Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Booming car-loan trend catching on in Godzone

Kiwis following Airbnb formula to list their vehicles online for others to use for a fee.

Your car can be out making you money while you're at the office.

A trend which is booming across Europe has caught on in New Zealand with a handful of start-up companies offering online services allowing people to rent out their own vehicles when they're not using them.

MyCarYourRental, YourDrive and Roam are some of the Kiwi companies looking to capitalise on the idea here.

MyCarYourRental founder Henrik Stovring recently started his service, and has signed up 500 users.

His website offers a fleet of 140 vehicles, ranging from $25 a day for a 1991 Nissan Pulsar at the lower end all the way through to a black 2008 BMW 335i convertible for $600 a day.

Mr Stovring compares the service to Airbnb, where people list their own properties online for accommodation.

"It's that concept but for cars," he says. "[Peer-to-peer car rentals] are really taking off in Europe, in Denmark where I come from. Looking towards Europe and even Australia, it's growing very, very quickly and it's really a trend.

"Especially for young people, instead of owning their own car, they still have access to transport."

Before a car can be rented it must be deemed fit for road use and given a certificate of fitness.

But Mr Stovring says ultimately the responsibility for the condition of the car rests with the people listing and renting the car.

"It goes for all rental cars in New Zealand that they have to go through a certificate of fitness, which is basically the same as a warrant of fitness but it's a little more strict and it has to pass that test before we rent out the car the first time.

"Just like any other vehicle on the road, both the driver and the owner are responsible for the car being in a safe condition.

"That means the renter has to ensure that the car should always be checked and in good working order, brakes, steering and all those sort of things should be okay.

"If someone rents a car that is not up to standard then they can contact me and we will find a solution to that, that way you could say it's not too different from a standard car rental."

Control over price also falls within the domain of the customer, with listers able to set their own rates for the cost of their cars.

"It's completely up to the car owner how much they charge. I'm not going to dictate what is the right price for a car. I might say this car is worth this amount of money but that's up to the person listing the vehicle, you could rent it out for free if you really wanted to."

Mr Stovring says his company takes between 20 and 25 per cent of the cost as its fee to cover administration and insurance.

"The total amount all depends on what car you drive. Insurance is the biggest cost for me, therefore if you list your Porsche it will be more expensive than if you list your Corolla."

Adrian Sharp listed his customised 2008 Nissan Vanette for rent on MyCarYourRental, and it was hired by a tourist couple.

He had put together a raft of extra features in the van, including a solar panel, switchboard, king single bed, a fold-out kitchen and portable WiFi.

Mr Sharp said he definitely recommends using a peer-to-peer rental service.

"Kiwis have got so many cars, it's good to have some going back out. It seems like a waste to have a car sitting there if you're not going to use it.

"People take care of their cars better than rental places sometimes ... and it's a better experience because it's person to person, instead of going through some company."

Mr Sharp said he enjoyed the chance to hear directly about the experience from the people he rented his van out to.

"They told me they were over the moon, they'd never had anything like it."

- NZ Herald

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