Parking, like everything else about owning a car, is expensive. If you live in a dense urban area like New York City, for example, you can buy a condo for several million dollars—and still have to pay as much as $300,000 or even $1 million for a parking spot. And that’s if you can find a spot to buy at all—otherwise you’re stuck paying a monthly fee or driving around all night looking for street parking.
But herein lies an opportunity: If you have some spare parking space in the form of a private driveway or deeded spot of some sort, you might be able to make some money renting that empty space outside (or under) your home.
How much you can make renting your driveway or parking space
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Generally speaking, you can legally rent any part of your property that you own, or even property you’re legally renting, as long as your homeowners association (HOA), lease, or rental agreement doesn’t forbid it. There may be local zoning regulations or other laws that preclude renting out parking spaces, so you’ll need to check with your local government, but if you have the right to park a vehicle somewhere you can most likely rent that space.
And how much can you make? That depends a great deal on those classic market conditions supply and demand, as well as your location. If you’re in the midst of a dense, parking-starved, high cost of living area, parking spots can be incredibly valuable. But if you’re in an area where people have plenty of parking options, you’ll obviously make less. Spacer, an app that lets you list and rent parking spacers, estimates that most people will make about $200 a month renting their driveways, though the range goes from $50 to $1,000 per month. A real-world example in Somerville, Massachusetts (just outside Boston) netted $220 per month for a parking spot the tenant didn’t even own.
Obviously, even if you only get $50 a month for a spot you’re not using, that’s essentially found money. And $200 a month is $2,400 a year—not exactly chump change.
What to consider before renting out your driveway or parking space
Renting a parking spot can be as easy as placing an ad on Craigslist or a similar site, or just putting a sign on your driveway and making a simple arrangement with someone. There are also several apps that make the process easy, including the aforementioned Spacer, Neighbor, Parking for Me, and Curbflip. A few things to consider when choosing a marketplace to list your parking spaces:
- Rates. Different apps promise different average rates and earnings, but these aren’t guaranteed. Generally you can set your own rate within broad parameters, so do some research into what the market will bear. Keep in mind that a garage spot with 24-hour access will always get a better rate than a curbside spot that’s only available during business hours or has other limitations.
- Liability. You’re generally responsible for things that happen on your property, so if your renter’s vehicle is damaged or stolen while parked in your spot, you might be held liable. Be sure you understand what—if any—protections the service you’re using offers you; for example, Spacer carries general liability and property insurance for its users, which can cover unexpected damage. If the answer is “LOL, none,” or you’re renting on your own, make sure the rental agreement you’re using insulates you.
- Payments. Most of these apps will handle payments on your behalf, which is great, but they also may use different platforms like Stripe to do so. Know whether you’ll need to sign up for a separate service and link a bank account before you dive in. You’re also generally going to be responsible for any tax implications due to the extra income, so be prepared for a little extra paperwork at tax time.
- Scheduling. You don’t have to rent out your parking 24 hours a day. You can rent it out during specific blocks of time. For example, if you commute to work, you could list your driveway as available between 9AM and 6PM every weekday. While this will reduce the field of potential renters, it might be an ideal solution for someone, and you’ll get the best of both worlds: Extra income without sacrificing your parking spot.
If you’ve got a parking space sitting empty and could use some extra cash, renting it out is pretty easy, and depending on where you live you can make a few hundred or even a few thousand bucks a year. If you’re looking for extra income, it’s definitely worth exploring.