When in America Elton rents lavishly

By Diedre Johnson

Elton John recently plunked down $75,000 for a housing lease and then stayed less than a month in California.

Seems John blew into town in January for a little R&R after the release of his to-be continued… compilation of hits from his 20-plus-year career. He rented an 8, 000-square-foot house with little fanfare from Beverly Hills real estate agent Tim Enright.

Enright, 33, had completed work on the house just weeks before and had planned to move in when he got an offer too good to refuse. “It’s just one of those things that happens,” he says, declining to say exactly how Elton heard about his house. However, since Enright is the owner/broker of an 11- year-old ’boutique’ ‘ real estate company primarily specializing in celebrity and high-income properties, the details are not hard to figure. The rock star was represented by a real estate agent in the area and the deal was done.

The house, located off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills, was completed in December and John its first tenant in January. It is described as Connecticut farmhouse-style with a porch, English walnut doors and a slate roof. There are five bedrooms, seven baths and six fireplaces. The interior of the house is reminiscent of a 1920s grand hotel. The house has a two-story restaurant-style kitchen fully stocked with gourmet utensils, library, swimming pool and two-story guest house. Outside, the landscaping is English country.

John’s (temporary) neighbors included Dan Ackroyd, Anthony Perkins, Richard Dreyfuss, Sally Kellerman (M*A *S* H’ s original Hot Lips) and Doc Severinson. Usually given to entertaining large scale, John reportedly rested while there and was gone by early February.

While he spends most of his time in London, this isn’t the first time he’s rented at a considerable price for a short time. In the summer and fall of 1989, he rented a 7,000-square-foot home in Benedict Canyon, not far from his latest lease. That time it was for a month and he gave a lavish birthday party for his manager, John Reid, attended by mega British pop stars such as Sting and George Michael and American actors such as Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone. He also hosted a weekend AIDS benefit on the grounds.

Rumors are that he also rents in New York. Just why does someone like Elton rent instead of buy?

“He may not like it here,” surmises real estate agent Molly Older.  Older, an agent with Celebrity Properties, also located in Beverly Hills, says this sort of thing is not unusual. “It happens regularly with celebrities, especially Europeans. They come to do an album or a movie and only want to stay a few months. Our company does quite a few of these ourselves, recently it was with Pink Floyd.”

However, Older will admit the amount John is willing to spend on a lease is in the higher ranks. Most “average” leases, she says, are in the $10,000 to category.

It is also possible that John, who owns two houses on property in London, wants to keep his higher taxes within a reasonable limit. “If he already has his two tax write-offs, he may not want to buy another house.”

Meanwhile, things are back to normal on Mulholland Drive. Enright has since moved in and says he has no plans to lease the house on a regular basis although he hints he probably wouldn’t say no to the British singer. John was the perfect guest. “He said he has stayed in larger before but never as elegant.”