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Homeowners letting their property during Olympics may face £20k fine

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 September 2011

Many East Enders are letting their properties out for the duration of the Games

Many East Enders are letting their properties out for the duration of the Games

Archant

East End homeowners looking to make a quick buck by renting their properties out during the Olympics could face a £20,000 fine.

Tower Hamlets Council is one of a handful of authorities in London which says it may take action against those who do not apply for planning permission before privately renting their property next year.

In a special power only available to London councils, planning chiefs can stipulate that anyone leasing a property for less than 90 days must get consent.

But many are unaware of the guidelines.

Property rental websites dedicated to providing homes for the duration of the Games are full of Tower Hamlets properties.

One site, London Rent My House, had more than 20 homes in Tower Hamlets listed and dozens more were found on website rentduringthegames.

Many homeowners are charging upwards of £1,000 a week for a one-bed flat.

Other boroughs including Islington, Westminster and Camden also warned they might prosecute but Tower Hamlets is likely to be one of the most popular boroughs for lettings as it neighbours the Olympic Park.

A Tower Hamlets spokesperson said: “The Council will and has in the past taken action against unauthorised changes of use of private dwellings into serviced apartments where it is considered that this will lead to a loss of housing of have a negative impact on the amenity of surrounding residents.

“The penalty for breaching an enforcement notice in the magistrates’ courts can be up to £20,000 plus any associated costs.”

Westminster Council justified its stance by saying those in blocks of flats with short-term lets have more fear of crime and complain that tenants temporarily letting properties are less likely to act respectfully.

Despite the warnings, experts say it would time-consuming and tricky for councils to take action.

Planning chiefs would need to consider it practical and worthwhile to serve a warning and would also need to give notice of it coming into force.

In the meantime, the homeowner could appeal which could hold up the process for at least 6 months.

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