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Earn Money With Short-Term Rentals

New websites connect local owners and borrowers to all sorts of personal items

If you have a power drill or chain saw you rarely use, you may be able to find someone who’d like to rent or borrow it. Several new peer-to-peer websites connect local owners and borrowers — allowing you to earn extra money from short-term rental of all sorts of items (from tools to camping equipment) while allowing others to save by not having to buy stuff they need for one-time or occasional use.

Zilok, Rentalic and SnapGoods are among the largest — serving as listing, reservation and payment portals (made via the borrower’s PayPal account or a credit card). These websites provide a contract, which usually includes a security deposit to ensure that merchandise is returned without damage.

Listings of items for rent, or items that someone needs to rent, are free. The renter is charged a commission of up to 10 percent of the rental price once the transaction is complete.

Income from occasional rentals — like that from yard sales — sometimes do not count as taxable income but when such ventures become a recurring business, the income generated may be considered taxable. You should consult a tax professional.

Similar websites that focus on local borrowing of items — but also include rental listings — include Share Some Sugar, which currently is free for both parties to use, and NeighborGoods, where group memberships cost $6 to $10 per month, depending on the duration.

Also of interest: Smart shopping at yard sales and thrift stores.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer issues.

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