Over 600,000 homes sit empty in London for more than 4 weeks each year

London's homeowners have a huge opportunity to make money from their most valuable assets while they are away.

How often do people leave their London homes empty?

Populus research for UnderTheDoormat provides some insight into how many people are willing to let their home, and what may put them off doing so. On average, Londoners leave their homes empty for 2.5 weeks each year (this includes 20% who say it’s never empty for a whole day, so those who go away leave it empty for longer). 44% leave their homes free for 1-4 weeks a year, 15% for 4-10 weeks per year, and 3% for 10 weeks or more.

This translates into over 600,000 homes free for 4 weeks or more each year and over 100,000 free for 10 weeks or more. According to results, those over 65 are the most likely age group to be away and leave their home empty, with almost a quarter (23%) leaving their home empty for 4 weeks or more.

What puts people off letting their home out while away

Research results point to the three main things that puts people off letting out their home while away:

  • They’re uncomfortable having strangers in the home (29%)
  • They’re concerned about damage or leaving the place in a mess (24%)
  • They’re concerned about the security of their goods (20%)

Older groups (45+) are much more likely to cite being uncomfortable with strangers in their home, with 35% of 45-65s and 38% of 65+ saying this puts them off.

One in six people say that nothing puts them off letting out their home, rising to 24% of 18-24s, 25% of 25-34s and 20% of 35-44s.

In our experience, part of the reason people stay in a home is because they like the feel that it could be their own place – and they treat it with the respect they would their own home. While hotels suffer from high rates of towels being stolen, we’ve never had one go missing.

How many people are willing to let out their home when they’re away?

55% of research participants said would be willing to consider letting their home out if everything were to be managed by a company they trusted.

Comprehensive insurance covering all guest stays is the number one thing that makes people more likely to let out their homes. 52% say this will make them more likely to do it. People who would consider letting their home out but aren’t sure about doing it are hugely influenced by the insurance offer – 72% say it makes them more likely to let their home out.

Similarly, almost two thirds of people who aren’t sure about letting their home out (63%) say the professional clean makes them more likely to do it. The clean appears to be much more valuable to people in work, with 50% saying it would make them more likely v. 35% of non-workers.

39% of participants said they’d be more likely to let out their home when away once they learn they can earn money with little effort, with our homeowners averaging £600 per week (with the first £1,000 tax free). As covered by the Evening Standard, up to £4.5bn a year could be up for grabs if Londoners were to rent out their homes.

Working people are more likely to be convinced by the additional money, with 45% saying they would be more likely to let their home out knowing how much they could earn income v. 31% of non-workers.