Get your housing for nothing and your sweat for free
September 6, 2007 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Want to live for free (sort of) in a historic home? Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts all have resident curatorship programs, in which you can live rent-free in a historic home, provided you spend your own time and money renovating it. Contact your state's historic preservation office to see if there's a program like this near you...
posted by dersins (14 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
furriners need not apply...
posted by dersins at 9:24 AM on September 6, 2007

I know someone who did this in MD. The NYT Times article makes it out like beautiful mansion estates but a lot of it is just old run down townhomes in bad neighborhoods in Baltimore - you have to pay people to live there, they are trying to turn those places around by enticing people to come in and fix up the neighborhood.
posted by stbalbach at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2007

Too bad DC doesn't have a program like this. I'd be happy to occupy the White House if all I have to do is evict a bunch of rats.
posted by DU at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

(See what I did there? I took an innocuous, unrelated topic and politicized it. Just like the Republicans. Oops, I did it again!)
posted by DU at 9:47 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Not posting at all will help with that problem.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:51 AM on September 6, 2007 [4 favorites]

That's a little drastic.
posted by DU at 9:57 AM on September 6, 2007

My partner has a friend where he works who does this. It's a beautiful home and cheap (not free) to rent, though the energy bills must be crazy with such an old house.

The friend is a caretaker and the home must be open to the public during certain hours. The house is beautiful, but there's work involved; it's not a free lunch by any means.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 AM on September 6, 2007

You can do something similar in the UK with the National Trust. Or you could just buy an old house and not have to deal with strangers in your living room. I think there's about 7 million pre-1900 dwellings.
posted by rhymer at 10:24 AM on September 6, 2007

Hey, thanks, Dersins! My house is in the MD historic inventory, which I wouldn't have found if you hadn't posted this. I've been saying that my house was built in 1884 (according to tax records) but this says that a "structure" was on the land by 1902.

Very cool.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:39 AM on September 6, 2007

*Not posting at all will help with that problem.

That's a little drastic.

The hell you say.

Great post, dersins. I'm a'packing my bags now, though with that bit about the National Trust and luxe transportation, maybe I'll be taking a trip across the pond...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:48 PM on September 6, 2007

I'd read the NYT article and wondered about any requirements to open your home to the public. Now that dersins has done the legwork, I see the requirement (in MD) is pretty minimal, just "three to five times [days?] each year."
posted by exogenous at 3:03 PM on September 6, 2007

Oh hey this is great. I already live for free in a historic-ish house in Vermont, but now I know what I'll need to do when my landlady comes back from Africa in 2009.

[DU, I saw what you did there]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:59 PM on September 6, 2007

This is fantastic information about something I never heard of before and would love to do.

I've just finished restoring a Bucks County stone farmhouse, it's up for sale, and I hope soon to be looking for another project.

Thanks so much for the post.
posted by Marygwen at 5:59 PM on September 6, 2007

I live in an old for the Western USA house (1902), and It's a project. I'm actually a project myself. This is something I'd totally be interested in, but I don't have the focus to do something like this. I have way too many interests.

(I think DU is trying to catch up with delmoi in the comment thing) ;)
posted by Eekacat at 6:40 PM on September 6, 2007

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