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Renting in a big city
I'd like to hear your experiences and opinions on how to escape one of the biggest traps in modern slavery - renting in a big city at current market prices? How to live in a decent accommodation (not 2 h away from the city center, not a rat infested basement) without having to pay astronomical prices?

Currently I'm living in a sublease and it's not that bad, but will have to move in two month time and already started looking. I often see those damn hippie-artist-leftie types somehow getting into weird schemes and renting for pennies, while most of my friends simply take the advertisements and rent something. I wanna get into the hustle, and at the same time not live with vegan food and dreadlocks infested communists. Can it be done?
Hey D-503.

I've spent all of my life wasting money in rental properties. Most of that time was in London and it always left me a few grand short of getting on the property ladder. At this point in time the possibility of buying in London is beyond my grasp. Although, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't want to live there long term ever again.

Here's some of the ways I found peppercorn rent options. And yeah, we were those artist types.

1. My first place in London in 1999 was a great big room in North London for £35 a week! A friends relatives died and the family asked if we could look after the place until they'd established the will. I stayed there for a year.

2. There used to be a lot of 'guardian' options available in London. This is where a vacant property needs to be occupied for a period of time and protected from squatters, who are expensive to evict. I think the crafty guardian companies have basically reduced the value in this method over the last few years but it still exists.

3. Be ultra flexible in where you live and volunteer to fill friends-of-friends apartments while they're away, for a pittance of rent. If you can live out of a 60L rucksack you have the ability to capitalise on the transient nature of big city life. I did this for a number of years.

4. Another method I saw was a far-sighted friend brokered a long-term rent on a big warehouse in Shoreditch. He made the place look like an amazing loft space and filled it with exactly the arty types you mentioned. Filled it. They loved it and now he owns his own place mortgage free in Margate thanks to the plan.

This is similar to the Arnold Schwarzenegger method where he slept in a cupboard until he could afford the lease on a multi roomed apartment which he then leased to his bodybuilding pals. Don't forget he was a millionaire BEFORE he started making movies, from his property skills.

5. Motorhome. You can get a converted motorhome, or even just a converted car and sleep in it close to where you work. A city-wide gym membership gives you showering and bathroom options. You can use a website like instead of airbnb. I've used a variation on this method and currently have a friend living in New Zealand (where the rent is mad) who stays at free parking spots.

6. A friend of mine went around the world staying in great big homes doing basic cleaning and other chores while the owners were away. I can't recall the website that was used for this. After one year of travelling South America, Australia the whole trip had set them back about £400. (One of the chores was feeding llamas!)

7. My favourite method, and the one I currently employ: Get out of the over-priced big cities as soon as you can. Whether it's making an online business or honing your skills to a level where you can work remotely, this is my current method of choice.

I still work for companies in London and Manhattan, along with some of those SF tech giants. However, I do it from the tropical environs where my monthly rent costs 50% less than 1 week rent in London. The gig economy is ruthless, but geo-arbitrage is your friend in 2020.
Thanks, Frank, that is very useful!

I find your nr. 2, 3 and 4 the most attractive and will do my best to find my options in those areas.
(01-18-2020, 11:06 AM)D-503 Wrote: Thanks, Frank, that is very useful!

I find your nr. 2, 3 and 4 the most attractive and will do my best to find my options in those areas.

Cool, yeah share your experiences here. Make sure you have a firm goal in mind when you start living from place to place. It can become a bit tiresome, so you need a strong reason to be doing it longterm

BTW one more idea:

In London, the last ten years or so, it has become increasingly popular to buy a canal boat for about 30-80K and live in that. The boat community is very friendly in London and for a comparatively small amount you can live near places like Ladbroke Grove (west LDN) or Victoria Park (east LDN). It also retains most of its value when you come to resell.
I'm currently living in Dublin, which is was ranked the worst city in the world to move too for housing. The city is flooded with tech company money and the population exploded in the last 10 years. My flatmate met a guy who was moving for work to the USA and had to sublet his flat, so that went well for us. We have to leave in two month time so I'm exploring my other options now. 

I don't need any luxury but can't live in filth - and that already is a a lot to ask in a place like this.
Well guys, this is a very helpfull thread. Thx.
Yeah Dublin. That's a tough option.

I bought a mobile home from ebay for £500 and lived in that for 18 months. It was a good time, although cold in the winter. I spent all my free time travelling to European places working out where to live next.

I would always ask myself what was absolutely essential to living my life, and what I could sacrifice to achieve it. I still have fond memories of that mobile home!

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