Rent a house for free - as long as you'll do the DIY


HammersSteve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Jax and David Ayton have offered a three bedroom-terrace house rent-free to any willing tenant in Darlington.

The property would normally fetch £475 a month, but if your DIY is up to the task, you could live in the property for nothing. The catch is that you'll have to work on the property while you are there - and it is currently in a desperate state.


The couple told the Daily Mail that their property was first damaged by a former tenant. Among the damage was the fact she burned the garage down and knocked holes in the wall. Then to add insult to injury it was attacked by metal thieves, who took whatever they could rip out - including the pipes and electrical wiring.

The couple were told that repairs would cost somewhere between £17,000 ad £23,000 - which they couldn't possibly afford. That's when they hit on the alternative - of getting a tenant to do the work.

The deal

The couple, who own a string of other properties, say they will fit new windows and electrics before renting the property. They will also supply all the building materials, although the tenant will have to agree the style of renovations, and that will be written into the contract.

They told the newspaper that they would be holding X-Factor style auditions to find the right tenant.


You can see what's in it for the couple. They get their property restored to a high standard with a minimal outlay.

However, they are taking a risk. Even with the best of intentions, there's no guarantee of standards. According to Santander, 13% of DIY and home improvement projects undertaken in the last year went wrong in some way - and it could end up costing them even more to put it right.

Who would?

It's even harder to see is what's in it for the tenant. They will have to start out in a property in an appalling state. Without pipes they have no running water and no useable toilet. Clearly they will have to do a chunk of work while the property is uninhabitable.

Even once they are able to move in, they will have to live with the mess and chaos of a property undergoing DIY. They will also have to balance the work with their full-time job - otherwise they're not going to have anything to live on.

Most people struggle with this even when it's their own home. According to JP Morgan, DIY is the thing on our 'to-do' list that we're most likely to put off - with 47% of us not having the time to get round to it.

Once they have finally finished, their reward will be to start paying market rate rent again. And if they've done a good enough job, they could find themselves paying upwards of £475 a month.

Surely after working so hard for so long they ought to have something to show for it.

But what do you think? Will this appeal to anyone? Let us know in the comments.