Q: Can I rent out the private off-street parking outside my house? I own a house conveniently located near a Luas stop. The area outside my front door is paved and would fit about four cars – however I don’t have a car and will never have one.
I probably wouldn’t get much interest during Covid, but I was thinking about renting the space to one or two cars when people go back to the office. I would do it to an individual for a monthly fee, or through one of those apps that work like a parking meter where people can book and pay online.
Is this legal? And would there be any problems with the house insurance or other consequences? Do I have to pay tax on this income and how would I declare it?
A: Your query is timely as people are returning to the office and traffic is increasing. Based on your description, I am assuming that your property is on a street and is not part of an Owners' Management Company and that as the owner, rather than a tenant, you don't need the owner's permission when considering this option.
Parking is covered under the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997, and in Dublin under the Parking Control Bye-Laws, 2019. These regulations cover a variety of issues, including the issuing of resident parking permits for side-of-road parking in certain designated areas.
The first aspect to explore is if you (or a previous owner) received permission to alter your entrance in the first place to create the four parking spaces or was the area always paved.
If the spaces came about due to work on the property, planning permission should have been sought to alter the entrance and to create additional car parking spaces in what was a front garden. A simple search on the relevant local authority planning portal will reveal if this was done or not. If planning was not obtained by you, as the owner, you are liable for any enforcement action the local authority may choose to take as it is an offence under planning legislation to undertake any work needing permission without that permission having been secured (ie no planning permission in place).
If you did not receive planning permission, you will need to engage the services of a planning professional to prepare and submit the appropriate documentation to keep the changes – subject to the timeframe this could be by way of retention. When applying for retention you do so under the Planning and Development Act, 2000. However, a permission for retention planning application does not automatically absolve you from prosecution if enforcement action has already been taken against you. Additionally, you may not necessarily be granted permission and could be instructed to return the area to its original condition.
However, let’s assume that your parking is planning compliant. There are numerous websites advertising car parking spaces to rent on a weekly, daily, and even an hourly basis. However, you need to bear in mind that you are now seeking to utilise your property for commercial purposes.
Again, there are planning issues. In addition, this will involve various unknown persons using your property to park and entering and exiting the parking area at your property. You need to look at the insurance implications of this action. This will not be covered under your home insurance policy and any slips/trips or car damage and ensuing costs will fall on you as the property owner and space provider.
If you do wish to go ahead and use one of these websites, you need to establish the terms and conditions they impose on you as part of any arrangement. Subject to these, you should then engage with your current insurance provider to establish what type and level of cover is appropriate for this risk, if any, and how much it will cost you. Based on this you will be in a better position to establish how viable this idea is and what income it could generate.
This situation is particularly complicated and without direct knowledge of the site and your personal circumstances it is difficult to address the many potential issues which may arise. I would strongly recommend that you engage the services of an experienced chartered surveyor, as well as a legal and/or tax professional, so that you can review all your obligations, costs, and potential liabilities to establish if this idea is worth pursuing further.
Enda Mc Guane is a chartered planning and development surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie.