Brother, Can You Spare A Sparefoot?

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Perry Nelson, 31-year-old M.B.A. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, rents an apartment and makes money off it. For the past semester, she has been charging $25 a month to rent out the space next to a desk in the corner of her dining room as storage to a student who is studying abroad.

How did she come up with this idea? She thanks Sparefoot.com's CEO, Chuck Gordon, for the tip.

"I heard Chuck speak about SpareFoot and thought it could be a great way to earn a little extra money off my unused space."

SpareFoot, an online marketplace for self-storage listings in the U.S., has been helping individuals and now, companies, earn top dollar for their unused space since its launch in 2008.

The process is easy: individuals who wish to rent out their available apartment space post a listing on Sparefoot.com and wait for those interested in renting space for storage to contact them. Gordon says people list everything from closets to garages and extra bedrooms.


Currently, SpareFoot has more than 125,000 individual storage spaces available nationwide, of which approximately 90 percent are listed by self-storage companies. SpareFoot consolidated its listing process into one, and although the Web site copy seems to focus on self-storage facilities, Gordon says his company still works with individuals with extra space and encourages them to go through the process and rent out any kind of unused area.

And is leasing space in a rented property illegal? Yes, according to Sam Austin, program specialist at the Austin Tennants' Council. Individuals are not supposed to rent the property--no matter if it is a closet or a spare bedroom--without the landlord's written consent. In Nelson's case, her landlord does not know that the graduate student is renting out space in her apartment, but she says she doesn't have any concerns about it. "It's really just a few of a classmate's things in the corner of my apartment," Nelson says.

She plans to continue renting out her dining room corner this semester. Although she does not charge much for storage space, Nelson says the extra spending money for gas or drinks each month is a big help.
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