Would You Allow Your London Home to be Used as a Film Location?

photo by Karen Roe on Flickr

Hollywood may seem a world away for most, but for some British homeowners the glamour of the big screen comes to their doorstep on a daily basis.

Earning a few hundred pounds a week from AirBnB is great, but savvy property owners are taking advantage of the huge potential available from leasing out their home for the latest blockbuster film!

A London house turned movie set in action. Source: Matt Brown/Flickr

60% of sets we see on TV in the UK are filmed in regular homes, according to the Independent, with an increasing number of people renting their properties to film crews and photographers for magazine shoots, adverts, TV shows and the latest blockbusters.

Homeowners can typically make between £500 to £2500 per day depending on the type of shoot and get a fresh lick of paint while they’re at it.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith, head of digital marketing business, Bolt Digital Media, began to lease her Edwardian terraced home in north west London a few years ago.  “When I set up my business there were a few clients who needed a place to shoot. I searched around but it became apparent my house was the easiest option.”

Natasha signed up with agencies such as Lavish Locations, Fresh LocationsCarol Hayes, and Location Works, who take 10-25% commission, and was inundated with applications to use her property.

TV and film shoots generally have larger crews, so more footfall and upheaval and thus command higher rentals.

Josh Jones is CEO of JJ Connect, a peer to peer platform similar to Airbnb that enables homeowners to list their property for a fee of £5 a month or £50 for the year. “Opening up your home to the TV and film industry is a great way to make some extra money. If you’re home isn’t quite Downton Abbey don’t let that put you off. All types of properties and original sets are needed for shoots everyday” said Jones.

London has lots of unique shots and buildings to chose from. Source: Wikimedia

The company has previously supplied locations to household names, films and videos including Bridget Jones’s Baby, Rita Ora’s Sigma music video, BBC’s Mary Berry Cooks, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Interested clients contact and negotiate with the homeowner directly and agree the dates and rates for the shoot and JJ Connect takes no commission.

Moving into the reel world: what you need to know

  1. Register your home with a reputable location agency
  2. Insist that the film company leaves your property as they found it
  3. Don’t imagine yourself having long chats with Jennifer Lawrence or Daniel Craig between takes
  4. Remember that you will need to pay tax on any income
  5. Check your insurers will cover you for any incidental damage to your property

Depending on the type of shoot, walls may be painted, partitions erected, rooms changed around, gardens taken over by catering tents and furniture moved in and out of your house. However, once the shoot is finished the crew are required to put everything back as it was found.

Amy Griffiths has been hiring out her home to film, TV and editorial crews for 15 years. Her 1930s house in Honor Oak, South London, has a contemporary décor throughout and has been used by brands including M&S, Ikea and Living etc.

“The house is put back by the teams but I would say it’s never quite as you had it. When you’re redecorating your own home you take a lot of care over it. It’s always been fine but perhaps not the same level as I would do it,” Amy explains.

DMZ thinks this is a great way to source extra income from your London property, if you sign up to the correct agencies and remember to ensure the leasing firm returns your house to its former glory!

It might be wise to hold off bragging that your property is a movie location until you see the final cut. Who knows, it could be in the next James Bond…or it could be your toilet in the next episode of EastEnders.