably not much before the games start on the 27th July where as the corporates will need properties in advance of the games. Our Weymouth office and Chelsea office have already placed Olympic affiliated people so a month before for a corporate is to be expected.
W: Will renters be happy moving in to what is someone’s house, full of their belongings? If not, how much will I have to clear?
M: Leave whatever you feel comfortable leaving â€“ I suggest removing things of value. Treat it very much like a holiday let like when you rent a cottage somewhere in the countryside for a few days, there should be enough things in the property so that people can get on and live comfortably (ie) crockery, cutlery, beds, bed sheets, towels.
W: And if they do live among all my stuff, how can one be satisfied they won’t wreck it?
M: The best way to ensure this is with an inventory â€“ done professionally by an independent company. Martin & co Wanstead can arrange this for you and let you have a copy also. Without an inventory you donâ€™t have a leg to stand on when it comes to disputes and even doing one yourself now makes it more difficult. Remember itâ€™s not the tenant’s responsibility to prove they didnâ€™t do it, itâ€™s the landlord’s responsibility to prove the tenant did do it! A deposit should always be taken up front and this should act as security and deter any negligence on the behalf of the tenants. Ultimately there is always risk with leaving belongings and if you leave the property with many valuable pieces that could get damaged then this wouldnâ€™t really be fair to the tenant as they want to relax if theyâ€™re paying big money and donâ€™t want to have to constantly worry about damaging or knocking something in every room.
W: Is there likely to be a market for rooms in houses rather than entire houses? (B&Bs!)
M: I would think so. We have a number of homeowners in the area who have decide to rent out their loft conversions as it’s pretty much self-contained in the sense that it has a bedroom and en suite bathroom. This is a good way for homeowners to keep an eye on their property and also to make some extra cash even if they are not in a situation to completely up and leave the property for a number of weeks.
W: When is the best time to get this arranged? Might rents go up closer to the games?
M: I would say itâ€™s almost certain that rents will go up closer to the games, like anything itâ€™s a matter of timing and the later its left and the more desperate people become then the higher rent people are often prepared to pay. Look at the premier league football transfer windows which create such a fuss. Clubs hold out to the very last moments in order to get their business done and holding out for the very top price. Now my suggestion would be that if you can locate a good tenant, for a good duration at a good price then take it and tie it up. There is no point hanging around or hoping for something, at least by tying it up it will allow you to plan for next year and make your own arrangements.
W: If we do decide to rent, what are the legal or health and safety requirements?
M: In the same way as a normal let. safety of tenants is paramount. Have a gas safety certificate in place, proof that the property is electrically safe and an EPC. Also ensure that any furniture left complies with the fixtures and furnishings regulations – anything padded or upholstered, and mattresses, etc should have a fire safety label. Speak to your mortgage company and insurance company. Understand that this is your principal place of residents â€“ understand the risks involved and speak with your agent.
Thanks to Mike Molloy of Martin&Co.. Anyone who has already arranged an Olympic let or has other thoughts about it is welcome to contact Wansteadium’s resident property blogger George C Parker – email@example.com