Where the driveways, not the streets, are paved with gold

You could make thousands renting out the space by your door if there's a parking shortage where you live, says Jasmine Birtles
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The Independent Online

You wouldn't think a strip of tarmac at the front of your house could make you serious money, but if you live in a city, or near a station, airport or sports arena, there's a good chance you'll find someone prepared to pay handsomely to park there.

Areas with lots of businesses but few spaces for cars – particularly those just outside the congestion zone in London – are in very high demand, with parking becoming more expensive and harder to find all the time.

With the right help, and a bit of research, you can turn your drive or garage into an easy money-maker. One homeowner made £5,500 renting out his driveway last year, according to a new website called Parkatmyhouse.com

The costs are very low too, as you'll only need to fork out for a few new keys for lockable garages, and a bit of advertising.

Parkatmyhouse.com puts would-be parkers in touch with interested property owners. It has close to 3,000 spaces available across the UK, with 2,500 members registered – either looking for or renting out spaces.

Owners of the spaces charge anything from £2.50 to £150 for specified periods, depending on where they live, the time of year and how much room they are offering.

Coming up with a price can be tricky, but base your calculations on what you think is fair.

"You need to know the ins and outs of your area," says Parkatmyhouse foun- der Anthony Eskinazi. "When deciding on your price, contact a few local agencies to see what they would charge for it. Then make sure you undercut the local car park.

"You could also make it worthwhile for someone to use your space rather than a commercial service. Offer incentives, say, such as washing your customer's car while it is parked there."

Some space owners make extra money by offering to drive the parker to the airport; others charge more if they are providing covered areas and garages.

You don't have to limit yourself to a parking place; some people need storage space, for example, or a rehearsal area for a band.

Mr Eskinazi advises people to draw up a contract that covers rent and damage – for loss of keys, say – and a notice period for cancellation. Parkatmyhouse supplies templates for a variety of agreements including one-off, long-term or monthly deals.

Another site that has just launched is Rentrino.co.uk. Here you can rent anything to anyone, including your drive, garage, garden, loft, basement or spare room.

If you live in the capital, you can also try Londongarages.com, which deals in driveway and garage rentals.

'There's a demand round here for regular parking'

Freelance PR executive Beverley Bailey, from Wandsworth, south London, has been registered with Parkatmyhouse for around four months.

"I've had quite a few requests from people wanting to rent out the space in front of my home from Monday to Friday, but I don't really want it filled all that time," she says. "I don't have a car myself but I have friends and family who visit sometimes and it's handy for them."

Beverley has, though, rented out the space to a family who were going to the tennis at Wimbledon for the day. "I charged them £10, which they were quite happy with," she says.

"It hasn't cost me anything and it's extra cash. There's clearly a demand round here for regular parking."