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Last updated Mar. 14, 2023 by Peter Jakes
Rent is a typical cost of living, so it might seem hard to avoid it. However, it’s not impossible to live rent-free. Consider one of the following options if your living costs are too high or you want to find a creative way to cut them.
Depending on your money and your specific situation, some legit ways to live rent-free ideas may work better for you than others.
The price of houses rents is skyrocketing! It is becoming almost impossible to afford house rent. This article guides you if you want legit ways to live rent-free.
Why Should You Live Rent-free Even If You Can Afford Your Rent?
Aside from the obvious advantage of saving money, Have you ever cringed when you saw how much rent you had to pay?
Or thought you couldn’t move to a place like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco because the rent was too expensive?
Most of the time, your rent or mortgage payment is considered affordable if it takes up less than 30% of your income.
However, rent can be a much bigger part of the cost of living in some cities. For example, the real estate website StreetEasy predicted that in 2015, new renters in Brooklyn would spend almost 60% of their income on rent.
If that number makes your head spin, check out these ways you might be able to live in an expensive city without paying rent.
This guide shows you how to live rent-free in various ways, such as sharing your living space or taking work opportunities worldwide. Living rent-free may be one of the best steps to financial freedom.
Is It Possible to Really Live Rent-Free?
You can live without paying rent. Which can make a huge difference in how much money you have in the long run.
So many people spend too much on rent. They get a “luxury apartment” in a good area and spend 50% of their take-home pay on a place. Most people who rent these high-end apartments are still living paycheck to paycheck. Then they say they can’t save because they don’t have enough money.
Many people’s highest cost and biggest chance to save money is their rent. Paypant.com always tell people to try to cut their biggest expenses first because the money they save can be used in the future.
Don’t rent an expensive apartment unless you invest at least 20% of your income. First, save at least 20% of what you earn, and then you can spend the rest. Then, if you have enough money, rent a nice place.
Lastly, some people can live without paying rent because they own their homes outright. There are a few ways to live without paying rent that you can look into.
But it’s important to remember that living rent-free can be a great perk, but it also comes with challenges and responsibilities.
Related: 8 Ways to Make Money Renting Out Your Car
1. Become a Live-in Airbnb Property Manager
A lot of people rent out their homes on Airbnb. Since many Airbnb hosts like to travel, they need someone to manage their property while away.
As a property manager, you can assist Airbnb hosts with turnover. You can also help look over the property by living in it.
Some Airbnb property managers live in one area of the property for a discounted Airbnb price or even for free. But be careful because your rental agreement may have rules about home sharing, especially if you live in a corporate building.
If your landlord is old-fashioned, they probably won’t have any rules, but you should still check. Also, make sure you save money for taxes. Income from Airbnb is taxed, and I know some people whose Airbnb income got them in trouble with the IRS.
You also want to be extra careful if you rent out your own rental since there are limitations on what will be covered with your renter’s insurance (ALWAYS HAVE RENTER’S INSURANCE).
2. Free Lodging in Exchange for Home Improvements
If you can take care of things around the house, there’s a way for you to live rent-free. This way, demand that you exchange your labor for a free lodge.
How do I find work-for-rent opportunities?
Check Craigslist, local community websites, and Facebook groups. Look for houses that need repairs or maintenance.
Then ask the house owners if they can let you lodge for free in exchange for your labor. Rent Out a Room in Your House or Apartment
Renting a room in your apartment is a good way to live rent-free. You can charge your tenants/roommates to afford the price of rent. With this method, you can afford money for rent without having to work for it.
3. Rent an Apartment and Sublet it For a Higher Price
You rent your apartment for more than you pay and put the extra money in the bank. You can even look for an apartment to do this, and it’s easier if it’s in the same building or a place you already know.
Check your rental contract to see if this is allowed, but most of the rental agreements I’ve looked at don’t say anything about “sublet rental rates” or other restrictions.
There are rules about when and how you can sublease, but not how much you can charge the subtenant. The money is sometimes between the lines.
The rent side job is a lot easier to do if your landlord doesn’t bother you or if you live in an area where you got a great deal.
However, if you live in a location where the rent does not increase easily, this may not make you money.
But if you live in places like New York or Chicago, rents have increased by more than 100%. So you can rent your apartment and make more from your rent in a month. In addition, your landlord won’t disturb you if you pay your rent.
Also, check your area’s subletting law and that your landlord is OK with having a different face on his property.
This is easy to do in areas with many students or buildings where the management company is overworked and underpaid, which is most of the time.
Another option is to ask your friends or even people on Craigslist if you can take over their lease. When you take over a lease, you might be able to sublet it immediately for more money. If you look hard enough, you can find many good deals. But don’t forget to do your work.
One good thing about rent going up so fast is that if you’ve lived in a neighborhood for a while, you can probably sublet your apartment for a lot more than you pay now. Unless your landlord is smart, you should look for a new one.
4. Live Rent-free in a Boat
This rent-free living arrangement is very similar to the previous one. However, you have a sail-powered house instead of a house on wheels.
Of course, you’ll need to buy a small, sturdy boat and find a suitable location near the pier to ‘park’ it, ensuring it’s protected from strong winds and waves. This concept is not suitable for everyone due to the following issues:
Motion and sea sickness – even if you’re not sailing on the open sea, your boat will rock gently at all times during calm weather. When the wind picks up, the waves become more powerful and can float your boat down the canal or river if the mooring pins lose.
Also, some people are generally sick while in the sea. You have first to check if you are one of them.
Proximity to town – this option will not work if you do not live in a town with a river or canal running through it.
Routine work – while you may save money on rent, you must still purchase fuel for the engine and lighting system. In addition, the batteries must be serviced regularly, the deck must be swept daily, waste from the toilet must be drained daily, and water pumps must be serviced regularly.
A lot of work is involved in living rent-free on a boat, so the motivation must be stronger than just saving money to enjoy the experience truly.
5. House Hack Your Way To Free Rent
It is costly to become a homeowner. However, you could make enough money from house hacking to cover your mortgage and then some.
House hacking entails purchasing a property, living in one part of it, and renting out the rest to pay off the mortgage.
The first step is to purchase a home. Traditionally, saving 20% for a down payment on a home is a good idea. However, a 5% down payment is possible with conventional, FHA, or VA loans if you’re considering house hacking.
So, before embarking on this, check ways to pay off your mortgage early and benefit fully from your house-hacking investment if you intend to buy a house.
You must also be comfortable with the responsibilities of a landlord. You’ll have to keep track of everyone’s rent payments and maintain your property. However, this idea can be very profitable with a little work if you live in a hot rental market.
How does House Hacking Work?
You rent an apartment in the best part of town, which costs a lot per room. Maybe you rent a three-bedroom apartment. You talk to the landlord and agree on a good rent. The landlord also agrees that you can rent out the other two rooms.
Because the area is so popular, you can rent out the last two rooms for enough to cover the whole rent. This means that you don’t have to pay anything for the apartment. The hard part is, of course, getting the landlord to agree to let you do this.
You must show that you will be a good tenant and have a job. Unfortunately, you’re also not likely to find a landlord who will do this immediately. So it would be best to keep looking until you find a landlord who agrees.
While buying does not always make sense, it may not be cheaper given the extremely high rents in most cities.
However, if you plan on staying in the same town for at least a few years, you could make a lot of money on the investment.
6. Become an AU Pair and Avoid Rent
AU pairs are people who perform household jobs and childcare services. In exchange for their services, these people are made to live with the host family. If you search for a way to live without paying rent, you can become an AU pair.
Becoming an AU pair comes with several benefits. In addition to living rent-free, you’ll also be given free food and transportation fees.
Also, since you’ll be living with a host family in another country, it’s a great chance to learn about other cultures.
To be an au pair in some countries, you need to know the basics of their language. If you want to learn a foreign language, you will learn it much faster if you live there.
Each country has its own rules, such as what age you have to be. However, most au pairs are between the ages of 17 and 30. Most au pairs stay with a family for at least a year.
7. Live Rent-free with Your Parents or Relatives
Nobody wants to live with their parents because of the stigma. We know — having your own space is a wonderful thing.
On the other hand, living with your parents allows you to save money like a fiend and have time to chase other financial obligations. You can live with your parents while on a project or trying to pay off your student loans.
Living with your parents or relatives is an excellent way to save money and live rent-free. This option lets you live comfortably without worrying about basic necessities and house rent.
However, remember not to take your parents for granted. In exchange for free or low rent, you can do chores, care for younger siblings, or cook for your family.
8. Live Rent-free in Your RV Or Car
If you own a car, you can live in it. Most car owners who can’t afford rent have adopted this method. Living in an RV vehicle lets you save money, meet new people, and de-clutter your life.
Unlike the house-sitting option, this way to live rent-free requires some money and engineering skills. We’ve seen movies where whole families live in recreational vehicles (RVs), but the vast majority of millennials can’t afford to do that. A van or even a caravan, on the other hand, is much more likely.
There are a lot of places to get cheap RV rentals so that you can rent an old van for $1 per day.
You can also buy an old one, fix it up to make it liveable by adding a bed, storage space, a basic lighting system (solar panels, for example), a toolkit, cooking tools, including a stove, a place to eat, and anything else you want and have room for.
People love the freedom of living in vans, but this way of life also has clear downsides.
First, your car is your home, and you need to know how to care for both, so you don’t get stuck somewhere bad at the wrong time. Also, living spaces are very small and can get dirty if they aren’t kept up well. Last but not least, what about the bathroom and parking?
All of these things need to be carefully planned ahead of time, but it’s not a hard job for people who like to try new things.
9. Live in a Mobile Home Park and Offer to Fix Homes
Living in a mobile home park is another option, just like in an RV van. A mobile park is an area with mobile homes and travel trailers. It’s a good place to live temporarily.
An internet search for “Mobile Home Parks + your city” will reveal the names and addresses of mobile home parks in your area.
10. Work as a House Sitter And Live Rent-Free.
When homeowners go on vacation or must leave their homes unattended for other reasons, they will pay you to live on their property while they are away. You may be in charge of the house’s basic upkeep, such as watering the lawn, caring for pets, redirecting mail, and keeping burglars at bay.
Depending on your contract, this could be a full-time or part-time job with the added benefit of free housing.
Many babysitting jobs come with house sitter roles and house sitter websites connecting homeowners and house sitters.
These homeowners find someone to watch over their home while they’re away and the latter a free place to stay.
As a house sitter, you might move from one house to another. If something doesn’t work out, it’s good to have a backup plan, like a friend’s couch. But sometimes you will be able to stay longer at a certain place.
For example, you might get a job where the host goes on a long-term business trip (for a year or so).
These ads often say that the person can take care of a pet. Many pet owners who frequently travel for work or vacation want a live-in pet sitter to care for their furry family members while they are gone.
Pet owners don’t always want to leave their animals at the border. The pet feels safer and happier at home because it is surrounded by things it knows.
11. Get Free Rent From The Government.
There are several ways to get free rent from the government. First, the United States government offers programs that assist low-income households with rent money.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps people through the House Choice Voucher Program, which assists people with rent funds.
In addition, each state in America has a program that funds low-income families with rent money. You can apply for this program. Furthermore, many states and municipalities have rental assistance programs.
As a result, those in need of rental assistance have a variety of options. In addition, low-income Americans can use these programs to free up much-needed funds for other essential expenses.
12. Get a Job That Comes with Free Accommodation
Numerous jobs provide free housing as a perk. For example, certain real estate jobs, such as property managers, allow them to live on-site because they handle the property’s daily operations.
This position applies to large-scale real estate projects (housing communities and apartment complexes) and small-scale projects (motels or hostels).
Depending on your salary and the contract terms, the perk comes with some responsibilities, such as tenant management, lease arrangements, rent collection, maintenance, etc.
Jobs in other industries provide comparable benefits. For example, suppose your job requires you to travel to another country.
In that case, your ex-pat employee package will most likely include free housing, in which the company agrees to reimburse your rent expenses or allocates money separately within your salary for this purpose.
13. Live Rent Free with Seasonal Jobs
Especially if you work in national parks or other government-run venues, seasonal jobs often require a place to live.
When looking for seasonal jobs, look for ones that will give you a place to live. Many temporary jobs that hire people worldwide also provide them a place to live. This accommodation accompanying employment is done to attract more good workers.
Jobs that Allow you Live Rent-free
● English Tutor
Have you been teaching for longer than two years? If you are willing to teach people and travel worldwide, your life can be great. International schools in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Europe are happy to hire Western teachers.
You might be able to get an apartment with a pool, a gym, or even a steam room. Plus, there is a place to park. Some extra benefits might be complicated health insurance plans and free flights home for the summer for you and your family.
Where to look for a job like this? Sign up with services like International School Services or Search Associates
● Civil Engineer
Do you know anything about civil engineering? You can travel the world, make a good living, and not worry about rent. Many places don’t have enough civil engineers with the right skills, but they have the money to hire them from the UK, Canada, and the US.
As a result, cities like Dubai, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi have a very high demand.
● After-hours security guard
Security guards who work after hours must be there for a certain number of hours. Most of the time, they don’t have much to do besides keep their ears and eyes open and ensure no one breaks in.
● Hospitality Worker
You won’t make much money if you work in hospitality. But these jobs don’t usually require much work, so you can study and finish your degree while having a free place to live and a salary.
You can find a hotel in your own country or another country. For example, you could spend up to six months in a ski resort or on a beautiful beach. Hospitality jobs are easy to find for people who like to try new things but are also responsible and work hard.
You can expect to make more money if you have special skills to teach, like how to ski or scuba dive.
● Park Rangers
Park Rangers patrol their parks, give tours, and work to prevent wildfires from igniting. Because it is a full-time job, people are usually provided with housing.
Expect rustic living conditions in a remote location, but that’s part of the job’s appeal. Basically, being a park ranger is like getting paid to hike and explore the park.
14. Rent a House and Collect Rent From Roommates
Living with roommates can have both advantages and disadvantages. If this is your lifestyle, there is one significant advantage: your roommates can pay your rent.
The concept is simple: find an attractive apartment or house, choose one room for yourself, and rent out other rooms at a higher rate.
This way, each room in a 4-5 bedroom house can generate extra monthly income. You’ll be able to cover your expenses and basically live rent-free.
Do your best to set a fair price that will allow you to pay your rent while being reasonable for your roommates.
Sign a contract with your tenants outlining the rental price and general living rules to make your lives easier. It would be best if you also considered paying a damage deposit.
If you don’t know much about the people who will be living with you, check their background and ensure they have a source of income to pay the rent.
15. Other Ways To Avoid Paying Rent
Move to a Tiny House
Tiny houses are growing in popularity. Many who can’t afford the price of rent are becoming owners of tiny houses. These houses are easy to move and can be built on trailers or wheels. They are also easy to move around.
Live as a Caretaker For an Uninhabited Property
Another way to live in a house without paying rent is by applying for the job of a house caretaker. A house caretaker is a person who supervises the activities of other tenants in a building. Applying for this job gives you access to free accommodation.
Many house owners search for people who can look after an uninhabited building. This is where you reach out to family and friends living abroad, and they can allow you to live in their house rent-free while you take care of the house in return. You can also apply to become a caretaker for this position.
Work for Trade-Offs at Establishments Like Hostels
Working in a hotel gives you access to free rooms and food. So if you are looking for a way to live rent-free, this is a viable option. In addition to the free food and house, being a hotel worker also enables you to earn extra cash.
Negotiate Rent Into Your Salary or Wage
If you have to move for a job, you can add the cost of living to your new salary. This will obviously be easier for those who have high-demand skills. But it can’t hurt to ask! If you’re in high demand for a job far away or would require you to move, suggest that the company help you find a place to stay nearby.
It’s a long stretch for most jobs, but it’s definitely worth a shot! Just try to negotiate as much as you can. You might not pay your rent in full, but you might get some money to help with your living costs.
Live Rent Free by Volunteering
The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are two excellent ways to live rent-free while helping others. As a volunteer with either organization, you will receive a small stipend to help with living expenses.
Furthermore, you will be provided with free housing or a housing stipend. This can be an excellent way to save money, especially if you intend to travel or take a gap year.
Most importantly, you will be making a difference in the lives of others. Consider volunteering with the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps if you want to live rent-free while doing something meaningful with your time.
What Does it Mean to “Live Rent-free”?
Living rent-free means you don’t have to pay rent to stay in a certain place. This could be a deal you make with a friend or family member, or you could live in an area that isn’t usually rented, like a shed or garage.
When you don’t have to pay rent, you can save money on housing costs and have more freedom about where you can live. But there are also things to consider, like living with others and being responsible for keeping the house in good shape.
So if you’re considering living rent-free, consider the pros and cons to ensure it’s the right choice. First, however, note that Living rent-free is one of the easy money moves you can make today.
Tips to Live Rent Free
Read through all of your Rental agreements: Twice. If you intend to sublet or list your rental on Airbnb, pay close attention to the terms of your contract. Each location is unique, and you don’t want to risk violating your agreement or the law.
Set aside a portion of your rental income to cover taxes:
Rental income is subject to taxation. Make a habit of saving a portion of your income each month to avoid unpleasant surprises during tax season. Your rental income is taxed if it is more than $600 a year. Put away 25% of your monthly payment for taxes.
Remember that you can deduct maintenance and repair costs from your taxable income, so keep your receipts and don’t get caught up in IRS penalties for late tax filing and payment.
Ensure you have renters insurance: Renters insurance protects the apartment and your belongings. Renters insurance will cover the loss if your belongings are damaged.
Renter’s insurance is always a good idea. It’s not a high cost; if something unexpected happens, like a break-in or storm damage, you won’t lose the money you’ve saved by living rent-free.
Maintain a reasonable rent: If you’re subletting or house hacking, charge affordable rent. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, especially if they are renting to friends and family.
On the other hand, don’t be too greedy when charging or subletting rent. Being fair with your rental rates will ensure your tenant turnover rate is not too high.
If necessary, run background checks: Consider requesting a background check if you rent to strangers. This will reveal whether or not your prospective tenant has ever been evicted or is lying about their identity.
Related: How to Buy a Home Without a Mortgage
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the easiest way to live rent-free?
The easiest way to live rent-free is to get a job with free accommodation. Such jobs include long-term house sitting, park ranger, hospitality manager, and English tutor.
Another easy and fast way to live rent-free is by getting rent assistance from the government. Getting free money from the government to cover your rent is one of the best options. Unfortunately, people occasionally require government assistance in their time of need, and thankfully, the government is available to provide it.
Q: Can I house-hack an apartment?
Yes! You can house-hack an apartment by renting it out to friends and asking for payments from them each month. House hacking is the act of renting out a part of your house.
Q: What is the main reason to avoid renting to own?
Renting to own has a significant disadvantage in that renters lose their down payment and other non-refundable charges if they do not purchase the home.
In addition, some sellers may even take advantage of renters by making the house purchase difficult or unappealing to keep the down payment.
Q: What is the property guardian scheme?
The property guardian scheme is a scheme that allows you to look after an empty building. This scheme grants you a living space for you to take up the job of a house caretaker.
Q: What is the best way to live rent-free?
The best way to live rent-free is to own your house. You can easily buy a duplex or triplex and live in one unit while renting out the other. The rental income can then be used to pay down your mortgage.
However, few people have the money and luxury to own a house. You can explore options like house hacking and subletting to gradually save and grow into owning your own home.
Q: How can I get Airbnb for free?
Airbnb is a service that lets people rent out a space in their house to travelers. Unfortunately, you can’t get a free Airbnb house unless you agree with the host.
Q: What is the fastest way to live rent-free?
The fastest way to live rent-free is to volunteer for Peace Corps. They are always looking for workers to help them. AmeriCorps offers a variety of programs for volunteers who want to mentor and tutor children, rebuild communities after a disaster, assist veterans, and more.
Q: Is a property guardian a real thing?
Yes! Being a property guardian is a real occupation. This job requires you to live in an unused or abandoned building to keep it secured.
There are numerous options for living rent-free. Some of these strategies can be time-consuming. However, it is worthwhile if it allows you to save more money in the long run and achieve your financial objectives.
If you want to lower your rent or even live rent-free, the tips above will help. It’s hard to negotiate, especially if you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but these are some of the most common ways to live rent-free.