Home owners in East London, who let their properties during the Olympics, could face a fine of up to £20,000.
According to Tower Hamlets Council, those who fail to apply for planning permission before renting out their homes next summer could face legal penalties.
Any person renting out their property for less than 90 days must get consent from planning chiefs from their local council. This is a special requirement that applies only in London. Few home-owners are likely to be aware of it.
Websites, such as rentduringthegames.com, have dozens of homes listed, some of them charging up to £1,000 a week for a one-bedroom flat.
Other London boroughs, like Westminster, Camden and Islington, warned that they might also seek legal action. However, Tower Hamlets is the most popular for lettings due to its proximity to the Olympic Park.
“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”, said a Tower Hamlets spokesperson.
Residents in buildings with short-term lets often complain that temporary tenants are less likely to act respectfully than those renting for longer periods of time.
Nevertheless, experts say taking action would not be practical as it will be time-consuming and tricky. Each case should be considered individually to decide if it is worthwhile to give notice of enforcement.
“The penalty for breaching an enforcement notice in the magistrates’ courts can be up to £20,000 plus any associated costs”, said the council spokesperson.