Wouldn’t it be great if you could live rent-free?
Although it might sound far-fetched, there are some legit and realistic opportunities to live without paying rent or monthly mortgage payments.
Most experts recommend that housing expenses (rent and utilities) should be kept to 30% or less of your total budget. Your monthly rent payment is probably one of the biggest expenses each month. Can you imagine what your financial situation would be like if you didn’t have to pay rent?
That extra money could be used to save for retirement, pay off debt, or you could simply live on a lower income.
In this article, we’ll look at several ways to live rent-free. We’ll also look at jobs that often allow you to live without the typical housing costs.
Ways to Live Rent Free
We’ll start by looking at lifestyle adjustments that can either offset your rent payments or allow you to live without paying rent at all.
1. Rent Out a Room or Sublet
Renting out a room or subletting your apartment can be an excellent way to reduce the cost of rent or even cover it entirely. This is especially effective in any one of a few different scenarios:
- You have an apartment in a desirable neighborhood when available rentals are hard to find.
- Your rent is lower than the current rent for other comparable apartments.
- You have an extra bedroom to spare.
While there are certain legal and logistical considerations to consider when renting out a room or subletting your apartment, if done correctly, it can be extremely beneficial for both parties involved.
First, you’ll need to check your lease agreement or contract to see if this is allowed, as some specifically prohibit subletting. If allowed, you’ll need to draw up a legally binding contract with the person renting from you that covers the length of stay, agreed-upon rent amount, and other rules or regulations.
With rent prices going up quickly, you may be in a situation where your apartment is more valuable than the amount you’re paying. If so, you can do well by taking on a roommate to offset a large percentage of the monthly payment. Or, you can sublet the apartment for more than you pay, find a cheaper place for yourself, and pocket the difference.
2. House Hack
House hacking involves buying a house and renting out part of it to offset your mortgage payments. For example, you could buy a duplex, live in one of the units, and rent out the other. You could rent it to a long-term tenant or use Airbnb for short-term rentals.
This is an excellent way to live rent-free as it allows you to use rental income to cover your housing costs. Depending on your situation, the rental income may completely cover the cost of the mortgage, or it may significantly reduce what you’ll have to pay each month.
Many people buy multi-unit properties and rent out the smaller unit to help offset the costs. But if you want to live completely rent-free, you can live in the smaller unit and rent out the bigger unit. For example, if you buy a house that has an apartment in the basement, you can live in the basement and rent out the main house to drastically increase the rental income.
Buildings and properties with more units will also increase your chances of living completely rent-free. For example, if you buy a four-unit building, you can live in one and find renters for the other three. This will give you a better chance of living rent-free than a duplex where you’re living in half and renting half. Of course, your responsibilities as a landlord will be more significant if you rent out more units.
You may also be able to generate income by renting out storage space. Thanks to Neighbor, you can easily rent out a garage, shed, basement, attic, or room that can be used for storage.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
3. Trade Services for Rent
Another way to avoid housing costs is to trade services for rent. This can be an effective way of living rent-free by simply doing extra work.
For example, if you have a friend with a spare bedroom, you could offer to mow the lawn, cook meals, or clean the house in exchange for living there rent-free.
It’s essential to make sure all the details are ironed out before agreeing to this type of arrangement, as it’s easy for misunderstandings and issues to arise down the road. Ensure both parties understand exactly what’s being exchanged and how much time needs to be put into the services.
4. Work as a House Sitter
If you’re looking for a way to live rent or mortgage-free, house sitting can be an excellent option. House sitters are typically hired by homeowners who need someone to stay in their home while they’re away on vacation or business trips.
House sitting is great because it gives you access to a free place to stay and allows you to travel. The downside is, these arrangements are usually temporary, so you’ll need to line up places to stay at different times. There may be times when you don’t have a housesitting arrangement.
5. Live in a Van
While it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, living in a van or an RV could be an option. This is usually a temporary situation and probably not something you’ll want to do forever. However, you can save a lot of money doing it, even for a year or so.
Living in a vehicle does have its drawbacks, however. You’ll need to find places to park that are safe and secure, and you may also need to abide by certain laws in different areas. Additionally, living in small quarters can be difficult for some people. But if you’re looking for an affordable way to live rent-free, it’s worth considering.
6. Live with Relatives or Friends
If you have family or friends willing to let you stay with them, this can be an excellent option. Not only is it a way to save money on rent, but it also allows you to spend more time with your loved ones.
Before agreeing to this arrangement, ensure all parties understand what’s expected of each other and set clear boundaries. Establish ground rules and expectations, so everyone feels comfortable and respected in the living situation. This will help ensure that the arrangement runs smoothly for everyone involved.
Also, keep in mind that this is probably not a long-term arrangement. It can help you save money for a while, but you don’t want to overstay your welcome.
Rent Free Jobs So You Can Avoid Paying Rent
There are also some jobs that often provide a place to live or cover rent costs. Be sure to check the specific details of any position you’re considering.
7. Superintendent or Property Manager
Some apartment buildings and properties hire superintendents or property managers who live on-site. In this role, you would have specific responsibilities, like maintenance tasks or security.
In exchange for your work, many of these positions provide free rent or a reduced rate. Depending on the amount of time you need to dedicate to the work and the amount of money you save on rent, it can be a great deal.
8. Storage Rental Manager
Self-storage rental companies sometimes hire live-in managers who oversee the facility. These facilities often include a small apartment where the manager lives.
The downside is that it may be hard to find a healthy work-life balance. The rental companies want the manage on-site for security reasons and in case of an emergency during non-business hours. This means you may wind up working more than you’d like, and it may be difficult to find separation from your job.
9. English Teacher Abroad
Teaching English abroad has the potential to be a great gig. The details vary, but many of these jobs provide some sort of housing. You’ll also have the opportunity to experience different cultures firsthand, so it’s ideal if you love to travel.
The requirements are often more relaxed than teaching jobs in the United States. You may or may not need a teaching certificate or any teaching experience.
10. Live-In Nanny or Au Pair
Families often hire live-in nannies and au pairs to help with childcare. In exchange for your work, many of these positions provide free room and board. This can be a great deal if it fits in with your lifestyle.
Of course, this is a significant commitment that involves a lot of work. You’ll truly earn your room and board when working in these roles.
That said, living rent free as a nanny or au pair can give you an opportunity to save money while also getting valuable experience working with children.
11. Live-In Caregiver
Live-in caregivers may receive free room and board in exchange for their services to help the elderly or handicapped. This type of arrangement can be beneficial for individuals who want to continue living independently but need some extra help.
Of course, this is another job that comes with serious responsibility. You may be working long hours and have to be available on short notice. It’s not for everyone and won’t work with some lifestyles, but it can be a good fit in the right situation.
12. Resident Assistant
Resident assistants, also known as RAs, help with the operations and maintenance of dorms and other student housing.
These positions may provide free room and board in exchange for your work. The requirements can vary depending on the position, but they often involve helping fellow students with their concerns, providing support services, and even enforcing residency policies.
If you’re looking to live rent free while attending school, this could be a good option. It’s also a excellent way to gain valuable leadership experience while earning an income.
13. Cruise Ship Staff
The staff and crew working on cruise ships typically spend most of their time living on the ship. Room and board are usually included as part of the job.
It’s an unusual way to live rent free, but can be a great fit if you don’t mind spending most of your time at sea. The hours can also be demanding and the work may not always be glamorous, but it can provide a unique opportunity to travel while living rent free.
Positions on cruise ships include everything from maintenance workers, to entertainers, cooks, servers, bartenders, and more.
14. Peace Corps Volunteer
The Peace Corps sends volunteers to serve in different countries. Volunteers can choose from many types of programs, and the positions often include free housing. The accommodations may not be what you’re used to, but it’s a legit option for living rent-free.
Volunteering with the Peace Corps requires dedication and commitment since you’ll be living away from home for a significant amount of time. But if you’re looking for an adventure, this could be a great option.
15. Certain Jobs in Travel or Hospitality
With some effort, you may be able to find jobs related to travel or hospitality that provide a free place to stay. For example, my wife lived rent free on a sail boat in the Bahamas after graduating college. She assisted with groups that came in for a week at a time, and she has a free place to stay.
Jobs like this aren’t necessarily easy to find, but they do exist if you’re willing to look for them. With some research, you may be able to find a job in an exciting location with free room and board included.
Final Thoughts on Living Rent Free
Regardless of which option you choose for avoiding rent or mortgage payments, make sure it’s something that works for your lifestyle and needs. With the right strategy, it’s possible to save money on living expenses without sacrificing too much comfort or security. Doing so can help you increase your savings rate and reach financial freedom faster.