Use Your Rental to Make Extra Money

It doesn't take much these days to find oneself strapped for cash. When you own your home, you don't always need outside approval to use your space to make extra money. But with a little creativity and know-how, even renters can use their homes to generate income.

"Around the same time I first got serious with my boyfriend, my roommate moved out," says New Yorker Marsha Arre, a marketing executive from the Astoria neighborhood in Queens. "I needed help covering my rent. So I asked my boyfriend if I could crash with him for two weeks and posted on craigslist that I had a furnished apartment someone could rent for the cost of half my rent."

Though your landlord may not approve of some of these ideas, were he or she to find out about them, if you use them carefully and in moderation, they just might bring in a little extra income when you need it most. By using the following suggestions you can take your rental from "living-space" to "make-a-living-space":

1. Be a weekend bed & breakfast

If you live in a city that doubles as a destination, sometimes the prices offered by local accommodations are downright exorbitant. There are even places that "in season" require vacationers to book for a minimum of two nights.

And this is where you and your bedroom come in: By charging a reasonable rate and posting it on the internet (make
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sure you are able to screen potential houseguests for your own safety) -- make a little extra money by letting people stay over for the night and enjoy a light breakfast in the morning. Guests for one night, once a month, can help cover a week's worth of groceries. And, after all, isn't that why you bought the extra comfy sofa?

2. Throw a "we're broke" party

In order to help pay for your monthly needs, host a party at which you charge a small cover at the door, promising to apply it toward your bills. Generally, a good sob-story about job loss, illness or inflated rent are helpful tools for tugging at heartstrings. Once inside, make sure you have a few refreshments, like pretzels and candy, and keep the music playing. Even if the party is BYOB, people are often happy to pay a small amount to spend time with friends at a party.

3. Make your home a film location

Ever wonder whose homes end up in movies, commercials and television shows? Yours could be one of them. "Location scouts are always looking for places to shoot," says Angie Faucet, a location manager in New York. "People who want to rent their places contact location services companies."

While, legally, you will need the approval of your building's management, if you pitch the idea in advance, compensation is usually such that you won't have a problem talking them into splitting it with you 50/50.

"I've had a few shoots in my apartment," says Brittany Laskowitz of lower Manhattan. "Once they even left me with an awesome new paint job."

4. Write off your home

"Even if you only do a small amount of business out of your home, you can write off a portion of your rent," says accountant Jodi Margolies, in Columbus, Ohio. Make sure you go through an accountant so that you write off the correct amount. But you might be lucky enough to find that you can also write off a portion of your car payments, home computer and cell phone as well. It will save you money in the long run, so look into it now.

5. Make your home a showroom

Invite friends over for sales parties. Many makeup, appliance and kitchenwares companies look for clients to host events, at which their friends come to their homes and buy the products. Tupperware and Mary Kay Cosmetics are both still around and have gotten even cooler since your Aunt Madge was doing it in the '80s. The Pampered Chef offers offers an array of kitchenware products.

6. Sublet

A full-on sublet situation might get you in trouble with your landlord. However, you might be able to get away with it for the short term. If you live in a rent-controlled apartment in a popular neighborhood, and if you are able to move in with friends, family or a significant other for a season, you can charge subletters what the apartment is worth, instead of what you pay.So when you move back home, all that extra rent is pure profit.

"I told my neighbors I had friends staying in my place one month and moved all my stuff into one room, leaving the rest of the house for their use," says Arre of her one-month subletting experience. "It went great, and after they left, my boyfriend moved in so I didn't have to worry about covering the whole rent by myself again!"

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:

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