The Olympic Games are coming and it's not just athletes and sports stars who could strike gold. Homeowners who let their property for the 2012 event can expect more than double normal returns as the competition for good nearby accommodation heats up.
Homeowners could generate an average of £4,500 in rent across the 16-day event. Demand should be strong, as the trend away from staying in hotels and towards holiday rentals shows particularly high spikes around the time of global sporting events.
Tim Broughton, of online rental company HomeAway Holiday-Rentals has 500 London properties on his site. "We anticipate demand for London properties to rocket, particularly those close to key Olympic sites that have good transport links to the city's top attractions," he said.
"Weekly income could double from the normal rates but visitors would still be paying less than in similar-standard hotels."
Keep it spotless
Brenda Grant, from Charlton, already has a booking for the Olympics. She has let her second home, a three-bedroom, Grade II-listed mews house in Royal Arsenal, to a German family for £2,000 a week, a mark-up of 147 per cent on the price of the same week in summer next year.
"We received the enquiry in October last year and the family came to stay in the house for a long weekend this May to check out the journey to the Olympic Stadium," says Brenda a former financial controller. The house is a short walk from Woolwich Arsenal DLR station, a 20-minute journey to the Olympic Stadium and close to the equestrian events in Greenwich Park.
Brenda and her husband, Brian, are experienced landlords with properties in Norfolk and London and put their success down to offering spotlessly clean, comfortable, well-equipped homes. They are considering letting their main house for the Games while they visit their daughter in Los Angeles.
Understandably, householders worry about what can happen when they let out their home, Peter Smith of Lakelets says. "The main concern is usually about security but homeowners can choose to make contact with renters and meet them before they move in," he explains."We help by dealing with the letting agreement and insurance cover, we manage all the payments and hand over the keys."
Smith set up Lakelets to arrange rentals around Dorney Lake in Berkshire, site for the Olympic rowing and canoeing events. Nearby tourist attractions include Legoland, Windsor Castle and Eton College. London is less than an hour away by train or car.
Smith adds: "Owners must make an inventory, take pictures and arrange care for pets, make ample space in cupboards and drawers, get rid of clutter and rubbish, and make sure the place is spotless and welcoming. There is work involved. Visitors know that they are staying in "lived-in" accommodation and will not expect a five-star show house but they are paying a decent rent and will expect both the house and garden to be presentable."
Top tips for a perfect little let
* Location: close access or good transport links to the main venue will earn a premium rent.
* Size: the point about rentals is that they offer more space and freedom than a hotel. If you only have a one-bedroom flat to offer you should invest in a good sofa bed and market it as sleeping up to four.
* Facilities and amenities: Everything should be in good order. It is the small things that upset people, like the lack of loo paper or dodgy cutlery and crockery.
* Spotlessness is a must: get the property professionally cleaned and lock away clutter in the attic or shed.
* Price: be realistic. Set competitive rates by checking rival properties. Designer homes attract more rent.
* HomeAway Holiday-Rentals (homeaway.com)
* Lakelets (01753 827034; lakelets. uk.com)
* The London 2012 Olympics will run from July 27 to August 12 and the Paralympics from August 29 to September 9. About 17,000 athletes competing in 26 different sports are expected, with 500,000 extra visitors due to come to London for the event.