Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rent n.

1. [early 19C–1930s] money.

2. [20C+] protection money; thus rent-collector, a thug who gathers in such payments.

3. [1920s–50s] blackmail; thus renting, obtaining money either by criminal means (blackmail) or by offering homosexual favours.

4. [1960s+] a male homosexual prostitute [note that the website Gaymart.com ‘Queer Slang in the Gay 90s’ claims use throughout 19C].

5. [1930s] (UK gay) the earnings of a male prostitute.

6. working as a male prostitute.

7. [1990s+] (Aus. police/Und.) bribes paid to policemen, and the division thereof.

In compounds

rent boy (n.) [1960s+]

1. a young male homosexual prostitute.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

rent collector (n.)

[late 18C–early 19C] a highwayman, esp. one who prefers cash to jewels etc.

rent queen (n.)

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

rent rag (n.)

[late 19C+] (orig. US black) a party where the guests buy their refreshments to help pay the rent.

In phrases

one for the rent (n.)

[2010s] (Aus.) of a bet, a sure thing, a certain winner.