Is your driveway paved with gold? If you live in a big city, near an airport or even a football ground, it just may be. Online parking marketplaces let you rent out parking spaces, and some earn over £200/month doing so. And with so many looking to rent spaces, it's a great way to find cheap parking too.
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Renting out your space
Depending on your spot, you could net over £200/month just for letting somebody park in your drive. Obviously, the most covetable spaces are those in city centres, but that's not to say you can't make serious cash elsewhere. If you live near a decent transport link, especially an airport, a football ground, or where parking’s costly, it's worth doing a quick valuation.
Quickly assess your space's value
Use Park Let’s Price Guide Tool for longer term parking or Parkatmyhouse* for short term, and you can get an indication of what you may be able to make. Just shift the map around to zero in on your area, and see what those nearby are charging. You can use the drop-down boxes at the top to filter results to your needs.
Yet these are purely rough reckoners, and won’t necessarily bag you the highest prices, it's just a way to decide whether it's worth progressing to the next step. It should also be pointed out, we’re talking parking spots on your own property here; sadly it breaks almost every council’s rules to simply sell on your residents parking permit.
The top rent your parking sites
All the big parking sites are free to list on, so there's nowt to stop you listing everywhere, though, obviously, the amount you'll end up with when you get a tenant will vary depending on the commission and other fees taken.
Going with one of the bigger sites should make for less hassle and more visibility, and higher demand will mean you can charge more. Then again this has to be tempered against the site taking a cut. To help, below is a mix of the big commission based sites and those which are totally free.
- Parkatmyhouse. Best for short-term rents
One of the more established players, there's good feedback from Parkatmyhouse* users. Listing a space is free, but when you find a tenant it takes a 15% commission. However, for that it does sort out the contracts, and offers a secure Paypal-based system for tenants to pay landlords, as well as an instant booking system which allows tenants to book and park in an available space without the landlord's intervention.
It also offers the most flexible and saftey-conscious approach: you can rent out spaces by day/week or month, with any number of restrictions, and all users can (and tend to) leave feedback for each other.
Fees: 15% Commission inc. VAT.
- Park Let. Best for long-term rents
The most comprehensive and largest service (though not by much it seems), Park Let* is also the most expensive (for landlords) and least flexible; it's only worth checking out if you can offer parking on a solid 5-day or 7-day basis. The company works like any other letting agent, dealing with all the contracts and processing all the payments itself though, so you do get a bit extra for the cash.
Fees: 15% Commission + VAT & one-off £25 + VAT admin fee.
- YourParkingSpace. Limited service
Currently one of the cheapest dedicated parking sites with a significant user base, YourParkingSpace makes its money through adverts on its site, so you get to keep more of what you earn. However, in terms of sorting out contracts, its help's limited to some freely downloadable templates, and it's up to you to sort out collecting money from the tenant.
Fees: £15 for a 12-month listing
- Gumtree. Classified listings only
You can list nigh on anything on the free classifieds site, and 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. Since Gumtree is a sprawling site, hardly anybody will just come across your ad in passing, so it's imperative to make an accurate listing which stands out in searches.
- Parkonmydrive. Limited service
The most recent parking rental start-up, Parkonmydrive is basic but cheap. You pay £5 to join and £5 a year to list each space, though happily this isn't deducted until the first booking is made, a boon since availability on the site is currently very limited. Once you pay you get a dedicated calendar page, where people can book out available dates, but that's about it; you'll need to sort out all contract/payment terms yourself.
Dangers to watch for
Renting out your parking space isn't all plain sailing, there is a risk of falling foul of both income tax & council regulations, as well as protecting your liability. Plus be considerate to any neighbours you share a driveway with!
- Ensure you've a contract
It's important to have a contract that says you're not responsible for vehicles or items left inside them. As explained above, many of the sites will do this for you; if not use YourParkingSpace's free PDF agreement as a basic document. Just check you're happy with the situation first.
- This person is a tenant
Just because it's a parking space, don't underestimate what's happening here. You are agreeing to give someone access to your drive, after that point, they can come and go as they please. Consider the safety impact of this with a stranger, 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.
- The income is taxable
You'll need to pay tax on the rent you get for your parking space. It counts as income from land and property (rather than self-employment income), which means:
If you already receive a tax return form: Just include the income in 'Box 18 - 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 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 the HMRC website for more info.
- The council issue
There's a very slim chance more officious local councils (we've only ever heard of one incidence) may deem renting your parking space out 'a change of use' for the property, from residential to mixed residential/commercial use. It's a grey area, and you're unlikely to be pulled up, but if you are you may have to apply for planning permission to continue doing it.
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Finding cheaper parking
If you drive to work, pay for monthly car parking with one of the big chains, or even just pay over the odds for your regular Saturday morning football space, you might be able to halve your parking costs by renting a private space instead. It should only take a few seconds to get a rough idea of savings, again using Park Let's Price Guide Tool, which presents an up-to-the-minute representation of parking prices across the UK on a Google Map.
Just drag the area of the map you'd like to park in under the 'X'. You can decrease the search radius, or filter by contract type (ie with/without weekends) via the drop-down menus at the top. Do note though that you'll only be finding the best price that the Park Let site can offer, so even if the saving's good, only use it as a benchmark price to be beaten by other sites.
Once armed with Park Let's best price, try comparing Parkatmyhouse* and Yourparkingspace, and if you're willing to dig a bit more, Gumtree, for spots in the same area. If they can beat the price, you might want to take the plunge, but consider the following first:
- How secure is it?
This is one potential downside to parking privately, especially if you've a flashy motor, so it's something to check out when considering any space. That said, many are covered by CCTV (these days, what isn't?!), and it may be possible to pay a little more for underground or garage parking.
- 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 tiny bit further from the office.
- Time it to perfection
Try finding a parking deal that suits your usage, some people are renting 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 Let processes payments itself, mediating between you and the landlord. Yet all the other services leave it to you to work out payment with the person letting the space. All sites except Gumtree provide printable contracts, though in that case YourParkingSpace offers one that anyone can download and use.
|Location||NCP Monthly (3)||Park Let||Your Parking Space||Park at my house||Gumtree||Saving|
|Kings Cross, WC1 (1)||£300||£200||N/A||£255||£200||£100|
|Birmingham Moor Street||£197||£65||£90||£50||N/A||£147|
|1. Within 1 mile of Kings Cross St Pancras station 2. Within 1 mile of Birmingham Moor Street. 3. based on nearest NCP monthly season ticket quote. Prices subject to availability, correct as of January 2011.|
As the table shows, by dodging NCP's expensive season tickets (which are already roughly half the price of paying it by the day!) you can cut parking costs by more than half, with just a cursory search of the parking sites. In Birmingham, we managed to slice a huge £147 off the £197 cost, enough to cover most people's yearly road tax bill!