A website where users can rent storage space in their neighbours' homes was launched in the capital today.

The site - which claims to be the first of its kind in the world - acts as a "dating agency" for people in need of storage and those with available space who are willing to rent it out at a fraction of the cost of commercial storage units.

Users who let out their space can either charge or accept payment in the form of services such as gardening, dog walking or babysitting.

It is free to list and search storemates.co.uk but when two people become "store mates" the website, which is being run as a social enterprise, takes a fee equivalent to two weeks' rent. After that all income is taken by the owner of the space.

Founder Shaff Prabatani, 41, came up with the idea after his girlfriend Louise Simonsen, 34, moved into his Streatham flat and they found that they did not have enough room to store their joint possessions.

Rather than pay up to 100 a month for a commercial storage unit, Mr Prabatani, who works as a youth worker for Westminster council, decided to put flyers through the doors of his neighbours asking if they had any storage space available to let.

When he received 10 responses from neighbours, he realised that the idea could work on a bigger scale.

He said: "I ended up paying about 10 a month to store it in my neighbour's garage when I could have been paying 100 a month for commercial storage. ...
It'll end in tears when a hoarder moves in next door.