Is your driveway or garage paved with gold? If you live in a big city, near an airport or a train station, it just may be.
Online parking marketplaces let you rent out car parking spaces - some earn £200/mth or more. Plus with so many after parking spaces to rent, they're handy to find cheap parking too.
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While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can't assume responsibility and don't accept liability for any loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it. Thanks to Crosse + Crosse Solicitors.
Depending on your area, you could net up to £200/month (more in some places, eg, parts of London) just for letting somebody park in your drive or garage. The most covetable spaces tend to be in city centres, but you can still make serious cash elsewhere.
If you live by a big transport link such as an airport or railway station, or even a footie ground, it's worth a quick valuation.
To get an idea of what you might be able to make, clever online tools can give quick estimates. You can see what those nearby are charging for long-term stays (eg, a month) with Park Let’s price guide tool, or for short-term stays (eg, a day), try the tool on Park At My House*.
These are purely rough reckoners though, and won’t necessarily give the highest prices. Use the results to help you decide whether it's worth progressing to the next step.
It's also worth noting we’re talking about off-street parking spots on your own property here. Sadly, it breaks almost every council’s rules to simply sell on your residents' parking permit.
Nearly all the big parking sites are free to list on, so there's nowt to stop you listing everywhere. But the amount you'll end up with will vary depending on the site's commission, plus any other fees.
Going with one of the bigger sites may mean less hassle and more visibility, plus higher demand should mean you can charge more. But remember the site will take a cut. Before you list, make sure you read the safety tips below too. Here are the biggies:
Park At My House* Strong all-rounder, broad reach
One of the more established players, Park At My House* has good user feedback. Listing a space is free. Plus it doesn't charge you commission, so you get the full amount you've asked for if you're successful - instead, it marks up the amount you've asked for by 10-25% (depending on the space) and takes the extra.
Handily, it sorts out contracts, and processes all the payments, transferring earnings to your PayPal or bank account. It also ensures you'll still get paid even if the driver doesn't turn up. You can rent out spaces by the day, week or month, and add any number of restrictions on when it's unavailable. All users can (and tend to) leave feedback.
Unlike the other big "rent your parking space" sites, it has a free app for iPhone to help drivers find parking on the go. It also advertises all its spaces on Parkopedia, AA Route Planner, Your Parking Space and more, so the broad reach should help.
Fees: 50p fee to withdraw earnings under £25, otherwise free to transfer to your bank account.
Park Let* Good for long-term rents
Also with a very comprehensive service and good user feedback, Park Let* is the most expensive (for landlords). If you can rent out your car parking space by the month, it's worth checking out.
It doesn't let you rent out your parking space by the day, though there's a section where you can advertise daily rates and owners can contact you directly.
The company works like any other letting agent, dealing with all the contracts and processing all the payments itself, so you do get a bit extra for the cash. Listing is free, so its fees are only payable if you succeed in renting out your space.
Fees: 15% commission + VAT, and a one-off £25 + VAT admin fee taken out of your earnings.
Your Parking SpaceLow cost but limited service
Currently one of the cheapest dedicated parking sites with a significant user base, Your Parking Space. There's a £15 fee to list your parking space for a year.
Handily, the company's rental guarantee states if you don't get a rental within 45 days, it'll refund the entire £15. So don't worry if you're unsure whether someone will want to rent your space or not - if no one does, you should get your money back.
You'll need to work out payment with the person letting the space yourself - but handily, it offers a free printable contract that anyone can download and use.
Fees: £15 for a 12-month listing (includes VAT).
Park On My Drive Basic features, but low fees
Park On My Drive is basic but cheap. It's free to list your parking space, and takes a £10 cut per space, per year, though helpfully this isn't deducted until the first booking is made. So this means if you don't ever manage to rent out your space, you effectively won't have to pay any fees.
Once you pay you get a dedicated calendar page, where people can book out available dates. Plus it provides a parking space rental agreement to print and fill in, though you'll need to sort out payment yourself. It also has a review system and you can upload photos of your space.
Fees: £10 per space, per year (includes VAT).
Gumtree No fees, but classified listings only
You can list nigh-on anything on the free classifieds site, and car parking spaces are no exception. If you live in a popular area, you stand a decent chance of finding a tenant, but you'll have to work out contracts and payments yourself.
As Gumtree is a sprawling site, hardly anybody will just come across your ad in passing, so it's vital to make an accurate listing which stands out in searches. Handily, it also has free apps for both iPhone and Android.
Successfully rented out your parking space?
Let us know how much you've made in the Rent Your Parking Space forum discussion.
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What to watch for when letting a space
Renting out your parking space isn't all plain sailing. There are income tax and insurance issues to be aware of, as well as the need to manage your possible liability. Plus be considerate to any neighbours you share a driveway with.
Govt says planning permission not needed in England. Some more officious local councils have deemed renting out your space a 'change of use' to your property, asking for a £385 planning application fee. But the Government says renting out one parking space without planning permission is fine in England, provided it's not a nuisance to neighbours, see more.
The Department for Communities and Local Government tells us it doesn't believe renting out a parking space is a change of use that needs planning permission, and has published new guidance to make this clearer on Gov.uk.
It says that if the council asks for a planning application fee, you should challenge it, and refer the council to the Government press release as well as its guidance on renting out a private parking space.
If a council still starts a planning enforcement notice, you've a right of appeal - and planning inspectors that deal with these are expected to follow Government guidance. For how to appeal, check on your local council's website at Gov.uk.
As this applies to England, it's worth noting that elsewhere it's still a grey area, so some local councils may ask you to apply for planning permission to continue doing it. See the MSE News story Government to stop councils' 'backdoor parking taxes'.
Here are a few more things to watch for:
Make sure you've got a contract. It's important to have a written contract, for instance, to specify you're not responsible for vehicles or items left inside them whilst in your space. As mentioned above, many of the sites will provide contracts for you, read more.
If not, there are free printable basic agreements online to help, including PDFs from Park On My Drive and Your Parking Space. Yet always check you're happy with the situation first, and don't sign anything you're not happy with.
Solicitor Zoe Tibbles from Crosse + Crosse LLP says: "The agreement should let you terminate it on a specified amount of notice (say, a week or two), oblige the renter to keep the space tidy and not store items there, or block access with their parking."
This person is a tenant. This is generally the case (there are exceptions though, read more below). Just because it's your parking space, don't underestimate what's happening here. You are agreeing to give a stranger access to your drive, so after that point, they can come and go as they please, read more.
Always carefully consider the safety impact of this - as an extra precaution, if you live alone (especially for women), consider having a friend with you when you first meet a new potential renter.
Interestingly, Park At My House has told us drivers who book through it aren't tenants, but fall into a different legal category called a 'licensee'. Unlike a tenancy lease, a license doesn't grant a right to use a space exclusively, and can be revoked by the property owner. See its Parking Space License Agreement for more.
The income is taxable. You'll need to pay tax on the rent you get for your space. It counts as income from land and property (rather than self-employment income), read more.
If you already receive a tax return form: Just include the income in ‘Box 20 – Total rents and other income from property’ on the land and property page. This is all you need to do – you shouldn’t need to contact HMRC separately.
If you use a paper return and don’t already have other rental income, you'll need to ask for this page from the HMRC order line.
If you don't already receive a tax return: Phone or write to your tax office to let it know you've a new source of income from renting your parking space. It may deal with this in your PAYE code, or could ask you to fill in a tax return. See HMRC.
Check your insurance and mortgage terms. It’s worth checking with your home insurance provider first, in case there are any potential issues. Buildings insurance may include liability cover in the unlikely event your property collapses and causes damage, though this won't always be the case - if not, you may need a separate liability policy, read more.
If you’ve only got contents insurance, you’re unlikely to be covered for this. Either way, ensure the contract also clearly states you aren’t responsible for any damage, to be on the safe side.
If you’ve a mortgage, it’s a grey area among mortgage lenders as to whether you need permission from them to rent out your drive, so it’s worth checking the rules with yours first. You could give your lender a quick call in the first instance, noting who you spoke to and when, as a written reply's likely to take much longer.
- Check with the landlord if renting. If you rent rather than own the property, it’s best to check the terms of your tenancy agreement before renting out your space, and get the landlord’s permission in writing. Similarly, if you've leasehold rather than freehold ownership, check the terms of your lease, read more.
Provided the terms don’t prevent it, your landlord agrees, and it’s your own space (ie, not communal) you should be fine to rent out your parking space if you wish.
It’s highly unlikely you’d be able to do this with a communal space, as you’d need written permission from the landlord and all those entitled to use the space – plus as it’s a shared space, you wouldn’t be able to ensure it’d be kept free.
If you drive to work, pay for monthly car parking with one of the big chains, or just pay over the odds for your regular Saturday football space, you might be able to halve parking costs by renting a private space instead. Plus you can get a rough idea of savings in seconds.
Try Park Let's price guide tool, which lets you search for guideline UK parking prices on a map. Just drag the area of the map you'd like to park in under the 'X'. You'll only find the best average prices Park Let can offer, so even if the saving's good, use it as a benchmark to beat.
Once armed with Park Let's best price, try comparing Park At My House*, Your Parking Space and Park On My Drive. If you're willing to dig a bit more, you could also try Gumtree. If they can beat the price, you might want to take the plunge, but always consider the following first:
- How secure is it? It's a potential downside to parking privately, especially if you've a flashy motor. Always check the space carefully for yourself first. It may be possible to pay a little more for underground or garage parking which may be safer.
- Can you park cheaper further away? If you're looking for a spot in a city, where rents are the highest, it might be worth casting your net out a little wider. Sometimes you'll find decent price drops by parking just a little bit further from the office.
- Time it to perfection. Try finding a cheap parking deal that suits your usage. Some people rent out their spaces only at the weekends or in the evenings. So, if you only need the space during that time, it's likely you'll bag a better bargain.
- How will you pay? Payment systems vary. Park At My House and Park Let process payments themselves, yet all the other services leave it to you to work out payment with the person letting the space.
- Ensure you've a contract. All sites except Gumtree provide contracts, though in that case Park On My Drive and Your Parking Space both have useful printable contracts.
To give you an idea of how much you could save on parking, the table below compares the cost of using an NCP car park with using a parking space found via the internet.
|NCP car park season tickets vs cheap parking sites|
|Location||NCP monthly (3)||Park Let||Your Parking Space||Park At My House||Gumtree||Saving|
|London WC1 (1)||£300||£70||£170||£190||£128||£230|
|Birmingham Moor Street (2)||£135||£55||£72||£72||£40||£95|
|1. Within 1 mile of King's Cross St. Pancras station. 2. Within 1 mile of Birm Moor St. 3. Based on nearest NCP monthly season ticket web quote. Prices subject to availability.|
As the table shows, by swapping NCP's pricey season tickets for a private parking space it's possible to cut parking costs by more than half, with just a cursory search of car parking sites.
In Birmingham, we managed to slice a huge £95 off the £135 cost. In London, the saving was even bigger, at £230 - enough to cover many people's yearly tax disc.
Successfully rented out your parking space?
Let us know how much you've made in the Rent Your Parking Space forum discussion.