Affordable Rentals -- in a Mansion?

affordable rentals
affordable rentals

Affordable rentals are becoming harder to come by as people decide against buying a home in the current distressed market. Well, here's an option you may not have thought of: Rent a room in a mansion. Alyssa Abkowitz of SmartMoney reports on this emerging trend that has average renters curling up in the lap of luxury.

It's a Thursday night
, and we're kicking back by the pool with fellow tenants in West Palm Beach, Fla. The air is warm, the music is blasting, and the beer is flowing. Our landlord is hanging with us, which is a bit awkward, but he's being cool, cracking jokes as he sips on a Bud Light Lime.

Sometime later we wind down the party to get some shut-eye before another workday. After saying good night, we scatter to our living quarters. Although some of us have a long way to walk, we'll still wind up under the same roof, in the 16,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom Mediterranean-style palace we share. And our landlord will be there too, 50 feet away from our room, in the grand master suite-after all, it's his house.

Have you stayed in a mansion lately? With the housing slump increasingly infecting the homes of the well-heeled, owners of sprawling properties from California to Connecticut have decided to quietly take in boarders, charging rents that they hope will help keep them afloat. In Providence, R.I., there's a charming room for hire in a $1.6 million, 15,000-square-foot Dutch colonial on the National Register of Historic Places. A surprisingly reasonable $600 a month pays for a private suite that features a walk-in closet and marbled bathroom in a gated Florida community-though the tenant had better like falling asleep to the sound of giggles or gunshots, because the room next door is a nine-seat home movie theater. Outside Seattle, boarders in one $1.5 million home get the added perk of using the family's Mercedes convertible-and hopefully won't mind the occasional spell of house-sitting. (The landlords know which tenants they can trust with the keys, thanks in part to some well-placed security cameras.)

Originally published