Can you really make money by renting out your home? | SavvyWoman

Can you really make money by renting out a room, your drive or using your property as a film location?

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Making money from your home is something that many of us may dream about. But actually doing it can be another matter. So can you really make money by renting out your home?

The best known way of making money is by renting out a spare room and the government lets you earn up to £7,500 a year tax free through its rent-a-room scheme (there’s more on renting out a room elsewhere in this section). But there are other ways that you can generate revenue from your property.

Renting out your driveway

Renting out your driveway isn’t going to make you a millionaire, but it could provide a regular income if you’re in the right spot.

SAVVY TIP: Listing your drive on one of these sites is free of charge. But expect to pay around 15% of the rental income you receive as a commission.

  • Deciding how much to charge. The amount you’ll be able to charge will depend on whether the parking space is secure, such as whether it’s in a gated development or underground car park or just your own drive and – crucially – how near the train or tube station or airport it is.

SAVVY TIP: Working out how much you can charge will involve some research on parking rental sites and a little bit of guesswork. Looking at a couple of parking websites, Wimbledon is proving a nice little earner with prices for renting out a parking space varying from £5 to £15 a day. People living near Heathrow airport charge a minimum of £5 a day and prime parking places in Nottingham are advertised for up to £120 a month.

Renting out your driveway – insurance

If you’re renting out your driveway you should tell your insurance company. They shouldn’t insist on any changes to the policy (unless you’re renting out a field rather than a driveway with one or two spaces). But it’s best to let them know.

  • If your property is accidentally damaged by someone else. For example, by the person you’re renting a space to, you’d have to claim for the damage from your buildings insurance.
  • If you damage a car parked on your drive. The owner would have to claim on their car insurance.

SAVVY TIP: It’s not only insurance that you have to think about, you will also need to declare the money you make to HM Revenue & Customs.

Renting out your home as a location

The idea of having famous actors and actresses swanning around your home might fill you with horror or it might make your eyes light up with glee – not to mention the prospect of hundreds of pounds a day in fees. However, although some people do make a lot of money from using their property as a location it’s not as easy as you might think.

  • Is your property suitable? Location finders say that they get hundreds of people contacting them about their property. But many can’t be used as locations.

SAVVY TIP: Tiffany Parrish from location finder Amazing Space, which supplies locations to the BBC and Marks & Spencer, among others, says that you can’t be precious about your property if you want it to be used as a location. “Many companies will want to repaint or hang new wallpaper. If the idea of someone doing that to your house would horrify you, don’t put it up as a location.”

  • The property must be big and flexible. You don’t have to live in a castle or a mansion but your home must be big enough to accommodate a TV, photographic or film crew.

SAVVY TIP: Furniture companies and catalogues often specify large rooms so they can position a camera far enough away to photograph a sofa or bed without the room looking cramped.

  • You must be able to get on with people. It’s a people business and no matter how nice your house is if you’re rude to the crew you’re unlikely to get rebooked on a regular basis.

SAVVY TIP: You can lay down ground rules and you should expect your house to be treated with respect. But you may be expected to provide a room for people to be made up. And the crew will want to use your bathroom and kitchen. How would you feel about that?

  • Get your neighbours on your side. If you’re hiring your home for a TV or film crew you should expect a lot of traffic. How will your neighbours feel if all the parking bays are taken up? Or if there’s a lot of coming and going early in the morning or late at night?

SAVVY TIP: If you get on well with your neighbours, a bottle of wine or bunch of flowers may smooth any ruffled feathers. But you have to be prepared for disruption beyond your front door.

  • Use an expert to negotiate. Unless you know the industry and you’re comfortable negotiating a contract, this is best left to the location finders. They will know the market rates says Tiffany Parrish from Amazing Space, and will be able to negotiate on your behalf. “We know how big their budgets are and we know to ask, for example, whether there will be one shot in a magazine or a double-page spread and whether the star actress will bring 30 of her ‘people’ with her. It all makes a difference to the final fee.”

SAVVY TIP: Location finders will also check that the crew have their public liability insurance up to date and negotiate overtime if the photography or filming runs over. Expect to pay them commission of 20% of the fee.

  • Daily rates vary widely. For editorial photography you may be paid £500 a day (or £1,500 for an exceptional house). For TV and film locations you could be paid between £1,000 and £1,500 a day.

SAVVY TIP: You must be prepared to be on call as location agents will often want to come and recce suitable properties the day they’ve been given details about them.

Renting out your home as a location – Insurance

The crew will have their own public liability insurance. But you should tell your household insurer if your home is being used as a location. Depending on the number of people and duration, cover for theft may be restricted unless there’s evidence of a break-in. Accidental damage by paying guests (from renting out a room, for example) is often excluded. But this should be covered by the company’s own insurance anyway.

Related articles:

You can earn up to £7,500 a year tax free using the Rent a Room Scheme and take in a lodger

Renting a room to a lodger – steps to take before you rent out a room.

Should you move house or improve what you’ve got?

Useful links:

Location finders:

Amazing Space

Lavish Locations

The Collective

Location Works

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