Homeowners, renters and landlords have been warned that subletting rooms to visitors during the London Olympics could invalidate insurance policies as well as breaching local regulations.
Although predictions of properties going for as much as eight times normal rent levels during the event have proven optimistic, there's still the potential to make cash by renting rooms or houses to visitors that can't find or afford hotel accommodation.
However, this can have dire consequences for insurance. Homeowners and ordinary renters will likely void their contents insurance cover, meaning they have little comeback if any property is damaged by the guests. The situation could be just as serious for landlords: their buildings cover could be blown by the sublet, even if they were unaware of it happening. They could even find themselves unprotected against any liability issues involving the guests.
Subletting could also create other legal problems. If the regular tenant or homeowner remains in the property and simply lets out a room or rooms, it could be classed as turning the property into a "house in multiple occupation." Unlike ordinary renting, this requires a special license from the local authority.