Years of rent-free living, thanks to housing market crash

Millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure after the housing market collapsed.

But an Indianapolis woman says she's had a free ride for nearly a decade, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

Lisa Hardy has been living in an Indianapolis house for nine years without paying a penny in rent.

"I can honestly say it's just an incredible circumstance," Hardy said.

That's right, she's living rent-free.

Despite the nearly no-strings-attached claim, she didn't think any of it was too good to be true.

A decade ago, Hardy was working for a real estate company that made her an offer she couldn't refuse.

"You and your family find a house and move in it," she said.

The idea was that as long as she worked for the realtor, she'd have a house. So Hardy picked a three-bedroom house the company owned and moved in.

"There was really no time limit on how long I would be here," Hardy explained. "As time goes on, I'm thinking they were planning to put me on a lease."

But when her boss went to prison for mortgage fraud, and the real estate company collapsed, Hardy stayed -- for the next nine years.

Though she said over the years, she's felt nervous.

"It had its ups and downs," she admitted.

But she paid her utilities, installed new appliances and went on with her life.

The city, unaware there was an occupant, offered to auction off the home which was built in 1910. Hardy actually tried to buy it at a bargain basement price, but each time it was pulled off the block for no apparent reason.

Then when it came on the market again three months ago, the asking price of $7,500 was too steep for Hardy.

Her story, while unusual, is no surprise to housing advocate Roger Rayburn.

"Simply because of the glut of houses that the city had under their control, there were so many to deal with -- literally thousands -- that it was impossible to keep up with," Rayburn explained.

And he said this would not have happened had there not been a housing collapse.

"This is just a pinprick of what happened nationwide," Rayburn said.

At the last auction of the home in question, a company from Singapore finally bought it.

At the time, Hardy said she didn't know what she was going to do.

But in a twist to the story, the Singapore company told "CBS This Morning" it wants to keep Hardy in the home -- and fix the roof and work out a deal for a monthly rental payment.