Spare rooms, car bays go commercial (SpaceOut on The West)

April 18th, 2012

Suburban residents are turning their households into commercial property by cashing in on a new trend to rent out parking spots and spare rooms as storage units.

The new form of commercial property has been fuelled by demographic changes, which have squeezed storage in some high-density areas, while ensuring space to spare in the growing number of single person households.

And it could become a bigger business if the State Government acts on a discussion paper by the Planning Department that calls for free parking at shopping centres to be phased out. The paper calls for a cap on parking at retail and business centres across metropolitan Perth to promote public transport.

The Department of Transport warned that it was already monitoring the fledgling trend to rent out parking spots to ensure it did not breach regulations.

It said the practice was illegal in the central city area unless the site’s planning approval allowed it, it had been specifically approved by the Transport Minister, or the building received planning approval before July 1999. Breaches attracted hefty penalties of $5000.

Legal rentals were typically in apartment complexes, usually on the outskirts of the city or in the suburbs.

Renting Out Parking Space

Filmmaker Alice Ross said she decided to rent out her undercover parking spot at her Northbridge investment unit when her tenants told her they would not need it.

Rather than waste the space, she is offering it for $50 a week through Gumtree, a free local advertising website.

“It’s so easy because you don’t have to do anything except give the new tenants the key,” Ms Ross said.

Renting Out Storage Space

Residents are also turning spare rooms, garages and sheds into commercial units by renting them out as storage space, usually for $200 a month.

Andy Henderson, technical director of the Space Out website, said increasing density had put a premium on space, turning it into a handy profit-earner.

He said empty-nesters were embracing the trend, clearing out spare rooms to rent for storage.

Websites that advertise storage space offered options, including sea containers, indoor rooms, or outdoor sheds.

There was a premium on indoor facilities and rooms that could be locked and rooms that the renter could get access to independently.

“It’s literally a way to make money out of thin air,” Mr Henderson said. “It’s money for nothing.” OUT OF THIN AIR $200 The amount (a week) some empty-nesters are said to be earning by renting out spare rooms for storage.


As featured on The West

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