Time to gear up for chain gang’s spec­tac­u­lar ar­rival in York­shire

Thou­sands of fans will de­scend on the re­gion for the Grand Dé­part and home own­ers could cash in on de­mand for ac­com­mo­da­tion. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WITH an es­ti­mated two to three mil­lion visi­tors set to pour into on York­shire to see the world’s big­gest cy­cle race, those look­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion could be in for a bumpy ride.

Ho­tels, guest houses and hol­i­day lets are start­ing to book up and a short­age is fore­cast. This sup­ply and de­mand prob­lem presents a golden op­por­tu­nity for home own­ers who live on and close to the Tour de France route.

Dee Mar­shall, of Wel­come to York­shire, says she knows of one cou­ple who have al­ready let their Leeds city cen­tre apart­ment for £2,000 a week to Tour tourists.

“We have lot of en­quiries from home own­ers who are think­ing of let­ting their home or a room in their home.

“We are a tourism agency pro­mot­ing es­tab­lished B&Bs and ho­tels, so we can’t help them but I think we can safely say that there will be a mar­ket. A lot of peo­ple don’t re­alise how big this event is go­ing to be. It will un­doubt­edly be­come more dif­fi­cult to find some­where to stay as time goes on.”

There is form for this sort of op­por­tunis­tic let. When As­cot headed north to York in 2005, an en­tre­pre­neur­ial group of home own­ers started As­cot Lets, a web­site where own­ers could ad­ver­tise their prop­er­ties.

Since then web­sites such as Airbnb have cap­i­talised on the de­sire to make money by let­ting a room or a whole home to hol­i­day­mak­ers and busi­ness trav­ellers.

One of the ben­e­fits of let­ting through this online agency is that guests have to book and pay through the site be­fore they ar­rive. Own­ers cre­ate their own free list­ing and Airbnb takes £1 per book­ing per night from them plus a £3 ad­min­is­tra­tion charge from the guest.

Prices for rooms start from £25 per night, though book­ings tied to big events can com­mand a sub­stan­tial pre­mium. If you are now hear­ing a loud “kerch­ing”, don’t let it af­fect your senses. There could be tax and insurance is­sues to at­tend to be­fore you usher cy­cling fans through the front door.

Vicky Wat­son, of Halifax Home Insurance, says: “Any­one con­sid­er­ing let­ting out their home, or even just their spare room, on a short-term ba­sis should let their home in­surer know be­fore­hand to en­sure their pol­icy re­mains valid. There may be some changes to the cover level for things like un­forced bur­glary, so we’d rec­om­mend con­tact­ing your home in­surer for ad­vice.”

Tax con­sul­tant Rob Dur­ran­tWalker, of Gar­butt and El­liott, adds: “If you are go­ing to make your own house avail­able to Tour de France visi­tors for a few days don’t for­get your in­come tax obli­ga­tions. If you are let­ting a fur­nished room or floor in your own home, then in­come of up to £4,125 may be ex­empt un­der HMRC’s Rent-a-Room tax scheme so there is no need to de­clare it on a tax re­turn. How­ever, if you are let­ting your whole house then this isn’t Rent-a-Room and you may need to com­plete a tax re­turn for that year.”

The McCabe fam­ily in York, who trade as Room at the Top on Airbnb, let a top-floor bed­room, sit­ting room and bath­room to visi­tors from £23 a night. Ju­lia McCabe says: “We didn’t want a full-time lodger so this seemed like a good op­tion.

“We let un­der the rent-a-room tax scheme and it’s been a great suc­cess. It’s a bit of ex­tra money and you get that paid into your ac­count the day af­ter the guest leaves. More im­por­tantly for us is that Airbnb is a com­mu­nity. We’ve met some amaz­ing peo­ple from all over the world. We’ve had visi­tors from China, Ar­gentina and Amer­ica.”

She adds: “Most are busy see­ing the sights so they tend to drop their bags off and we don’t see

We can safely say there will be a mar­ket. A lot of peo­ple don’t re­alise how big this is go­ing to be.

them much. We give them a key so they can come and go as they please. There is a lot of trust in­volved.

“There’s also a lot of clean­ing and chang­ing of beds. That’s re­ally im­por­tant as guests leave feed­back on the site.”

The Grand Dé­part pushes off on July 5 in Leeds and the 190km stage one takes in Ilk­ley, Skip­ton, Ley­burn, Mid­dle­ham and Ripon be­fore end­ing in Har­ro­gate. Stage two, on July 6, starts in York, tak­ing in Ha­worth, Heb­den Bridge and Hud­der­s­field be­fore end­ing in Sh­effield.

If you fancy buy­ing a prop­erty on the route in time for the Tour, there are plenty of op­tions, in­clud­ing a manor house in Bain­bridge, near Hawes, up for auc­tion with Robin Jes­sop on De­cem­ber 17 with a guide price of £250,000.

Tim Gower, of Robin Jes­sop’s Ley­burn of­fice, says: “It will pro­vide a great van­tage point and the lucky new owner will en­joy a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. It is cur­rently a hol­i­day let, so there is po­ten­tial to rent it out for the event.”

www.airbnb.co.uk; www. le­toury­ork­shire.com

ON TRACK: The homes be­low are all on or close to the route of the Tour de France which comes to York­shire in 2014.

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