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Everything you need to know about monetizing your empty parking spot

TORONTO — When Toronto lawyer Pascal Thibeault moved into his condo, he was pleased with his new home, even though he had no use for the parking space it came with.

But the previous tenant had a trick he recommended to Thibeault: rent the space out to make a little extra cash.

Now Thibeault earns an extra $120 a month by allowing a neighbour to use the spot.

Before anyone considers renting out their space, Thibeault says they should dig into laws and regulations. Many municipalities and buildings have banned the practice, while others allow it only for building tenants because renting spots often requires remotes, keys or electronic tags that provide access to other amenities or secure areas.

“With a clicker, for example, in my building, a person can access the basketball court, they can access the pool, they can access the gym,” Thibeault says. “There’s gonna be security issues.”

Once you’ve established that you’re allowed to rent your space, turn your attention to price, says Thibeault.

He settled on $120 a month after taking a look at online marketplace Kijiji and the ads his neighbours had posted on his building’s bulletin board. You can also skim posts on community Facebook groups or parking specific platforms like CurbFlip, Rover or WhereIPark.

He saw that parking spaces were going for $15 or $20 a day, while monthly rates varied between $50 and $450 a month. Indoor spots and those near a downtown core tended to be priced higher.

Thibeault’s bulletin board showed people renting out spaces in the building’s garage for prices between $120 and $150. After one renter no longer needed the space, Thibeault settled on price at the low end of the scale in hopes of beating out the wealth of other options in the building.

And he got lucky. While he was lingering near the board one day, a neighbour came up and started taking pictures of the ads because he was in need of a space. Thibeault struck a deal.

If his renter needed the space only a day or two a week, he would have charged the renter less and maybe found other people to use the space the rest of the time.

“Some people will do some double dipping,” Thibeault says. “They will have someone parked there at night and then someone during the day probably who’s coming in from out of town just to work downtown.”

If you’re going to use an online parking platform, beware that some require membership and listing fees, take a commission or have a cap on how much you can charge. Marketplaces like Kijiji and Craigslist nix the fees, but don’t provide verification of advertised spots or offer help with handling payments, as some parking platforms do.

Regardless of how you find a renter, Thibeault recommends setting up a payment schedule — he gets paid at the start of the month — and getting your renter to sign a contract like he did because it helps set expectations around payment, offers clarity around everyone’s responsibilities, provides you with a record and most importantly, gives you some peace of mind.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2019.

The Canadian Press