Will You Rent During the Olympic Games?

iStock_000012577240Small With London, and the world, gearing up for the Olympics this summer, many home owners may be considering moving out for the duration and renting out their space to make a little extra money. UK’s Daily Telegraph reports that prices have been massively inflated – up to 300% on regular rates – to cash in on the influx of athletes, their families and tourists, but these high priced accommodations are failing to capture the expected interest. It appears that pricing more competitively and creating a welcoming space for potential guests can deliver a better return both in confidence the property will be treated well and a satisfaction of providing good accommodation.

Leah Wild – a writer for the Telegraph – signed up her 4-bedroomed semi-detached home in the Elephant and Castle district of London at £3000 per week and within 7 days had rented all three Olympic week. “It was the best £25 I’ve ever invested” Wild said of the fee she spent to advertise it on Rentduringthegames.com one of the many Olympic focused rental sites. She has created a good relationship with the visiting guests, who are coming from Israel, and has been corresponding with them regularly. Owners who rent their properties frequently may not feel the need to know much about their guests, but for peace of mind, particularly if this is a first-time rental, it’s important to have a good feeling about the strangers coming into your home.

Of course the Olympics is bringing in a lot of people seeking accommodation during a short period of time so demand will be high, but any big local event in any city could attract interest in vacation rental accommodation. In a story originally written by Ashley Halligan, a Texas-based rental property management software analyst, she outlined how Austin residents could capitalize on the influx of nearly 300,000 out-of-towners during its biggest festival of the year: SXSW–by renting out their own homes." Halligan makes some good points about setting rates and establishing rules – even a one-off rental needs a lot of thought and commitment as well as a good deal of planning. 

There is the risk of damage as well. Homes do get trashed as this San Fransisco owner experienced when she rented her property with Air BnB so before posting your vacancy on one of the many sites listing Olympic rentals, make sure you have checked your insurance coverage. Phil Schofield of UK-based Schofields Insurance – who specialize in holiday rentals – says,

“Short-term, one–off letting may have its financial attractions, particularly if you have a home that’s conveniently located for events such as: Wimbledon, The Ryder Cup, The Olympics or The Edinburgh Festival.

However, before committing to any rentals the home owner should check with their insurer if ‘sub-letting’ invalidates cover. When ‘sub-letting’ there is a high risk of damage, theft or injury – and specialist insurance cover may be required.

· an owner-occupier main residence household insurance policy may become invalid the moment you rent out your house (or part of it) for commercial reasons – even if that’s only for a week or two as a one-off;

· you will need special cover (including public liability to cover injuries and theft cover) if you plan to rent out your main house for a very short period. Your existing insurance provider may be able to give you specific advice and options relating to your current policy.”

Home owners shouldn’t take chances and risk being uninsured; get everything in writing if your insurer extends cover.

If you’ve experienced renting for a special event and have some advice to share please comment – we’d love to hear how you managed the rental and if it worked for you.