Ten ways to make money from your home

Renting out a spare room and opening a pop-up restaurant are just two options

Rent a room

The Government’s rent-a-room relief scheme allows people to earn up to €14,000 tax free when they provide accommodation on a long term for students or others. At the upper limit, that is €1,166 per month extra income. However, the scheme does come with some restrictions. It applies only to your permanent residence (a holiday home does not qualify), and granny flats with separate entrances do not qualify. You don’t have to own the house – if you are a in a rented house, and the landlord gives permission, you can rent out a room under the scheme.

It is an informal arrangement but always useful to draw up an agreement about house rules, such as having visitors, when rent should be paid, date of tenancy and whether a deposit is taken. You cannot claim the relief against income received for the use of the room from your child or civil partner, an employee or short-term guests, including those booking through online websites.

If you take in more than the allowance in rent over the course of a year, you risk being taxed on the entire income. The rental scheme does not affect capital gains exemption if you subsequently sell your home.

Start a B&B

In the past if you needed some extra money or to supplement the farm income, you took in guests on a bed and breakfast basis. The B&Bs were approved by Bord Fáilte – later Fáilte Ireland – and they ran education programmes to help you get started.


B&Bs were very successful until recent years, when the advent of cheaper hotels and alternative housing encroached on their market. The number of B&Bs has fallen from 4,000 in 2000 to 1,200 now, but it is starting to rise again. It costs €240 to be registered with Fáilte Ireland, but it is not obligatory. For that you get an assessment by an independent assessor, who will advise you on what is required to set up your home as a B&B. They will also give ideas on marketing. Average B&B rates in Dublin are from €35-€50pps per night and outside Dublin from €35-€45. Bandbireland.com markets B&B accommodation.

“Running a B&B is a business,” says John Mulcahy, head of hospitality at Fáilte Ireland, “and you must provide a warm welcome and a genuine breakfast to your guests” he said.

Rent out your parking space

In Dublin city centre, car parking is always expensive. People who have to drive in to the city are often willing to pay for a long-term parking space. Many people bought apartments with parking spaces they no longer use. Renting a parking space is a lucrative way of making some income from your property. Secure parking spaces in prime locations – such as the Georgian squares – are attracting rents of €250-€300 per month, while even suburban parking slots can earn their keep, particularly if they are located close to the Dart or Luas so that people can park and ride.

Parking spaces in apartment developments in the inner suburbs are attracting rents of €120-€150. Farther out, spaces on the northside of the city cost from €75-€120 and southside expect to achieve €80-€120. Car parking spaces are advertised on daft.ie and donedeal.ie.

Put your home in the movies

If you are prepared to put up with the disruption of having a film crew swarming all over your house, renting your home out as a location can be lucrative. Advertisement agencies are constantly on the lookout for houses where they can film – kitchens are particularly popular – while TV and film companies regularly scout for the homes and buildings to use for scenes. According to location manager Mick Swan, who has more than 20 years’ experience scouting for homes around Ireland, getting your home on screen is a fairly disruptive business.

“It can be very disruptive to the life of the house on the filming day(s). The type of project I do (high-end TV commercials, feature films, TV dramas, photo shoots etc) tend to have a lot of people and equipment involved. You would generally be talking about a crew of at least 40 people in the house with a large amount of filming technical equipment (big lights, cables, camera, flight cases etc) and a few trucks parked as close as possible.”

With budgets tighter than ever, the prospects of getting your home redecorated from top to bottom for a film are slim, though some changes may be made.

“We often make minor cosmetic changes to the room(s) we film in: change pictures on walls, swap out furniture, sometimes we even request to paint walls. What is important is that all changes are requested and agreed with the house owner in advance and the house is left exactly as we find it.”

"Obviously the only reason people do this is for the money," says Swan. "The kind of fee you could expect for a day's filming with a bit of prep the day before would be about €1,500." For contact details for Mick Swan and other locations managers see locationsguildofireland.com.

Take in students

"Digs" are still popular with students and people needing accommodation with a meal thrown in. There are a number of sites where you can register as a landlord and meet potential lodgers, such as getdigs.ie and collegecribs.ie. Prices are about €140-€190 per week, depending on how many night you want to offer. While having someone to stay for Monday to Friday only might sound like an ideal situation, lodgers will most likely want a seven-day arrangement.

Airbnb your space

In recent years there has been a big growth in online rental companies that will host your property and help you find guests or tenants. Airbnb is one of the best-known and most talked about. It is quite easy to set up a rental page, which is your shopfront for finding guests.

The website is intuitive and if you need it there is help at hand. It is important to have great photographs, so make up the bed before taking pictures. There is no cost to sign up, a commission of around 3 per cent is charged to you and guests pay 5-15 per cent to Airbnb. Dublin hosts earned an average of €4,900 last year, according to Airbnb, which has offices in Dublin. Guests who book on the site pay in advance, but the money is not paid to the host until 24 hours after the guests arrive.

There are other rental websites too

Homestay.com began in Ireland in 2013 and has 50,000 properties in 150 countries. People register their homes on the website with photographs, and guests can then contact the host if they are interested. There is an option for video calls on the website, and you can bring the iPad around the house showing off its best points. Host homes tend to be families, and they can be ideal for students and those relocating from another country. Average stays are 12 nights and earnings for hosts can be about €1,000 per month.

Take in a foreign student

Ireland is a popular country for students to learn English, and there are schools all around the county. Some operate only during summer holidays, but many operate all year round. It is not just young people who come to learn English – there are a lot of business people coming to Ireland to improve their language skills. Language schools are always looking for hosts to take in students, and payment can be about €200 per week. Contact your nearest language school for hosting details and isaccommodation.com.

Work from home

Working from home has undoubted financial advantages, chief among them the savings to be made on transport. Gone are the expensive morning and evening commutes and, if you live close enough to decent shops, you might even be able to get rid of the family car altogether. Even if that is not possible, just saving public transport costs to and from a workplace will probably save about €1,500 a year.

It is also possible to offset part of your household utility bills against tax. Not a huge proportion of them, however, maybe about 10 per cent or so – but with electricity prices set to rise again, the savings could still be significant.

Avoid the temptation to charge yourself rent, however. This could result in the portion of the house you use for work being reclassified as a commercial premises by your local authority and subject to rates. This in turn could have capital gains tax implications if ever you sell the house as that part of it would no longer be categorised as a principal private residence.

Open a pop-up restaurant

Okay, this last one is for keen cooks only,but if you have room in the kitchen and you like pot walloping, there’s money to be made from feeding strangers around your kitchen table. Not all pop-ups have to to be in city-centre lofts with menus by the up and coming chefs. Lunches, brunches and dinners for anywhere from two to 10 people could give your finances an occasional lift. Come up with a date, a menu, a price and an email address and put the word out to food columnists in magazines and newspapers, who are often looking for new ideas for readers to try.