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I am looking for an expression that emphasizes moving into a friends place without having to paying rent. Only because your friend is doing you a favor.

I am planning to using it in the line below.

I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and 'right phrase' friends apartments.

This line can change though.

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3  
sofa-surfing in –  Unreason Nov 25 '11 at 15:20
    
@Unreason. I loved yours, unfortunately this is for a formal essay. –  Peretz Nov 25 '11 at 15:26
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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The term crashing could fit. It's slang for staying somewhere, usually implied that it's staying and not paying. I don't know if this slang is common where you or your audience are, so it may or may not work. Other slang, as Unreason mentioned, would be sofa-surfing or couch-surfing.

I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and crashing at my friends' apartments.

A more formal term could be residing, but it's not implicit (not to me, at least) that you didn't have to pay.

I don't know of any formal words that would imply staying rent-free, so you may just have to say it that (or a similar) way, maybe like this:

I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and staying at friends' apartments, rent-free thanks to their graciousness.

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This is for an application to a school. Seems that crashing at is the right word. Is it to informal to use? –  Peretz Nov 25 '11 at 15:29
    
"Crashing" is extremely informal. I made a suggestion in my own comment for an alternative. –  Bjorn Nov 25 '11 at 16:46
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Staying is a word that implies temporary, rather than long-term, residence - as in "I am staying at a friend's tonight".

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Especially in an application. "I had to cut expenses by moving out of my place and staying with friends." –  Kate Gregory Nov 25 '11 at 17:01
    
+1 for stay vs. reside. –  Terry Li Nov 25 '11 at 20:47
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Since you want to use this sentence in a school application I'd recommend you to use formal language."Crashing" would be a perfectly fine term when you're speaking/writing to someone in an informal capacity - but I would never use it in formal writing.

"In order to cut expenses I was forced to move out of my place. Fortunately, one of my friends was kind enough to allow me to stay over (without charging me rent)."

I'd only use the part in parentheses if it is absolutely necessary for them to know that you're friend is letting you stay over for free. I think that this situation is already implicit as a result of mentioning you were forced to move out to save money. But if it is really that important it is better to state it explicitly.

Also note that you may have to adjust the tense of the sentence. If you are no longer staying at your friend's than "was" is fine. If you are still staying there than use "has been kind enough".

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How about using some variation of squatter or taking refuge?

I'm squatting at my friend's apartment.

I'm taking refuge at my friend's apartment.

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1  
Squatting seems to be in an illegal context. And for some reason taking refuge, sounds more appropriate when going to a homeless shelter, what do you think? –  Peretz Nov 25 '11 at 15:29
    
In the US, squatting certainly sounds illegal, but in most Commonwealth (English-speaking) countries, this is the best word to use. –  Jimi Oke Nov 25 '11 at 15:44
    
taking refuge implies (to me) that you are hiding from someone/thing that is pursuing you. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 25 '11 at 15:58
1  
@FrustratedWithFormsDesigner or it could just be refuge from the outside world. I would consider staying with friends a refuge from living in, say, a tent or a homeless shelter. Even closer to refuge if parents or boyfriend/girlfriend had asked them to leave. –  rajah9 Nov 25 '11 at 17:50
    
@Peretz, one definition of squatter at thefreedictionary.com/squatter is "To settle on unoccupied land without legal claim." In this context, "squatter" highlights "without legal claim," which is the case when the OP does not pay rent. (Note that "without legal claim" is not the same is "illegal.") Also, consider where the OP would sleep. Probably "settle on unoccupied" couch, no? –  rajah9 Nov 25 '11 at 17:57
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