Over 16,000 Athenians have applied to join the Olympic private home rental program under which visitors for the 2004 Games will stay in furnished apartments, Olympics organizers said yesterday after signing a contract with two consortia that will manage the process. Home rentals were deemed necessary as nearly all the rooms in the capital’s best hotels have already been booked by International Olympic Committee officials, foreign sports federation delegations and sponsors. The two consortia that will manage the program are Alpha Filoxenia 2004, led by Alpha Bank, and Elliniki Filoxenia, headed by Eurobank. The contract-signing had been delayed for several months pending negotiations between Athens 2004 officials and the consortia. The rental period is from July 10 to September 10, 2004 – the Games will be held between August 13-29 – while rents range from 840 to 1,200 euros per person for a minimum six-night stay. Landlords will pay 10 percent tax on the rents.