·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

5 Alternative (Legal) Types of Housing

— July 5, 2023

No matter what type of alternative housing you choose, make sure you plan how to improve your situation.

The economic instability in the U.S. right now has made it difficult for some people to figure out where they are going to live. Traditional housing is not possible for many folks because of job loss, pandemic-related expenses, or other financial emergencies. This means people have to get creative and accept some alternative form of housing.

Can you live in your car? It is legal to reside in your vehicle for certain lengths of time as long as you don’t trespass on someone else’s property. What about living with family members or friends? You should talk to someone you care about and see if they can lend a room in their living space. 

We’ll talk about several different alternative housing types and how to live an everyday life when you don’t have a house. We’ll also discuss whether it is possible to find work and get back on your feet when you don’t live in your own home. 

#1 – Your Parents’ Home

Living with your parents has its ups and downs. If you cannot pay for your housing, it’s hard to think of a better place to move back to than Mom and Dad’s. Your parents are likely to be the first people to welcome you back into their home with open arms.

The difficulty in this situation is that some adult children feel great shame in returning home. Moving back home with your parents might feel like a step backward that will be hard to recover from. Adult children can feel they are a burden on their parents. They want to find a way to contribute to the home as much as possible while staying with their parents. 

This is a perfectly reasonable thing to feel. Buy some gardening tools and help with lawn care. Go to the store and cook so your parents can have a hot meal without effort. Do the laundry for the household if you can. 

Since you’re likely not paying any housing expenses, helping around the house as much as possible can help you feel less like a burden. Another bonus is your parents may be able to help you out with things like taking care of children while you are at work (if you have kids).

If you lost your job, you wouldn’t have to pay for daycare. This allows you to save money previously spent on this expense and build up savings faster. 

#2 – Apartment

Apartment living might feel like a huge step down from house living if you are used to the latter. It can be an invasive experience to have other renters making noise just a few feet away. You might not always get the same creative freedom with designing rooms in your living space since landlords often have rules on paint colors and flooring. 

Apartment living is an excellent form of alternative housing if you have to move out of your house. Try to move to a city with lower rent prices. Big cities often have rent that reaches thousands of dollars a month. Suburbs and smaller towns may be better for your wallet. 

Think of some positives of apartment living that you don’t get in a house. You no longer have to worry about keeping up with a yard. You don’t always need to repair your plumbing. You can quickly call the landlord and have them take care of the broken pipes and added expenses. It might just be an experience you decide is better than living in your house. 

#3 – Your Vehicle

Living in your car can be a tricky experience. You need to make sure you are parking your vehicle in a legal area when you are stopped for long periods. Camping grounds and homeless shelters are two of the best places to park your car if you are staying overnight. 

Make sure your car has auto insurance when you are living in it. With the proper coverage, insurance can help pay for damages to your vehicle while parked. It will also prevent you from getting a ticket for not having insurance. There are minimum auto insurance requirements in all but two states.

You could also ask someone you know if they will let you park your car outside of their house, perhaps in their driveway. 

#4 – Friend’s House

If you can co-inhabit a house with your friends, this is an excellent alternative method of housing. You may find it makes you feel young and alive again to spend time with people from your past and learn about how they live in the present. 

Your friends could want to charge you for more things while you live with them than your parents. This means you need to be prepared to do more than just chores around the house. Coming up with the money for food, water, and other expenses is vital when living with a friend. 

#5 – Hotel Living

A selection of small soaps provided to guests by hotels.
Hotel soaps. Photo by Holger.Ellgaard, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Hotel living is probably one of the last options on your list of alternative housing options, but it can work depending on the cost of the room. Living in a hotel can be very expensive, depending on what hotel or motel you choose. If you can find an inexpensive room, then hotel living might be a viable option for the short term.

Hotel living gives you a place to hang your hat when you have nowhere else to go. You might also be safer in a hotel room than in your car. Try to choose a hotel with low crime rates in the surrounding areas. 

No matter what type of alternative housing you choose, make sure you plan how to improve your situation. Find a job, save up money, and change your life. These are all supposed to be temporary housing options while you get back to the point where you can live in a house again. 

Join the conversation!