With parking spaces in towns and cities in short supply and costs rising, many homeowners have found a new way of making money out of their homes. By letting out their driveways, garages and private parking spaces they're boosting their income while helping out frustrated motorists struggling to find safe places to park their cars. According to classified ads and community website Gumtree, the past six months have seen a massive increase in the number of parking spaces and garages for hire. The site now has a section for people looking to rent a space or who have a space they want to let out. If you look at the cost of parking your car, it's no surprise that the private rental market is on the up. Research by insurer Direct Line shows that parking charges in the UK have soared in the past six years, increasing by an average of 25% across the country. Those outside London have suffered the biggest rise. Motorists in Hertfordshire, Northumberland and Kent have experienced staggering increases of 90% since 2000. Londoners lose out Despite recent hikes outside the capital, Londoners still fork out the most for parking their cars. The average cost for two hours is now £7.99 in Westminster, £7.32 in Islington and £7.01 at Heathrow. A number of specialised websites advertising parking spaces and garage lets have sprung up in the past year or so. These sites offer to match people with space to let with people who need somewhere to park, whether for the long-term or for a couple of hours of shopping. The idea for Parkatmyhouse.com came to 23-year-old Anthony Eskinazi while he was on holiday in San Francisco in June last year. The site now has around 4,000 users. "I was attending a Giants' game with a friend, and found that there were massive queues to get into the stadium car park and a $10 charge," he says, "Yet I noticed lots of empty driveways in the neighbourhood." Parkatmyhouse puts space owners and those wanting to rent in contact with one another - the fee and other details are worked out between the two parties. It provides standard contracts and charges space providers a fee equivalent to 10% of their revenue at the end of the month. Registering and listing your parking space on the site is free. Drivers or parkers looking for a space enter a postcode, city or keyword related to their desired location in the search bar at the top of the page. Space owners can choose when they want to let their space - all the time, when they are out at work Monday to Friday or just when they are on holiday, for example. Slots can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as a year. The choice is yours Youcanpark.com offers a similar service but charges 15% commission, although it deals with the whole financial side of things: the person renting the space pays the site, which passes the fees, less commission, on to you every month. Rival site Parklet.co.uk has more than 9,000 parking spaces or garages to let in towns and cities around the UK. Renters can choose between a five-day or seven-day contract, which gives them the right to park in the space 24 hours a day. It charges 15% of the gross monthly rental fee plus a £20 administration fee in the first month. Other sites offering similar services include aparkingspace.com, yourparkingspace.co.uk and peasy.com. Location is key when it comes to making money from your driveway or parking space. Many renters are commuters, and spaces just outside the London congestion zone, in city centres or near transport links are in great demand. If the space has CCTV, lighting or good security, all the better. Money to be made So how much can you make? Unsurprisingly, Londoners can rake in the most by renting out their space. Statistics compiled by yourparkingspace.co.uk show that London homeowners can rent out a parking space for an average of £250 a month. Renters can earn £140 a month in Manchester, £125 in Belfast and Leeds, and £80 in Birmingham. Peasy.com serves just the 32 London boroughs and says Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea are the most lucrative areas for space owners. Average annual rents are £3,564 and £3,516 respectively. These rates compare well with council-run car parks in central London that charge anything up to £35 for nine hours or more of parking. Using a car park in Soho for nine hours a day, five days a week for 52 weeks a year would set you back £9,100. Alternatively, the car club StreetCar - a self-service car rental scheme that allows members to hire cars by the hour - is on the lookout for spaces to park its fleet of cars. Space owners receive free StreetCar membership worth £49.50, a market-rate monthly payment and/or free monthly driving credits. You also have a StreetCar on your doorstep. Renting out your parking space or garage can also be a good idea in terms of home security. A car on the drive while you are at work or on holiday will give potential burglars the impression that you are at home. However, you should tell your insurer what you are doing, especially if you are renting out your garage. Peter Gerrard, head of insurance at price comparison site moneysupermarket.com, says: "It is important to make sure your home is properly insured and secured, especially if the garage allows direct access to your house. You must inform your insurance company immediately, as should the person renting the garage." Of course, the big disadvantage of renting out your parking space is that you cannot always use it yourself, but if you have space for two cars it could be a very easy and convenient way of earning a few bob.