For Cash-Strapped Renters, Parties Spell Relief

rent partiesABC News Photo Illustration

House parties can offer a good time on a Saturday night, but in the current economic climate, they might provide a whole lot more for desperate renters.

Some renters, strapped for cash, have been forced to get creative by throwing rent parties to make ends meet.

Rob Alicea in Astoria, N.Y., threw a rent party recently, asking friends to each donate $10 for a night of partying, complete with beverages and snacks.

VIDEO: Rent parties are a product of the tough economic times.Play

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Alicea, an aspiring actor who also tends bar to make a living, recently found his wages cut in half.

"When people move into apartments," Alicea said, "they throw house warming parties and people donate things. So I said to myself, 'Why can't I just throw a party and have people just donate money to a cause?' The cause being me."

Alicea said he could pull in around $400 for a "very successful evening."

"I know it's kind of tough living in NYC. Making rent is tough," attendee Jake Sczna said. "But everybody is coming here, having a good time. Throwing in $10 to help him make rent is not a bad idea, so I'm all about it."

Daniel Marks, who has also turned to rent parties, said, "I charged $12 a head at the door for all you can drink -- however, quite a few people gave quite a bit more."

Rent parties, a creative solution for recession pains, are not so unusual after all. The tradition dates back to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, when residents would entertain in their own homes to raise money for rent.

Fliers would be dropped in mailboxes to promote the gatherings like one that read "If Sweet Mamma is running wild and you are looking for a Do-right child, just come around and linger awhile at a 'Social Whist Party.'"

"I think it's great idea," one partygoer, Kristi Parda, said. "And if you need the money, why not?"

What You Need to Throw the Perfect Rent Party

Throwing a rent party may be a great way to make some extra cash, but they don't just happen by themselves. Here are the tips you need to make your rent party fun and profitable.

A Place

The location is obvious. Having the rent party at your apartment will show partygoers where their contributions are going. Make sure nothing in your lease prohibits parties and be respectful of your neighbors. Let them know beforehand, or even invite them.

Food and Drinks

Offer your guests something to snack on but keep the treats cheap. Spending all the donations on snacks or drinks might leave you short at the end of the month.


There are lots of easy ways to keep guests entertained. Create a playlist of songs to get people dancing or provide games to keep the party going.

Collecting the Cash

A simple hat or can is all you need. Have your receptacle handy when you greet your guests and watch the rent roll in.