I've earned £500 to pay for Christmas by renting out my driveway

Homeowners could make an average of £1,090 a year renting out their driveways, according to new research published today by Direct Line.

In the case of Sarah Buckland from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, the high cost of parking in her local town centre spurred her on to rent out her drive.

As the 56-year-old NHS practice manager had one of the few houses with a driveway on her road, the opportunity to earn a bit of extra income was a no-brainer.

She said: “I am living in a four-bedroom property on my own and feel guilty for living in such a big house so I was thinking of the best ways of making use of it.

“It is near local shops in a small but busy town so I rent the space for two cars during the hours I am out at work.

“It is mainly commuters and people who want to do their shopping but don’t want to meet the traffic.”

Sarah started renting out the space last year and earns between £80 to £120 most months, and is now gradually building up enough to boost her Christmas spending.

“I have saved nearly £400 to date and expect to have around £500 when I start Christmas shopping in December.

“It is a bit of extra income which I can put towards all the extras over the festive period,” she adds.

And Sarah isn’t just going to stop at Christmas, she also hopes to make another £1,000 from her driveway to fund a summer holiday in Asia next year.

Renting out your driveway is a popular way of earning some income from the sharing economy.

It is less intrusive than other ways of using your property, such as renting out a room on Airbnb, particularly for someone like Sarah who wants to keep her daughter’s bedrooms free for when they return outside of term time.

Perhaps surprisingly, Sheffield is the city where you can expect to make the most cash, according to Direct Line's research.

It found that the average amount savvy homeowners can make is £1,539 a year, followed by £1,525 in London and £1,363 in Leeds.

There are a number of websites you can use to rent your driveway, although be aware that some will charge a fee.

Sarah uses driveway renting app Kerb to list and rent out her spaces.

Kerb first launched in Australia in 2016 and entered the UK market this year.

It is one of a number of parking space rental websites that have emerged in recent years.

Kerb doesn’t charge anything for listings and takes 20 per cent of any booking fee.

Similarly, users can list on JustPark for free and the website takes a three per cent booking fee.

Longer term bookings of two months or more cost 20 per cent for the first month and then three per cent afterwards.

Another website, YourParkingSpace, adds a 20 per cent service charge to the renter and takes its fee from that.

It is worth comparing these sites for the functionality and user reviews as well as checking how much you can get for your area on each site so you can ensure there is demand and secure the best rate.

What to watch out for when renting your drive

1. If you don't own your home, check if your landlord is happy for you to rent out the space.

2. Check if renting your parking space will invalidate your home insurance – it may increase your insurance risk and therefore your premium or you may need a separate public liability policy.

3. Check how payments are made via the rental website. It's best to withdraw cash as soon as possible to protect your money if the worst were to happen and the company went bust.

Whichever you choose, there is money to be made, with YourParkingSpace estimating users can earn £480 to £4,200 a year.

As an added bonus, the first £1,000 of takings each year from this sort of activity is tax-free under the government’s property trading income allowance.

The rest you should declare via a self-assessment tax return where it will be taxed as your normal income tax rate.

There are of course also benefits for drivers.

It can cost £9.10 an hour on average to park in London and around £3 in other big cities, according to research by vehicle history search website HPI check.

This mounts up over a few hours of Christmas shopping or for commuters during the working day, so finding someone’s driveway can help save money.

Sarah says she often finds a parking space to rent when visiting her daughters at university in Brighton.

"Parking can be really expensive,” she adds. "People in London particularly can make an awful lot of money if they have an empty space."

There are plenty of ways you can make money by hiring out the things you already own when you're not using it.

An IT consultant from London makes £1,500 a year by hiring out his car to strangers while he's at work.

Another saves £2,500 a year on his commute to work by giving strangers lifts.

One homeowner has revealed how she makes £14,600 a year by renting out her spare room.

To earn some extra cash you can also try out these 25 ways to make money from home.

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