It’s becoming an increasingly popular way of raising additional income, but Londoners who rent out their driveways and garages to motorists are risking huge fines.
Westminster council has warned that people wishing to let out parking spaces must apply for a change-of-use permission, as the practice constitutes a commercial enterprise.
The warning follows the case of a Westminster resident who claimed she was threatened with a £20,000 penalty for breaking planning rules after she rented out three parking spaces attached to her property in Central London.
The council defended its actions, saying it only issued the threat after receiving complaints from neighbours that the woman was causing a disturbance.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Paul Pearson of motorists group penaltychargenotice.co.uk, said: “If you start renting out your property, the council will look to construe this as commercial use. It’s getting more popular because it earns money for householders. At the same time it removes cars from the street and councils should be supporting this.”
Renting out private parking spaces has rocketed in popularity. Gumtree currently lists around 11,000 separate vacant plots, around a third more than last year.
Residents of Merton and Brent have been able to take particular advantage of the scheme, earning money from visitors to major sporting events at Wimbledon and Wembley stadium.
However, councils are concerned that the practice is leading to a loss in revenue from pay and display parking – and of course any fines resulting from improperly parked cars.
A spokesman for Westminster council said: “We do not ban parking in drives — people can apply for planning permission. We operate a common sense policy, and where there are breaches of planning control, the council has a duty to investigate.”
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