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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 17:53 UK

Driveway rental market on the up

Zoe Kleinman
Working Lunch

car park
Is this a familiar scene?

The rental market may be taking a dip, but there's one niche sector that's motoring ahead during the downturn.

Increasing numbers of homeowners are renting out their driveways and garages to commuters fed-up with squeezing into over-priced and crowded car parks.

There are a number of letting agents who now specialise in hooking up these frustrated drivers with parking landlords.

They tend to be based online and there are many that operate UK-wide.

One such company is Parklet, which managing director Luke Kelly founded in 2004 after tiring of the situation himself.

Parking misery

"I was commuting from Chelmsford train station and was really getting frustrated with the parking that was available," he said.

"It was expensive, but worse than that was the lack of spaces. I noticed that householders nearby had parking spaces which weren't being used."

Luke Kelly
Luke Kelly's parking frustrations turned into a money spinner.

Mr Kelly initially knocked on doors asking residents whether they would be prepared to rent out their driveway - and Parklet was born. The company now has more than 19,000 driveways and garages on its books.

The cost of renting a driveway depends on its location - Parklet's average monthly rental price is £121. Their most exclusive space costs an impressive £575 per month, and is a secure underground spot in central London.

Renting and the recession

The recession has impacted on the market. Mr Kelly has observed that his tenants are moving jobs less often, and so are taking out longer contracts with their landlords - and some are losing their jobs or giving up their cars altogether.

"Overall we've seen an increase in the supply of spaces as people are interested in additional income - and we see motorists keen to save some money," he explains.

Contracts between landlords and tenants tend to be monthly arrangements.

At Parklet landlords must commit to not using the space at all during the agreed period - both five and seven-day contracts are available, leaving the driveway free at weekends if desired.

The tenant parks at his or her own risk - the landlord is not liable for any damage to the car while it is on their property.

However for those seeking to save money or take advantage of their own unused space, driveway rental can be just the ticket.

video and audio news
If you're finding parking a problem, how about borrowing someone else's space? Working Lunch's Zoe Kleinman visits a letting agency that specialises in driveways.

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