10 ways to not pay your rent (and get away with it)

New year, same tax bracket

Graphic Semira Kosciuk

With the holiday season in our rear-view mirrors, your bank account is likely looking a bit… sad. However, your landlord is sure to still come knocking on the first of the month to put that final nail in the financial coffin. But what if I told you there’s a way (or ten) to skip your rent?

  1. For those with a landlord who might be on the older side with some memory issues… didn’t you already pay? Gaslight them. It’s hard times in this economy. I’ll forgive you. 
  2. Just ignore the issue. If your landlord has the memory of an elephant, well… maybe you don’t. Claim some medical condition that affects your memory; they can’t be mad at you for that.
  3. There’s the handy trick of a few swift kicks to those appliances they’re responsible for. I mean come on, how can they make you pay when nothing in your apartment even works? That hardly seems fair. 
  4. Channel your inner Tom Cruise (minus the whole Scientology bit) and pull off a mission impossible. Avoid your landlord at all costs, whether or not it involves extreme feats of athleticism. It’s that or be down to your last dime. 
  5. Your grandma died—one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s sad and you can only use this one twice, but it’ll buy you some time if they have any sense of compassion and you can pull off a half decent performance. 
  6. This one you can only use once and you have to be prepared to run away very quickly. Uno reverse card. Slip them the card and bolt. I mean, they can’t argue with it if A) they can’t catch you; and B) it’s just the rules. Now they owe you technically. 
  7. Murder.
  8. While you may not be allowed pets, perhaps you sneak in a little mouse friend. I mean the place has mice and you still expect me to pay? The con is you do have to live with the mice though, so check up on your vaccines before this one. 
  9. Now this is for a select few whose parents are their landlords. Guilt trip them. Parents seem to be great at pulling the guilt trip card, so you can too. You didn’t ask to have all that childhood trauma. They brought you into a world where you can’t possibly afford to rent on your own or even blink in the direction of buying a place—their fault. 
  10. Identify theft. You’re the landlord now. Hey, maybe you’ll make rent fairer and have compassion for your tenants instead of being consumed by the spirit of capitalism. Just a thought. 

You didn’t hear any of this from me though. While I don’t condone taking advantage of the elderly, lying about medical conditions, property damage or any of the other things that border on being or most definitely are felonies, I’m just trying to help y’all out. Don’t be a snitch. Happy savings!

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 8, published January 16, 2024.