Get ahead of the crowd with Premium
Register Forgot password

10 ways to get a free home (and get paid for it!)

Jennifer Coles 22nd Jan 2020 4 Comments

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Did you know it’s entirely possible to have a free home? You can live rent-free and mortgage-free – and get PAID for the privilege?! Lots of jobs come with accommodation – so you can live in or near to work – and many also include additional expenses such as meals on duty.

Here’s a comprehensive list of jobs with free accommodation to get you started!

Get a DBS Check

Many jobs that come with accommodation mean you’ll be working with children or vulnerable people. Even if you’re not customer-facing, you’re in a position of responsibility.
You’ll need to have a recent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This used to be called the CRB.

If you don’t have one, you can’t apply for one yourself. You’ll need to do so through your new employer (who may not allow you to start work until the check is completed).

The system is better than it used to be: you can sign up for the online DBS. Once you’ve had a check completed, this can be easily viewed and updated online by any employer seeking to hire you. It speeds up the process and gives them peace of mind they’ve got the most recent information.

Read our full guide about DBS checks here.

be a Charity fundraiser

What’s involved?

11 ways to get a free home If you are confident, physically fit and speak good English, you could get a job as a charity fundraiser, with free accommodation thrown in. Wesser is one of Europe’s leading charity fundraising organisations.

Operating in Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, it helps charities like the Swiss Red Cross and World Wildlife Fund by supplying door-to-door fundraisers.

While Wesser focuses on students and backpackers on the lookout for short-term jobs, long-term opportunities are increasingly common. If you’re looking for a job in the charity sector, this could also boost your CV.

What will I get?

Wesser provides all its fundraisers with shared accommodation, an hourly rate of £10 plus commission, a shared car for the household and team events and incentives throughout the year. The homes are usually five-bed fully furnished houses in smart, safe areas with at least 2 bathrooms and spacious communal areas. According to their website, Wesser fundraisers typically earn between £1500 – £1800 per month.

How do I get started?

Find more information and fill out an online application form on the Wesser website. It’s quick and easy and the company should give you a call back at a time that suits you.

be an Activity instructor

Activity centres all over the UK need fun, energetic people to join their teams. Activity centres are places that groups visit to take part in outdoor exercises like raft building, wall climbing, abseiling and rowing. Visitors’ ages range from primary school to adult.
You’ll need to by physically fit and enjoy spending lots of time outdoors, as well as working with people of all ages. The role includes planning activities for a wide range of visitors, ensuring the safety of participants and equipment and instructing groups on how to complete the activities – among many other things.

What will I get?

Some work for these kinds of places is voluntary, although your accommodation and expenses will normally be covered. However, people taking up the job at a more senior level, or with relevant experience, should expect a reasonable pay cheque.

How do I get started?

You’ll need to hold a recent DBS check or be willing to pay for one to be completed. This is because much of the job involves working with children and sometimes vulnerable adults, too.
Some centres offer training programmes, but it helps if you have qualifications in outdoor activities such as kayak instruction, abseiling, or archery training. Extras that’ll make your application stand out include recent first aid certificates, life saving qualifications, the Duke of Edinburgh award, Sports Leader UK award, and a current clean driving licence.

You can apply online for activity centre jobs with these activity centres:

  • Kingswood
  • PGL
  • Acorn Adventure
  • Rock UK
  • Robinwood

be a Boarding school staff member

What’s involved?

A Matron’s duty is quite simply to take care of student’s well-being. This can include organising the cleaning staff, taking children to medical appointments, communicating with parents, doing pupil’s laundry and ordering cleaning, medical and domestic supplies. School Matron’s we’ve spoken to say they also offer a shoulder to cry on, and sort out many an argument!

What will I get?

Residential schools often offer accommodation and meals for their staff. You would also receive a salary based on your experience of between £17,000 – £22,000.

How do I get started?

Although there are no specific qualifications needed for the job (other than a DBS check) it’s helpful to have experience in childcare or nursing. The following qualifications may also help:

  • CACHE (Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education) Diploma in Childcare and Education.
  • BTEC National Diploma in Care or Early Years.
  • Nursing diploma.
  • Nursing degree.

It’s best to start by going for a job as an assistant matron and then apply for a more senior position once you have gained some experience.

There are many websites offering various domestic roles but a good place to start would be the Times Educational Supplement.

Other websites featuring boarding school jobs are:

  • Jobisjob
  • Gabbitas
  • boarding.org.uk


be a Caretaker, Porter or Concierge

What’s involved?

11 ways to get a free homeCaretakers supervise cleaning staff, carry out general repairs and safety checks and order any necessary equipment. Porters and concierges work in hotels and upmarket apartment blocks, carrying luggage and assisting with residents’ basic needs.

What will I get?

Depending on the location of the job, a lot of caretakers, porters and concierges receive a free or subsidised flat or house as a perk. Places that offer these jobs include a selection of schools, universities, churches, some office blocks and private and housing association flats. You might even get lucky and snag a job as a ‘gatekeeper’ in a stately home!

How do I get started?

Relevant work experience is normally more important than professional qualifications. Having been a maintenance supervisor or security guard in the past will help. If you’re short on experience, try temp agencies for short-term night-watchman positions. Being a DIY whiz can also be very helpful.

The following qualifications may also help:

  • NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Cleaning and Support Services (Caretaking
  • Basic health and safety/fire warden training.
  • The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) – offers study programmes in caretaking and concierge services and supported housing.

The best place to look for a caretaking job would be The Caretakers’ Website. This features jobs all over the country, live-in and live-out, and also lists jobs from the job centre website.

For porter and concierge positions in London, try the Claibon Agency. Previous experience is essential, but if you fit the bill, you could earn a salary between £16k and £28k, with a one, two or three bedroom flat thrown in.


get free accommodation with Hotel jobs

A range of agencies specialise in hotel work, take a look at Caterer.com to see hotels that offer these kinds of jobs.

Larger hotels often require a variety of staff to live in-house. Here is a selection of the kind of jobs that come with accommodation:

Hotel Manager

There are two ways of becoming a hotel manager, either working your way up from a more junior position, or getting yourself a good qualification in hospitality. Suitable qualifications would be either a degree or BTEC HNC/HND in Hospitality Management or other related subjects.

Restaurant Manager

Lots of restaurant managers work their way up to this role from being a chef or waiter/waitress etc. If you’d prefer to fast track your way to the top then you’re going to need a qualification in hospitality. With good GCSEs in maths and English, or a BTEC First Diploma in hospitality, employers may hire you as an assistant manager. With a BTEC HNC/HND or degree you’re likely to be offered a higher paid role with more responsibilities. Also, as restaurant manager you will be required to hold a personal licence if the restaurant serves alcohol.


Employers usually look for experience, and a high standard of English. It’s helpful to know another language as you’d be dealing with lots of people from other countries, particularly larger hotels. It is possible to get an apprenticeship working as a receptionist – check out apprenticeships.org.uk for more information.


Housekeepers are in charge of the room attendants in the hotel. They organise staff rotas and supplies and inspect rooms amongst other responsibilities. A work history in management would normally be required although it’s possible to work your way up from a position such as a room attendant.


Hotels often hire commis (trainee) chefs, in which case you need no formal qualifications as you get on-the-job training. You will need to be passionate about food, have the ability to work well under pressure and have excellent communication skills. If you want to enter at a higher level you’ll need a good qualification and work experience. There are different levels of chefs, a ‘chef de partie’ is the head of a section in a kitchen, the second chef is known as a ‘sous chef’ and ‘maitre de cuisine’ is the head chef. A good qualification for these kinds of jobs is a foundation degree, BTEC HNC/HND, or degree in professional cookery or culinary arts management.

Waiting Staff

There are a number of qualifications you can work towards relating to waiting/waitressing – however, most employers look for experience in this sector. It’s important to have superior customer service skills and a healthy brain for remembering orders.

Chalet Staff Abroad

If you’re looking for seasonal work with accommodation, consider becoming a chalet staff member at one of Europe’s ski resorts. You’ll be responsible for the cleanliness of a number of chalets, and make sure all needs of the visitors to your set chalets are met.
Resorts also have specific cleaning, instructor, or caretaker jobs, too.

become a live-in Carer

What’s involved?

As a carer you can expect to be taking care of elderly people or those with limited ability to live independently.

There are two types of live-in carer: independent living assistants and carers. ILAs support their charge to carry out daily tasks on their own, such as washing and getting dressed or making meals.

You’re a companion to help them gain social contact, learn about daily tasks, and feel confident in living their lives.

A carer will look after those too ill or infirm to look after themselves. You’ll need to wash, help toilet, cook, clean, and manage medications.

What will I get?

This job can be highly rewarding as you’re helping someone in need. However, it’s not for everyone and you need a lot of patience and a willingness to sacrifice some evenings and weekends to care for your charge. Depending on the job, expect a bedroom with bedding and food provided. The live-in carer salary ranges from £450 – £580 per week (before tax & National Insurance deductions).

How do I get started?

You will need a DBS check firstly, as you will be working with vulnerable people. Good mental and physical health is a must and relevant experience would be bonus. As well as sites specialising in care worker jobs, try grabbing a copy of The Lady magazine from your local newsagent. Start with a local job site such as Gumtree, and look for jobs in your area.
Some agencies that employ carers are:

  • Helping Hands
  • Athena Care
  • European Nursing Agency

If you want to assist adults with neuro atypical conditions such as autism, you may need to have additional qualifications in specific social care or special needs awareness.

be a live-in Nanny

What’s involved?

Nannies look after children in the family home. Ages can range from newborn to early teens dependent on the family. When looking after young babies, duties would include feeding, bathing, changing and general care. For older children the role would involve more education through play and keeping children entertained, doing the school run, and helping with family activities. You may even be asked to go on holiday with the family, too.

What will I get?

Not all nannying roles involve live-in accommodation, so you’ll have to check with the potential employer before you apply. However, if it is a domestic role then expect to receive your own bedroom and any meals provided for you. Wages are between £350 and £700 a week depending on the location, hours and your qualifications.

First Person

Claire  Dunton from Top Notch Nannies says that live-in nannies earn upwards of £350 a week, compared to a wage of between £450 and £700 for live-out nannies.

She says “it’s a lot cheaper than paying for rent. It covers all your bills (except your phone bill) and often includes your meals while you are on duty with the children. It’s £350 pocket money.”

Claire advises all nannies to make sure a contract is drawn up before they move in.

“A contract is very important; both sides feel better if they know the terms and conditions in advance. A nanny needs to know what hours she’ll be working, which days she has off, how many weeks holiday she can take, and whether she lives and eats with the family, or in a separate flat of her own at the top of the house.”

How do I get started?

There are no laws requiring nannies to have any formal qualifications but you have to consider the fact that parents may not trust you to look after their children if you dive in head first with no experience or knowledge of the subject. You’ll need a clean DBS check and a driving licence is helpful, too.

The best way to go about it is to sign up to a nannying agency such as Top Notch Nannies. The agency will normally ask for personal references, the ability to speak fluent English and some childcare experience. Try to get as much experience as you can working with children before you start to apply.

Relevant qualifications include CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Home-based Childcare or a BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Early Years. First Aid for Those Caring for Children or Paediatric First Aid is also an impressive thing to have on your CV. A good place for advice on childcare is the Government’s information site on childcare careers, which also includes relevant contact details for information on childcare in your local area. You can find out about nanny jobs, and nanny agencies, on the Gumtree website and through The Lady magazine. Also, you can just look on Google for agencies in your area.

Some better known nanny agencies are:

  • Knightsbridge Nannies
  • Childcare International

Be a Domestic couple

What’s involved?

Places such as country mansions, large family homes or historic buildings require domestic couples to carry out day-to-day cleaning and maintenance tasks. Tasks might include things such as cooking, cleaning and general housekeeping duties, repair work/DIY, general gardening maintenance and driving. Although childcare isn’t usually a necessity there are often young ones around so it’s useful if you’re good with children.

What will I get?

Your accommodation and meals will be provided. Because of the nature of the work, and the fact that you would be working in an expensive and large house, the accommodation you receive is likely to be of a very high quality. You can also expect a decent pay cheque: depending on the size and location of the home, wages for a couple can range from £600 to £1,000 a week.

How do I get started?

There aren’t really any qualifications you can get regarding the housekeeping aspect, but gardening courses may be helpful. One of the couple will need a full driving licence. The best way to go about it is by gaining experience – possibly by working in a hotel or any other maintenance position. Take a look at Country Couples for information about vacancies for domestic couples. Mrs Hunt’s Agency also has jobs for couples


OK, we’re not suggesting you find religion just to get a free home! However, if you’ve been thinking about going into ministry, but aren’t sure whether you could easily live on the salary, it’s worth knowing most positions come with a property, too.

What you get depends on where you’re sent to work and the church you’re ordained in. Some small country parishes with the Church of England, for example, have The Vicarage cottages on the church land. Modern churches, however, may offer you a city-centre flat that’s easy to visit lots of parishioners from.

Not quite a free home…but close..

Be a property Guardian

11 ways to get a free home A property guardian is a responsible person who lives in a building that would otherwise be empty in order to protect it from potential squatters and vandals.

They usually pay some form of rent but it is very low, and they may have to pay utility bills as well. Typically in the UK, property guardians pay a fee of only £40 a week which usually includes all utility bills.

The properties could be empty for all sorts of reasons. It’s possible that the landlord is changing the use of the property or redeveloping it, or even knocking it down. These sort of activities can take a while to put into effect so in the meantime properties often stand empty and unused.

Who can be a property guardian?

People who get to be property guardians have to be flexible – you usually only get a month’s notice to vacate the place and you might only be there for a few months. They also have to be thoroughly vetted to make sure that they are responsible.

Property guardians could stay in all kinds of places including abandoned offices, a former children’s home, a run-down ex-Council property or possibly a palatial mansion (though there aren’t so many of those around!).

You will have rules you can abide by including things like not having more than two friends round at any one time and not going away for more than a few days at a time. You’ll not be allowed to have children or pets, so it’s an opportunity that suits professionals willing to move regularly.

How do you get to be a property guardian?

You need to contact one of the property guardian companies. They all have questionnaires that you need to fill in and you may have an interview too. Some agencies ask for a security deposit at the start.

Companies that offer opportunities for property guardians include:

  • Dot Dot Property Guardians– which only take on people who are doing at least 16 hours a week of voluntary work.
  • Ad Hock has flats and other properties in various areas for very low rates.


house sitting

11 ways to get a free home Across the UK and the globe there are thousands of empty properties left vacant. These include holiday homes, homes awaiting new buyers and even office spaces. Sometimes the property owner has simply gone on holiday for a short time.

The owners of these properties may not wish to rent them out full time, but they still don’t like the idea of leaving them sitting empty. As a house sitter or property guardian, you live in the property in the short term. The downside is that you may only spend a few months in each place, the upside is that you save thousands on rent each year.

What will I get?

You’ll get somewhere to live for free. It can be anywhere in the world, too! As long as you can afford your travel costs, the places you could live are limitless.

Sometimes you’ll need to pay a small fee (such as $20 for mindmyhouse.com) to cover your referencing.

You’ll be responsible for keeping the property clean and tidy, and behaving sensibly (no crazy pool parties!). You may also be required to look after pets!

How do I get started?

There are several websites offering house sitting opportunities.

  • As both a house sitter and house minder you can look after the houses of family and friends, but for regular work register with a reputable agency like Trustedhousesitters. If you’re doing this independently, the owners should provide a written contract with instructions of what to do if specific situations arise so that you’re completely sure of the right action to take. Also, make sure you provide the homeowners with references from a previous landlord and employer.
  • Mindmyhouse.com is a forum that brings together house-sitters and those with vacant properties. Many of the house-sitting assignments are short term, when the owners go on holiday, but housing associations and charities advertise longer term assignments here.

Did you know…?

House-sitting doesn’t have to be for months on end – many people swap their houses for a couple of weeks for a cheap holiday. Learn how to have a house swap holiday here.
3 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the article’s title, but actually some interesting info. Thanks!

4 years ago

free house request

4 years ago

i am looking for the free house miracle

4 years ago

In my current situation definately food for thought!

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

Send this to a friend