Pressure is mounting on the Government to allow London’s home-owners to cash in on the 2012 Olympics by renting out rooms or their homes for the duration of the Games to earn some valuable extra cash free of tax.
Home-owners are entitled to tax relief on income up to £4,250 earned from letting rooms in their home - but only qualify if they continue to live in the property for at least part of the period when it is let.
The new suggestion comes following the example of the city authorities in Vancouver, which is hosting the winter Olympics in 2010 and is encouraging its residents to earn money by letting their spare rooms, basements, or whole flats or houses.
The Canadian city is to relax its bylaws during the first three months of 2010 - and will allow anyone to let out space so long as they apply for an £84 business licence and don’t evict long-term tenants in the process.
'The Games are costing enough - and we were promised it would be good for Londoners'
British campaigners are today urging our government to follow suit, saying it would be an excellent way to share the spoils of the Games with the capital’s residents, particularly those in the five Olympic boroughs, who should be able to earn above the present tax limits if they rent out rooms and enjoy a tax break when letting their homes.
“The Olympics is costing the tax payer enough, and we were promised it would be good for Londoners,” says Susie Squire, campaigns manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance. “I think they should have a tax-free bonus for the entire duration of the London Games.
“It is a very good suggestion and will really help people who are struggling in the recession. The tax burden we face is huge and I think they should abandon all the red tape during the Games, so long as they make sure that regulations ensure sitting tenants didn’t get thrown out.”
The Olympics will bring millions of visitors to the capital and while a series of landmark new hotels is being built to cater for them, tourism chiefs privately concede there will still be demand for good-quality rooms near the Olympic village in summer 2012.