Things You Can Rent Out Besides a Home to Make Money

Three women relax in a backyard pool.
Getty Images

Homeowners with multiple properties often make some extra income by renting them out. In the United States, this is a big industry: individual landlords took in almost $354 billion in rental income in 2018 — though that number is before expenses. A home is what most people think of when it comes to things you can rent out.

But the percentage of U.S. tax-filers who reported owning rental properties the Internal Revenue Service is actually low. It represented only roughly 6.7% of filers — or 10.3 million people — in 2018, per Pew Research Center data. That means most of us will have to turn to something else to make passive rental income.

Not to fear: there is still hope. If you don’t have a second home to rent out, you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of things around your home, or plenty of places, that can provide you with some extra cash. Below are some of our best ideas for household items — or even spaces — that can start earning their keep.

What are things you can rent out?

1.Spare room

This is one of the more obvious things you can rent out. If you have a spare bedroom (and, ideally, a spare bathroom), consider this space a rental opportunity. It’s not as uncommon as you might think. Data from 2017 shows that almost 32% of adults lived in a shared household, according to TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions’ SmartMove.

There are a few important pieces of advice to keep in mind if you go this route. First, you’ll be living with your potential tenant while serving as their landlord. This, of course, can present some inherent complications — like making sure your household rules are enforced while inhabiting the same space. That symbiotic relationship goes both ways. As a landlord, you’re obligated to maintain a livable home. You’ll want to acquaint yourself with the legal requirements of your landlord status. That generally means keeping the home bug-free and maintaining functioning heating and cooling, for starters. But you’ll need to research any municipal nuances as well.

Whether it is an annual arrangement or a short-term agreement, you’ll also have to determine financial stipulations going into the lease. Will the tenant pay a security deposit? Will they need to pay a fee if they bring a cat or dog with them? When will rent be due and how much will that amount be?

There’s no shortage of platforms on which to list your home. If you decide to go the traditional, annual lease route, you can list on Zillow Rental Manage. It encompasses Zillow, Trulia and Hotpads. There also are places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. If you’re wanting to rent out your home to potential travelers or those who will stop by for short periods of time, you might instead consider sites like Homestay, VRBO or the classic AirBnB.

2. Car

Your car doesn’t have to just be a money suck. It can actually serve as a source of income for you. Services like Turo and Getaround, a local car-sharing app, are great places to list your car and earn as much as $800 a month (per Getaround.)

But just remember you’ll have to meet certain requirements before you can list your car. Progressive Insurance notes that many car-rental companies have prerequisites before signing your vehicle up for their site. These generally include having car insurance, a certain mileage and age, a clean title history and a fair market value under a certain amount. You’ll also want to let your car insurance provider know you’re renting out the car. If you don’t notify them and they find out, this can be enough to drop coverage, so it’s definitely best to do it in advance.

3. Backyards

Sure, you knew that large green space behind your spacious home was a plus when you bought the house. But did you know it’s a potential source of some extra cash? Backyards can be a powerful money-making tool — you just have to know how to use them.

Whether you want to rent out your backyard for a kid’s birthday party or allow film crews to descend on your property, there’s a way to do it. One easy platform to use is Peerspace, which facilitates hourly rentals of various locally-owned spaces. This can range in luxury from a rustic backyard garden in Chicago to multi-acre ranch in Texas, so don’t be deterred if your offering is on the humbler side. Rentals tend to go for around $100 an hour, per Peerspace. However, you likely won’t pocket all of that money yourself.

If you’re an animal-lover and don’t like the idea of an influx of people on your property, you could instead go the route of renting out your backyard as a Sniffspot, “a private dog park for local dog owners.”

4. Swimming pools

There is a site specifically designed for the purpose of renting out your pool, with a name to match: Swimply. According to the organization’s site, swimming pool listers can make as much as $5,000 a month just from renting out their pool. Some homeowners claimed to make as much as $25,000 a month in one instance and $177,000 in two years in another.

Per Swimply’s instructions, the requirements are simple. You pick a price, upload some photos of your pool and wait for the requests to roll in. (The site does charge a service fee of 15%.) Swimply said it protects general liability claims up to $2 million and property protection up to $10,000 per occurrence, so rest assured that there is some recourse if your property is damaged in some way.

That said, before listing your home on a site like Swimply, it’s a good idea to be clear on the nuances of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Just like with renting out your car, you run the risk of endangering your policy if your insurer finds out you’ve been renting out your pool without notifying them first.

5. Driveway space

If you live in a car-centric city, then you know how hard it can be to find a parking space. Maybe you’re going to the big game or trying to find a space before your favorite artist’s headlining concert. How much would you pay to park in someone’s conveniently-located driveway?

If you happen to live close to a venue, stadium or just a major downtown area, your driveway may be put to better use on the weekends than housing your vehicles. Whether you have a garage, driveway or even included parking space to offer, consider listing your resources.

Websites like Vanly or Neighbor are a good place to start. You can list your space on these websites, generally for free, and pay a small listing fee if someone does decide to rent your space. On Vanly, for example, that fee is 10%. Vanly suggests you can make as much as $1,000 per month by renting your driveway for those with camper vans or RVs. Neighbor, on the other hand, is geared more toward a range of spaces for a range of vehicles. This includes a garage, a driveway or an unpaved lot. Unlike Vanly, Neighbor charges a 4.9% + $0.30 processing fee for each monthly payout, per its website.

A woman rides a bike.
Getty Images

6. Bikes

So let’s say you’ve been reading through the items on this list and thinking, Well, I don’t have a house, a backyard, a swimming pool or a driveway. You may have this everyday item: a bicycle.

Turns out you can, in fact, make money off of the bicycle collecting dust in your apartment. Sites like Spinlister and ListNRide allow you to rent out your bike to interested parties for little initial expense. On Spinlister, for example, you can list your bike completely for free. The only catch? If someone does rent it, you’ll have to pay a 17.5% fee to the site for any rentals. Spinlister also guarantees the safety of your bike up to $1,000. For bicycles, the site suggests a rental fee of roughly $7/hour, $20/day or $100/week, giving you a sense of what you might be able to earn.

7. Camping equipment

Say you’re a fervent camper and have the gear to go with it — tents, sleeping bags, pillows and more. You can make money off of what you already own by renting it out to campers in need of what you have.

Sites like Loanables and FriendWithA help you connect with potential customers. On FriendWithA, for example, you can rent out everything from a camera or a bike to a pressure-washer. These are obviously not all camping-related, but you can also fill in those categories as well. What you can’t rent out are places, think homes or RVs, services or anything illegal (goes without saying). The site charges a 10% service fee on your rental, as well as insurance. Insurance costs are calculated with this formula and will help you should one of your items get damaged.

8. Clothes

You’ve likely heard of Rent the Runway, or services that allow you to rent out designer clothes for a fraction of the price. But what if you’re in the opposite situation and want to rent out some of your lightly-worn items for some extra cash and the chance to give them a new temporary home? (Are we the only ones who think of clothes as needing a place to live?)

Apps like Tulerie allow listers to rent out their used designer clothing, bags, shoes and accessories. You’ll have to ship out the items once someone requests them and professionally clean them before each use. Tulerie, for example, is free to join but charges a 24% lending fee on every transaction, which is relatively steep compared to the average rental site.

9. Wedding decorations

Once your wedding is finished, you may realize that the event burned a small hole in your pocket and you’d like to find a way to make that up. Look around to look for things you can rent out. Here’s your answer: rent out your old decor. This may be more of a word-of-mouth service rather than an app, but try connecting with photographers and wedding companies or local rental companies.

Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.