Tuesday, 19 September 2017

'We've been inundated with regatta lettings' says agent

'We've been inundated with regatta lettings' says agent

A HENLEY estate agent that launched a short-term letting service earlier this year says it has been overwhelmed by the response from the town.

Charlotte Mellor, lettings manager at the Hart Street branch of Oxfordshire agency Penny & Sinclair, said: “I can’t believe other agencies haven’t thought of this before!”

She added that since launching the service back in February — with events like the Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Festival in mind — there has been a flurry of activity.

“We did a maildrop to the local area to gauge if there was a gap in market, and within the first two weeks we had over 60 valuations booked in — it was incredible.”

In the past, rowers and spectators who visit the Henley Royal Regatta each year have had to find accommodation via rowing club contacts, local residents and short-term rental sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway.

“However,” says Charlotte, “people naturally feel more secure renting though us — a legitimate, fully regulated and experienced rental company that knows the legal requirements and knows the town well.

“Equally, landlords know they can leave their property in our hands, knowing that they do not have to worry about anything going wrong.

“These are people’s homes — it a personal thing, and our clients are entrusting us with their properties.”

Charlotte says that would-be landlords just need to remove anything precious from their properties and have to provide linen and towels.

“We can organise cleaning and laundry companies on request,” adds Charlotte, who says renters tend to be families from abroad who are looking for everything from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses.

Landlords take home a profit of between £1,200 and £3,000 for the week of the annual rowing event, which this year runs from Wednesday, June 28, to Sunday, July 2. Two-bedroom properties have proved to be the most popular and these go for around £2,000 a week.

Most of the renters hail from such far-flung locations such as Australia, China, France and the US.

“They all want to be a 10- to 15-minute walk of the course, so that they don’t miss seeing their sons and daughters racing in this international world-renowned event,” adds Charlotte.

“The revenue from short-letting your property will help cover costs associated with running a property and can supplement your income while your property might otherwise be vacant.”

Renters have to pay up front, at the time of booking, and there is a
no-cancellation policy.

Penny & Sinclair offers minimum rentals of seven days, regardless of how long renters wish to stay in their lodgings.

“Short-term is another string to the Penny & Sinclair bow — another service we can offer on top of our existing letting services,” says Charlotte.

“Our Oxford branches already offer short-term lets, so the template for us to offer the service in Henley was already there. Short-term is also a great introduction to Penny & Sinclair services.”

In fact, Charlotte says that two of her Regatta lets have now turned into long-term rentals. “The clients have been so pleased with our service, they said they wanted to continue.”

She added: “We have been overwhelmed by the response and astounded how much the town has taken to it.”

For more information, pop into Penny & Sinclair on Hart Street or call (01491) 739000.

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