2012 Olympic London lettings market comes unstuck as tenants stay away

Hopes of private lettings creating Olympics gold appear to have failed to get off the starting blocks.

Undeterred, landlords are still piling into agents, hoping for a quick buck and lured by the prospect of premium rents advertised on agents’ websites.

But according to one Foxtons agent in north London: “We physically can’t get out to see all these properties because of the number of inquiries coming through from potential landlords.”

While there are exceptions – Knight Frank is reporting inquiries from companies wanting to short-term rent whole blocks this summer – London agents are reporting more landlords than tenants and a huge number of unlet Olympic properties.

There is also the minor problem that prospective tenants for the Games do not have unlimited budgets.

Unsurprisingly, most seem to want the cheapest possible accommodation – and do not want to pay the six-times normal rent being hyped.

Some of the expensive rentals can be found on Zoopla's special Olympics section. These include a six-bed flat in Knightsbridge for £80,000 a week and a nine-bed apartment in Blackheath, two minutes from where the horse action will be, for £17,500 a week – which must make the local bed and breakfasts look like bargains.


Joanna Doniger, who runs sporting events accommodation companies Tennis London and Accommodate London, says agents have also been greedy.

She says: “We charge 15% of the rent to let a property for the Olympics, exactly the same as for Wimbledon, but some of the big London agents are charging getting on for double that.”

Foxtons charges 26% commission for any let of less than six months, Hamptons 25% for an Olympics let (compared to 20% for non-Olympics short lets), Keatons 22% and Winkworth 20%.

We always did think it might end in tears.