Will Work for Rent

Have you ever traded services in exchange for part of your rent? One apartment-dweller in New York has taken the barter system to the extreme, never paying more than $500/month for the 700-square- foot NYC walk-up where he's lived for more than 30 years!

The New York Times recently profiled theater director Sturgis Warner, whose wide array of set-building skills translated into big savings when it came to fixing up his landlord's dilapidated property.

Warner - a skilled electrician, and passable jack-of-most-other trades - has spent three decades transforming the formerly leaky and rodent-plagued space into a warm and whimsical home for himself and his collection of theater paraphernalia.


Some of the more fantastical touches include a pulldown bookcase (think Murphy bed, full of books), a large-scale kitchen to accommodate Warner's lanky 6'9" frame, and a Rube Goldberg-esque system of pulleys and barbells that turns the bathroom into a photography darkroom.

Sadly, Warner's lease expired on Sept. 30, and the building's owners are navigating New York City's maze of tenant law to move him out of the strange little space he's called home since 1978. He plans to fight for his beloved apartment - and if blood, sweat and tears count for anything in the battle then he's sure to prevail.

What about you? Have you ever traded services for a reduction in your rent?

Make sure it's cost-effective when considering bartering work for a rent-decrease.

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