Can you find a private bedroom for $150/month in the United States

I’m guessing its possible in developing nations. But anyway, I was reading a reddit thread where someone was requesting a bedroom for $150/month total (rent & utilities).

The discussion turned into a discussion on how that could even be possible. People were debating if it’s possible to get a private bedroom for $150/month total anywhere in the US. The consensus was that no, you can’t find that.

Granted, you can get $150/month if you have 10 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment. But assuming the following criteria

  1. Done in the United States (not India or Thailand)
  2. You get your own private bedroom.
  3. Your share of the rent is a fair share (ie, not you pay $150 for a bedroom in a 3 bedroom apt that goes for 1k a month).
  4. No exchanging ‘services’ for lower rent.

Is that possible? I’ve seen 2 bedroom apts go for $500, with another $150 for gas/electric/internet. That works out to $325 per person.

I"ve seen some 4 bedroom apartments go for $700/month. Assuming $200 for utilities, that still comes to $225 a person. But a 4 bedroom home is likely going to have far higher utility costs than an apartment.

I don’t know if rent/utilities gets much cheaper than that per person.

I’m going to say no, probably impossible.

Someone who owns a home might rent out a room for $150 a month. Even then to be considered a fair share that $150 would have to cover taxes and any insurance on top of the utilities. So it would be something in the middle of nowhere or the middle of poverty. I’m also considering that the rules require a legally occupiable abode. There have been people around here paying rent to live in condemned homes, skirting eviction enforcement, and of course the rent is illegal.

When I got out of the Navy in 2002, I took a civilian engineering job in Connecticut right after I got out. However, my family was still living in a townhouse in Rhode Island. (It was actually Navy housing, for which I started being charged fairly expensive rent as soon as I separated…and I only had permission to stay there for a maximum of 6 months.)

So while we looked for a house to purchase in Connecticut (and arrange for the family to move), I stayed in an Extended Stay America hotel room for a week (which was unsustainably expensive for more than a week), then a friend’s apartment for a couple of weeks, then found a private room for rent for $110/month. The rent at this place included utilities, the use of a shared kitchen, and a shared bathroom down the hall. I lived there for three months until we bought a house. The “boarding house” was a converted house and wasn’t fancy, but it was cheap. The other tenants were similarly temporarily displaced people like me.

Only if someone is basically just doing you a favor and is just charging you a nominal amount for their trouble. I’ve done that a few times for friends and relatives. But getting $150/month from a stranger? That’s pretty tough and in any case you won’t find such rates advertised.

Hmm, One summer at college I subleted a room for I think $100 (for the whole summer), and next year another place for $75 / month. But that was 1989 and 1990.
I’m guessing the rent was more, but the occupant went home for the summer and a sublet was a way to recover some of it.
No A/C so utility bills were not so bad.


I’ve poked around Zillow and it does return results but the ones ispot checked looked like they were listed in error, e.g. not actually for rent, actually empty lots, a box car, etc.

You (OP), keep going back and forth between “rent a private bedroom” and “X bedroom apartment”, to me those are two different things. An apartment is just a regular apartment, but when I hear ‘rent a bedroom’, I think of older TV shows when they talk about ‘taking in a border’ or renting out the spare bedroom to make some extra money.

I think it may be possible to rent a single bedroom at someones house for just about any price, if you look hard enough. But an apartment is a whole different thing. At someones house, you’re not going to include things like utilities or cable, they’re already paid for and their bill really isn’t going to go up because you’re there. At an apartment, you do have to pay those things (included in the rent payment or not).

I think your best bet would be to check the newspaper classified for someone renting out a bedroom in their house. There may be pockets of the US where it’s more common than in other places. Perhaps college towns.
Beyond that, maybe a hostel, but we really don’t have those in the US.

Before I moved into my wife’s house, I was paying $200 (in 2005 dollars) to rent a room in my friend’s house. Another friend was doing the same, but we also had to pay utilities. Homeowner friend bought a 4 bedroom for approx $90,000 with total P&I plus tax and insurance well under $1000/mo and I think it was fair value. Homeowner had previously rented a couch from us for $100/mo. Prior to that I split a 2BR apt that came to $398 each. First house I ever rented in 1997 was $675 for a 4bedroom split 3 ways. So I’ve managed to rent several times in the $200s PLUS utilities and not adjusted for inflation, but never been in the $100s for a private room.

As far as utilities go, mine are close to $1000/mo now for a 3bedroom house. Probably should have stuck with roommates instead of getting married.

It would be possible in areas where there are a lot of guest houses and over-the-garage apartments, etc. A homeowner who traveled a lot might offer a tenant a nominal rent because they want to have someone nearby to keep an eye on the place. The only “services” rendered would be the promise to call 911 if the larger house caught on fire, etc.

You could rent a decent storage unit and outfit it with a chemical toilet for $150 a month.

Is that actually legal anywhere? As far as I know, it’s not allowed around here.

Or if we’re at this point, a van might suffice, as long as it qualifies as “your own room.” A used van can be well in the neighborhood of $150 a month opex (and even including financing).

Heck, I’ll rent you my RV for $150 a month if I like you (provided it’s not driven anywhere). Not sure how utilities figures into that, it would cost a fair amount of gas to run the generator/aircon all month.


I get the impression that old-fashioned boarding houses or lodging houses, and people taking in boarders to live in spare bedrooms, used to be fairly common, and I find myself wondering if it would be a good thing if we brought them back.

Not in the US, but a friend used to pay a very low rent to live in an old office building. It did have a bathroom, with shower, he was sleeping in one of the old offices. There were three or four of them living in there.

Basically, he was there to stop squatters from moving in and trashing the place before the site was sold; he’d paid a deposit, I think they did a background check and he paid some token gesture rent.

I’m not sure if it was legal, or if there was some weird loophole that allowed them to live onsite as ‘security’, but it was only for a few months.

Oh sure, get all “legal” about it. :frowning:

My rent in college was something like $300 a month in 2006. I’d be surprised if there weren’t places in poorer parts of the country that were near $150.

Some of you don’t realize how much deep poverty there is in the U.S.:

Suppose someone were in deep poverty and could make a room available for rent (perhaps you are a single person now whose wife and kids have left or perhaps have the kids share a bedroom…). I think a lot of these people would do it.

A bedroom only, especially the classic Attic Bedroom for let in one of the inexpensive states would seem to be possible still.
On Roomster I found for Alabama a room for rent for $135 per month, That took only 5 minutes.

It’s not likely in any city where lots of people want to live because the bidding will drive the market clearing price above 150$/month. But there are lots of decaying small towns with people who are land/house-rich and cash-poor whose alternative to getting 150$/month rent for their extra rooms is getting nothing.

Note that such offerings are less likely than average to be listed because they’re so informal and bottom-of-the-barrel.

Read this while looking at my local Craigslist to see what was out there.

So he’s basically looking for someone who will service him sexually and pay (more than $150/mo) for the privilege.