15 Genius ways to live rent free in the Uk

Renting a home can be a significant expense and living rent free an even bigger challenge. Hence, before diving into alternative options for rent-free living, you should take a moment to plug your data into a rent affordability calculator.

This step can provide clarity on whether you can comfortably manage rent.

This way, you avoid reading through these rent-free alternatives unnecessarily.

Only when you realise that affording rent isn’t possible, should you consider these options. Remember, some of these methods carry risks and may need initial investment too.

House showing how to live rent free

How to live rent free in the UK – 15 genius ways!

As you go through this list, make sure you consider which methods are able to be used by you effectively. For instance, a career change solely for rent-free living may not be practical if you’re already employed.

However, options that require minimal life alterations, such as moving back into your parents’ house, might be feasible.

Move back in with parents

Parents, most of the time, have your best interest at heart. This means you’re able to move into a property without issue and the need to sign an AST.

Even if you contribute towards living expenses, it likely won’t equate to market rent, easing the financial burden.

However, the success of this method depends on your family’s understanding and acceptance of your situation. It’s crucial to remember that parents are not obligated to house you and can ask you to move out at any time.

Work as a chef living rent free

If you’re comfortable with the demanding life of a chef, this might be your route to living rent-free. The busy schedules of chefs – cooking, maintaining hygiene standards, and squeezing in breaks – often leave them with little leisure time.

A chef may therefore find themselves with living quarters away from the restaurant so they can efficiently manage their shifts. Sleeping during times when the restaurant is closed and being alert for opening hours.

For instance, they may choose to stay overnight during busy weekends and commute during the week.

Volunteer at a homeless shelter

Volunteers often dedicate long hours and may find available accommodation within the shelter.

In periods where there are enough beds, volunteers might have the opportunity to stay there rent-free. However, if you’re homeless and seeking rent-free accommodation, your best bet is government aid, rather than temporary stays at a shelter.

Guidance on this can be found here.

Become a live in Nanny

For those with a penchant for childcare, becoming a live-in nanny can be an option. Live-in nannies often become an integral part of the family unit and their accommodation comes as part of the perks of the job.

What’s appealing is that you may be able to become a live-in nanny in as little as two years.

After a two-year childcare qualification, like a CACHE (Level 3), you could be eligible to start. A crucial part of this role is fostering good relationships with both the children and the parents.

Tking the time to really get to know the members of the household is mandatory. This includes forming a relationship with both children and parents.

Work in tourism

Those willing to embrace a lifestyle based in entertainment might find working in the tourism sector appealing. Jobs in tourism could include guided tours, flight attendant roles, or circus work.

The downside, however, is the difficulty in establishing stable, long-term relationships due to constant travel. For instance, as a flight attendant, you may only be able to visit friends and family once a month or so.

If you find the prospect of company-funded hotels and global travel exciting though, this could be your path.

A flight attendant living rent free in an aeroplane

Property guardianship

Property guardianship is another unique solution. It is where a building that is usually a commercial building that has empty space or is out of use is converted into extremely cheap housing.

This accommodation is often shared with other people so you won’t be able to benefit from a private space a lot of the time. Nonetheless, property guardianship is a great way to gain independence to live alone without paying too much.

Become a house sitter


A house-sitter may or may not receive payment to live in a house and ensure the property remains occupied. The homeowner usually decides the terms of this arrangement.

In some cases, the house-sitter functions as an excluded tenant. Which means they cannot claim exclusive access to any part of the house. The homeowner, who predominantly occupies the property, retains the right to enter the tenant’s bedroom. And can limit the tenant’s access to certain parts of the property.

This kind of living arrangement often arises when an elderly person inhabits the property. They may require assistance with basic household tasks such as cleaning and routine chores.

In exchange for this assistance, the elderly individual might offer the house-sitter reduced rent or even a free room. This arrangement enables the elderly person to enjoy the companionship and help of a housemate.

All while the house-sitter benefits from living rent-free or at a reduced rate.

Become a property caretaker

Property caretakers are often the first people who are called in the event of an emergency at a building.

Or in order to check on a property to maintain its safety.

Caretakers usually live very near to the property that they are caretaking in order to be close to hand. However, it could be the case that the landlord provides premises on site for a caretaker to live.

As an example, there could be an additional annexe for the caretaker to stay in beside a property or it could be a building nearby that is a few minute’s walk away.

Caretakers are common in buildings like universities, schools, hotels and churches where there is a large amount of 

Work with those who have guest houses

Owners of larger houses often possess properties with a lot of extra space and guest houses. This situation opens up an opportunity. If you can provide a valuable service to these homeowners. They might invite you to live in their guest house.

Consider a scenario where you serve as a coach or nutritionist for an athlete. Your services are vital to their training and this value could potentially secure you a place on their property. This arrangement would enable you to respond swiftly and conveniently whenever they request your services.

Although such roles aren’t common due to the limited number of people owning guest houses.

It’s not impossible to find them. A diligent online search could lead you to a job that comes with the benefit of these accommodations.

The rarity of these roles makes securing one even more rewarding. Given the unique blend of work and living environment it provides.


A house with an annexe with someone living rent free

Buy a house instead

Paying rent for a property could be seen as a waste of money which is why you seek out ways to live rent free. An effective way to stop paying rent is to instead gain access to the housing ladder and take out a mortgage.

This is great for an investment as switching to paying mortgage repayments rather than rental payments will allow the landlord to eventually own a property that they can rent out or sell for a profit.

Even if this isn’t done, the ownership of a home provides a certain peace of mind for the landlord as they cannot get evicted out of their home if the house is paid off.

Become a lodger landlord

Becoming a lodger landlord is similar to house hacking in the sense that there is a mortgage being paid on a property instead of rent. In this case, a landlord is able to rent the property they are paying a mortgage for to up to two lodgers.

Because of the rent a room scheme, a landlord is able to collect £7,500 completely tax free in one calendar year as long as they declare their income through HMRC here.

As a result, if the rental income a landlord collects throughout the year is more than the mortgage that is being paid on the property, they can live rent free by having lodgers.

Move into a mobile home

Once you have bought a mobile home there are very little expenses which is why you can effectively live rent free. For instance, the typical moving costs if you live in a mobile home are around £5 per mile.

Then, you will be expected to pay for the setting up of all the facilities in the mobile home and that is it. You won’t have to pay rent once all is set up and you can also benefit from not having to pay stamp duty like you would if you bought a house.

Seek government benefits

Signing up to things like discretionary housing payments are perfect for those who need some government help to pay rent is an option if you’re struggling to make ends meet.

However, this option is often temporary as the government will ask you to prove that you are still in a financial situation in which you are struggling to pay rent every so often.

Use house hacking

House hacking refers to renting out a subsection of a home you are paying rent in so you can offset the rental expense you have already.

For instance, if your rental payment is £800 and it is a three bedroom house, you can rent the other two bedrooms out for £400 each and effectively live rent free.

However, you’d have to gain permission from a landlord in order to do so as this may be against the terms of a tenancy agreement.

Adding to this, the right regulations will have to be followed like providing a tenant with a how to rent guide which is mandatory whenever a new tenancy is started in the UK.

Teach english in another country

English is one of the most popular languages in the world so it is with no doubt that countries all around the world will accommodate those who can teach English to schools and companies.

This is often targeted at students or those looking to travel and enjoy a life abroad all while not earning a lot of money.

It is common for those teaching English abroad to be paid a base salary that is just enough money to pay for basic essentials because they are living rent free in someone’s house or a shared accommodation.

As a result, a setup like this is not ideal for a lot of people and won’t last long term but it can be a great way to experience a different culture on a budget and gain some valuable experience early in a career.

Teacher teaching english so she can live rent free

In summary

Pulling off a rent-free living situation can be challenging, But with creativity and determination, it is a goal you can certainly achieve. You just need to figure out a method that aligns with your desired lifestyle.

One simple way you might consider is buying a house or opting to live in a mobile home rather than renting. These options, however, call for some initial capital. And you might find strategies that don’t demand money more suitable.

In such instances, you could consider pivoting your career to accommodate a rent-free lifestyle. For instance, working as a flight attendant might offer you such an opportunity.

Remember, rushing into a decision to live rent-free can lead to undesirable outcomes. So, ensure to take your time and carefully consider your choices as you navigate this significant life decision.

Also, keep in mind that any mistake can carry considerable consequences.


What are the risks of living rent free?

Not all of the options for living rent free are typical ways of living and may carry an element of risk. For instance, for many of the professions where you live where you work, losing a job may also mean losing the place where you live

Is it realistic to be able to live rent free?

Most people will not be able to live rent free. However, this is not to say it isn’t realistic. If you have a higher risk tolerance and your profession allows it, it may be feasible to live rent free for a number of years.

What is the most common way to live rent free?

The most common way that people live rent free would be living where you work. This may include being a flight attendant or a live in chef.

What to do if you can’t afford rent UK?

If you can’t afford rent, trying to live rent free is not your only option. Speak to your local council for housing options and perhaps speak to family and friends to find some temporary accommodation

Can someone live in your house rent free?

Most people will not be able to live rent free. However, this is not to say it isn’t realistic. If you have a higher risk tolerance and your profession allows it, it may be feasible to live rent free for a number of years.

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Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.


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