Greedy landlords jack up rents in London with an eye on Olympics

The summer Olympics in London has resulted in many greedy landlords raising their rents several times, or asking existing tenants to vacate temporarily during the games, to be held between 27 July and 12 August.

Activists working for the homeless point out that many landlords have started evicting tenants, hoping to get hefty rents during the Olympics. ''Lots of letting agents are writing clauses into contracts, saying you can live here with the exception of the Olympic days,'' says Antonia Bance, a spokesperson for Shelter, a housing charity. ''There's a strong possibility that a large number of east London tenants may face eviction, rent hikes and losing their homes as a result of the Olympics.''

Rents for properties in east London, where many of the events will be held, have shot up by five and 15 times in recent weeks. Many agents are advertising properties available for rent during the Olympic games, ranging from £1,500 a week for a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea to £100,000 a week for a six-bedroom penthouse in Knightsbridge.

The National Landlords Association (NLA), however, has expressed its displeasure over the arbitrary hike in rents by some owners. ''Most landlords would recognise it is far more beneficial to have a good, long-term tenant in their property,'' points out David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA. ''It is important that homeowners considering letting their properties during the Olympics are aware of their responsibilities to tenants, and the regulations they must comply with.''

A Labour MP, Chris Williamson, had recently raised the issue in Parliament, but Andrew Stunell, the communities and local government minister, said the government had not received any complaints from tenants.

Rents in many of London's neighbourhoods have soared in recent weeks. A one-bedroom apartment costing 300 pounds a week in Dalston is now dearer by more than five times, whereas in Newham, a three-bedroom house, which was available for about 1,200 pounds a month is now being rented out for 15,000 pounds for three weeks.