Put your home to work

From renting your house to a film studio to selling off a patch of garden, Kate Hilpern finds clever ways for homeowners to beat the downturn – and plunder their properties' untapped earning potential

Rent out your parking space

You can earn an average of £30 a week from an empty garage or driveway, according to Anthony Eskinazi, founder of parkatmyhouse.com. "If you live near a major sporting or music venue, a busy airport or train centre, or in a city centre, you could earn a lot more. Some of our users make £7,000 a year."

To assess your space's value, use parklet.co.uk's price-guide tool for longer-term parking and www.parkatmyhouse.com for short-term parking. All the big parking websites are free to list your space on and although most take commission, usually 15 per cent, they sort out contracts and offer a secure method of payment.

In fact, the only free dedicated parking space with a significant user base is www.yourparkingspace.co.uk, while the most recent parking-rental start-up, parkonmydrive.com, charges £10 to list each space for a year. You could also put an advert in the local paper or on a listings website. But with all these options, you'll need to sort out contract and payment terms.

Josh Dhaliwal rents out his two residents' parking spaces near his house in Fulham, south-west London, for £13.50 a day each through www.yourparkingspace. "It's the simplest way I have ever found of making money," he says.

The taxman will want his share of your profits, as with any other form of income. And don't forget to inform your insurer of the change, especially with a garage or driveway.

Sell some of your garden

If you have more garden than you need, why not sell some off? It can be a fast, easy way of making large sums, and the number of potential buyers may be larger than you think.

If you're selling to developers, get an estate agent in to value it and then seek planning permission. Plotsearch.co.uk has a 70ft x 35ft garden plot in March, Cambridgeshire, with planning permission for a three-bed detached property, on its books for £72,500.

Neighbours may also be interested. Thelma Williams sold sections of her garden from her two-bedroom house in Flaunden, Hertfordshire, to neighbours on both sides. "I had a huge garden for a small cottage, so even having sold off two chunks, I was still left with a decent-sized space. I could have made much more money, though. I trusted my neighbours' suggestions of what it was worth and I regret not getting an expert in."

Get tax advice, as it could potentially trigger a Capital Gains Tax charge, and beware that you may regret backing on to a huge housing estate instead of green grass. "We've seen a lot of people selling off parts of their gardens in recent years and some underestimate how they'll feel about suddenly being overlooked. Others are also shocked to find that their property has devalued by more than they made from the garden sale," Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, warns.

Become a film location

"The other day when I went to work, I left Ricky Gervais in my dining room," Sue Armentry, from Fulham, London, says. She lets out her home for photography and filming, which pays anything from £500 to several thousand pounds per day – more if you live in a sought-after areas like Notting Hill in London or Edinburgh. "I've done it about 12 times now, in my case never longer than a single day, and it's an easy, fun way of making money."

In most cases, crews arrive after 8am and finish before you get home from work, but you have to be flexible, Armentry says. "In October, I came home to 60 people in my house, but you can set ground rules like insisting your floor is covered, and they leave the house immaculate."

If any damage is done, it's quickly rectified, says Maggie Bull, whose four-bedroom home on the Isle of Wight was used for the filming of Fragile, starring Calista Flockhart. "I was paid £2,000 for three days of filming and as one was a very wet day and the carpets got dirty, they replaced them."

Register your property through www.film-locations.co.uk and www.amazingspace.co.uk. They will list it, charging around 20 per cent commission if it's used. "The highest demand is for large houses with good parking within the M25," Sarah Eastel, owner of Sarah Eastel Locations, says.

Offer spare storage space

If your garage, cellar, loft or shed is going spare, why not advertise it as storage space on classified websites such as www.adzooks.co.uk and www.yakaz.co.uk? Lock-up garages can go for around £30 a month, although prices vary enormously depending on size, ease of access and your location.

"The income here is treated as rent, so you must pay income tax," warns Tim Gregory, tax accountant and partner at accountancy firm Saffery Champness. "You will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on a proportion of the gain when you come to sell the house if the space is used exclusively by a renter. Also be careful that you are not starting a business in your home if it is prohibited by your mortgage."

Invite tourists to stay

Using www.crashpadder.com, Brice La Barthe rents out his spare room to tourists for £65 a night. "My partner and I live in a two-bedroom flat near Tower Bridge, so it's great for people who want a bedroom in a central spot at low cost," he says. "We limit it to 10 nights a month, though." "You can vet all potential guests and only accept the ones you feel comfortable with," points out Stephen Rapoport, managing director of Crashpadder, who adds that you set your own price. It works by deducting 10 per cent commission, while other websites charge you to advertise your room. You could even set up as a B&B, particularly suitable for bedrooms with en suites. You can charge anything from £30 to £150 per room per night, depending on the facilities and location, but remember to tell your mortgage lender and insurer that you're converting all or part of your home to business premises. You will also need to check with your council whether you need "change of use" planning permission. In addition, you'll need to comply with food-safety legislation, apply for a home television licence, do a fire-risk assessment and get a gas-safety certificate. For more information, visit www.howtorunabandb.com.

Get a lodger

Taking in a lodger is enjoying a resurgence. Halifax Home Insurance found that around 200,000 homeowners have taken one on since 2006, with total lodger numbers now reaching 970,000. For Heather Smith, from Altrincham, south Manchester, it has enabled her to stay in her home after splitting up with her boyfriend three years ago. "I charge £340 a month for a room with a shared bathroom. I enjoy the company and the long-term ones have become friends," she says.

Smith uses www.spareroom.co.uk to register her room for free. Others include easyroommate.co.uk. If you don't want your lodger around at weekends, mondaytofriday.com allows you to register your room for use in weekdays only. "You can expect to get around 60 per cent of the usual weekly rent," Judy Niner, its founder, says.

Nice little earnersOwning a parking permit in a central location (left), selling off a slice of your garden (main), and renting out your home as a film location (right) may help you to make some extra money. Below: Sue Armentry left her house with Ricky Gervais, pictured, shooting a film in her home ALAMY/EPA

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea