Millions of people are choosing to work from home. It’s cost-effective and efficient, but it’s not necessarily easy for everyone. Some people simply don’t have a big enough house free of distractions to serve as a workspace. Increasingly, young telecommuters are looking to work out of a rented office space in someone else’s home.
If you have a spare bedroom or a quiet space somewhere in your house, you could put it to great use by renting it out as a ‘home office’ for nearby telecommuters. Unless you’re looking to sell your house quickly or rent out a room on Airbnb, this is the best way to generate some passive income without much hassle.
A Break From Traditional Offices
Jonathan Mitchell, of ethical fashion startup BrothersWeStand, says he looked out for a spare room in someone else’s house because he wanted an inspiring workplace. Instead of renting out a boring office cubicle in a massive business park, he opted for the kitchen island in a neighbor’s house. Freelancers like Mitchell are growing in number and many of them are really young. Millennial entrepreneurs and professionals are opting for spare rooms they can rent out by the hour or by the day instead of making a long-term commitment with a massive office rental corporation. It’s a break from traditional workspaces that works out for both parties. The freelancer gets access to a convenient spot and the homeowner gets to earn income on her house while she’s away at work the whole day. The homeowner has the place all to themselves by late-evening.
Cashing on this trend are online platforms like Spacehop and Vrumi. Both platforms connect freelancers and homeowners who agree on ‘daytime’ working hours and rental prices per day. These platforms are the only ones available now for this concept but it’s safe to assume there could be a lot more in the future. Breather in the US and OfficeRiders in France already offer similar services. The sharing economy has pushed people to use every idle asset they have. Sites like Spacehop allow you to use your house when it’s idle much the same way Uber allows you to use your car when it’s got free seats.
Trust and Taxes
Most of these on-demand offices are meant for high-income professionals, but there are lingering concerns over safety and taxes. Airbnb initially offered a host guarantee for $1m, but has since replaced that scheme with a more traditional home insurance policy for hosts. Theft and contents can be covered under similar scheme while renting out office space. However, since there is no tax relief for renting out rooms you may have to pay taxes on all income generated this way.
Depending on your location and property value, you can expect to rent out a spare room for anywhere between $10 to $30. Perhaps a lot more if your property is exclusive and luxurious. Renting out spare rooms in your house while you’re away at work may be the most lucrative and convenient way to squeeze income from your house.