5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free

By Mikey Rox on 16 March 2015 6 comments

We all need a roof over our heads and a place to sleep at night. Living with mom and dad is an obvious way to live rent-free, but you might prefer your privacy and independence. Fortunately, there are other tricks to score free rent that don't involve getting help from your folks. Here are five of them.

1. Work With an Accommodations Company

Contact hostels or private hotels and negotiate free rent in exchange for working for them on a part- or full-time basis. Some larger chains won't agree to this arrangement, but it doesn't hurt to ask. If a hotel or hostel has vacancies, or if it's understaffed and looking for ways to cut costs, the manager may consider your proposal. You can work in a variety of roles depending on your skill set, ranging from housekeeping to administrative tasks.

2. Home Share With an Elderly Person

Some elderly people live alone, and because of their age or health, they get behind on housework and home maintenance. If you have the skills and time, offer to home share with an elderly person on a temporary basis. In exchange for free rent, you agree to tasks such as cleaning, cooking, running errands, or handling repairs and maintenance. It's a win-win, since you provide your elderly roommate with companionship and assistance around the house, while you save money toward your financial goals. If I were actively seeking rent-free accommodation, this is totally a situation I'd pursue. I love elderly folks, and elderly folks love me. We'd watch our soaps, make fresh sandwiches for lunch, take afternoon naps, and get all gussied up for church bingo. Sounds like my idea of paradise.

3. Live in Your Van or RV

It might get a little cramped inside, but if you're serious about saving money for whatever reason, living in your van or RV for several months to a year (or longer) can really build your savings. This is especially true if you can park the vehicle on a friend or relative's property for free. Almost all RVs are equipped with small kitchens and bathrooms, so it's easier to be self-sufficient. On the other hand, if you live in a van, you'll need to borrow a friend or relative's kitchen or bathroom, unless you're planning to eat out for every meal or shower at the gym before work.

4. House-Sit for Free Rent

Some people are nervous about leaving their home and pets for days while out of town, so they ask a friend or relative to house-sit or check on the property. But what you may not realize is that some career house-sitters don't pay a dime for rent.

"House-sitting in return for a free retreat is growing in its popularity as more and more home and pet owners enjoy having the freedom to choose their sitter and having peace of mind that their fur family are kept in their own environment," says Rachel Martin, co-founder of TrustedHousesitters.com.

You might not receive compensation for house-sitting, so you'll need an income source to cover other monthly expenses such as food, transportation, entertainment, and so on. However, it's a fair trade-off, considering you're able to stay in someone's home without paying rent or utilities.

5. Find a Job That Includes Accommodations

This is similar — but not identical — to my first suggestion. If you have the appropriate skills, look into employment opportunities that include free accommodations. You can work as a live-in nanny for a family who needs assistance caring for their children. Some boarding schools employ full-time resident advisors who live inside dormitories to supervise students. If you have experience in property management, some apartment complexes give employee rent discounts, and apartment managers can often even live in a unit for free. (Heck, I wouldn't mind being a modern day Mr. Furley.)

Have you legitimately lived rent-free? What did you do? Tell us your story in comments!

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Guest's picture
Robert

Living rent free could definitely take a load off. You can save up on a lot of money and invest it in your dream project.
Rent free living is not that simple after all. You wouldn’t want to take favors, or stay at your folks after a certain age. Finding jobs that provide accommodations is by far the best way to go about it.

Guest's picture
Jordan

Great tips here! If you are in a situation that desperate, it's good to know finance blogs like this one have information to get back on your feet. Thanks for sharing.

Guest's picture
LiisaKR

I was a live-in nanny for a year with a wonderful family, which turned into a modified situation for 3 more years as I continued to live rent-free in exchange for cleaning, babysitting once a week, and pitching in with household chores. It was one of the best experiences of my life! I also did an internship for a year and my housing was provided for free. I saved a ton of money in my early twenties this way!

Guest's picture
Sophie

If writing to the hotel , who should I addtess it to for the best possible chance?

Guest's picture
<a href="http://www.mortgagediligent.com/">Sarah</

Living in your van or RV is becoming a trend. Especially for those people who are darn serious about saving money. It all comes down to priority: lifestyle vs. money. Thanks for sharing! Really enjoyed these tips!

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Marilyn Thompson Flynn

I've been living in a weekly pay hotel for over a month and I do think it's cheaper because furniture is furnished and I have a fridge and stove. As well as free electricity, water x cable big screen tv and WiFi. But today I couldn't pay my entire bill, just the store and go price. This scary lady comes by to make sure no one is in the room so I hid inside a huge cardboard box I use for storage so now she thinks I left my cat all alone.