Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rent n.

1. money.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry in Dramatic Works (1851) III 16: It’s everything now o’days to be able to flash the screens – sport the rhino – show the needful – post the pony – nap the rent – stump the pew.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 242: Rent: Money: cash.

2. protection money; thus rent-collector, a thug who gathers in such payments.

[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 30: Collecting ‘rents’ on small protection rackets. [Ibid.] 137: There was plenty of employment for [...] ‘rent-collectors’.
[UK](con. 1900–30) A. Harding in Samuel East End Und. 283: Rent – Protection money.
[US]Lehr & O’Neill Black Mass 159: The amount of rent, or tribute, Bulger charged was increasing steadily, as was the number of bookmakers and drug dealers making such payments.

3. blackmail; thus renting, obtaining money either by criminal means (blackmail) or by offering homosexual favours.

[UK]C. Mackenzie Thin Ice in DSUE (1984).

4. a male homosexual prostitute [note that the website ‘Queer Slang in the Gay 90s’ claims use throughout 19C].

[UK]G. Westwood A Minority 208: Rent, renter n. A male prostitute.
[UK]J. Orton Diaries (1986) 11 Mar. 111: The ugliest of these poor queens said, ‘No! I wouldn’t. He’s rent, you know!’.
[US]Maledicta III:2 220: The boys are hustlers, models, rent, ponces, though The Queens’ Vernacular may be wrong in more than the spelling poonces because I always thought a ponce was a pimp and not a pee-pee, crack salesman, kid on the game, etc.
[SA]B. Simon ‘Score Me the Ages’ Born in the RSA (1997) 171: I suss it all. The other rents, the moffies, the cops.
[UK] (ref. to 1930s) in Porter & Weeks Between the Acts 111: There was a good deal of rent then [...] one of the great places was the Coventry Street Corner House.
[US] Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s 🌐 Rent/Renter – Term used in the 1800’s to early 1900’s, for a gay man who charged a fee for sex. Another term for a hustler.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 157: A kid who looks about fifteen, street kid, maybe a rent, dirty, snotty-nosed.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle.
[UK]P. Baker Fabulosa 297/1: rent, renter, rent boy a male prostitute.

5. (UK gay) the earnings of a male prostitute.

[UK]T. Croft Cloven Hoof 65: ‘Rent’: earnings of male prostitutes.

6. working as a male prostitute.

[UK]M. Wilcox Rents (1997) 32: Is there any alternative to bloody rent?

7. (Aus. police/Und.) bribes paid to policemen, and the division thereof.

[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 51: the rent, meaning the division of the spoils between police officers.

In compounds

rent boy (n.)

1. a young male homosexual prostitute.

[[UK]T. Croft Cloven Hoof 65: ‘Rent’: [...] also used as an adjective in referring to male prostitutes].
Jeremy I iii 25/1: At the upper-end of the scene is the kept-boy who has little or nothing in common with the humbler ‘rent-boy’.
[UK]M. Wilcox Rents (1997) 28: A night with a highly skilled rent-boy’s worth at least £50.
[UK]D. Fallowell One Hot Summer in St Petersburg 90: I’m going to talk to that rent boy.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] ‘What’s the story. Are you a rent boy or what?’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 226: Best use both hands, sweetheart, as the bishop said to the rent boy.
[SA]Sun. Times (S.Afr.) Lifestyle 27 Jan. 10: Their productive lives as rentboys are as short as the pimps are brutal.
[SA]IOL News (Western Cape) 4 May 🌐 Media reports claimed Dewani once paid a German ‘rentboy’ for sex.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Class Act [ebook] He told her everything [about] Oscar Druitt and the rent boys.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 161: Horrocks’s alarmingly florid ‘widow’ Dominic Rose, very likely a former rent-boy who had lost his looks.

2. a body-guard.

[US]T. Pluck Bad Boy Boogie [ebook] ‘[W]e’ll see if your rentboys can drop me before I bite your throat out’.

3. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]Indep. Rev. 18 Feb. 11: He’s not averse to a little rent-boy action on the side.
rent collector (n.)

a highwayman, esp. one who prefers cash to jewels etc.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 147: ‘Rent collectors,’ are robbers of money only. Thus, ‘we have collected the rent,’ cannot be misunderstood for goods, however valuable.
rent queen (n.)

a young homosexual man, willing to have sex for money, but not a full-time prostitute.

[UK]Flame : a Life on the Game 71: Rent queens are rank amateurs who hang around gay pubs.
rent rag (n.)

(orig. US black) a party where the guests buy their refreshments to help pay the rent.

[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 18 Nov. 5/2: ‘That man will shortly put us outen o’ here; he surely will if I ain’t got that money for him. We all got to have a rent rag’.
[US]Ade Pink Marsh (1963) 152: ‘Quite a numbah o’ cullud fam’lies ’at’s hahd up ’iss time o’ yeah, an’ ’ey can’t ve’y well come up ’ith ’e rent. So ’ey have pahties, an’ chahge ev’y one someping to come in—ten cents sometimes, o’ as much as two bits [...] We had some ve’y wahm sessions at ’em rent-rags’.
[US]Pioneer Exp. (Pembina, ND) 6 Dec. 2/5: ‘What’s a rent rag?’ ‘Well, when some man gets down on his luck and can’t pay rent, he has a kind of benefit dance. The other tenants come to it and chip in 10 or 15 cents apiece’ .

In phrases

one for the rent (n.)

(Aus.) of a bet, a sure thing, a certain winner.

[Aus]T. Peacock More You Bet 6: And as ‘good thing’ might also be referred to as ‘one for the rent,’ or as a ‘moral’, which is short for a ‘moral certainty’.