What Is Co-Living?

You’ve heard of sharing an apartment with roommates – if you’re like many Americans, you’ve almost certainly done so at some point in your life. Now, get ready for what is gradually becoming a new setup for sharing apartments with other people: co-living.

As you might have guessed from the fact that “co-living” is its own unique, newer term, co-living isn’t the same as a traditional roommate arrangement. How does co-living differ from an ordinary roommate setup? Read on to find out.

What is co-living?

Think about the last apartment you shared with roommates. You may have lived in an apartment with somewhere between two and five bedrooms, with each room home to one person (or sometimes a couple). You all shared a kitchen, at least one bathroom, and maybe a common area such as a living room. Co-living keeps these fundamentals intact, but it includes extra elements that might be better for certain people.

In a co-living space, a co-living company – different than a traditional landlord or management company – oversees affairs. This company doesn’t just handle all maintenance – it sets certain rules by which tenants must abide, somewhat similarly to how students living in college dorms have to follow certain campus policies. These co-living companies also tend to manage amenities included with rent (such as in-house cleaning services) that a traditional apartment doesn’t guarantee.

Who might opt for co-living spaces, and why?

Co-living often appeals most to millennial entrepreneurs and startup employees too busy to actively maintain social lives. Co-living spaces group together people with common interests, and the co-living companies that oversee these spaces tend to set them up to encourage social interaction.

Co-living spaces can offer solutions for other people as well. They often come fully furnished, saving tenants money, time, and stress on moving mattresses, couches, and more. Co-living spaces likewise tend to include utilities in the rent, saving tenants the burden of setting up utility accounts and paying extra money beyond rent toward their living expenses. They’re also almost universally luxury rentals rather than commonplace apartments.

Perhaps most appealingly, though, opting for a co-living arrangement takes the burden of finding roommates off tenants’ hands. Co-living companies advertise single units for rent in their spaces, and the inhabitants of those units share the usual common spaces – bathrooms, the kitchen, etc. – with total strangers chosen by the co-living company. Given the similar interests shared among tenants, though, these complete strangers tend to quickly become friends.

How common is co-living?

Co-living is unquestionably among the newest concepts in shared living, but it’s not a limited phenomenon. Currently, co-living spaces in the U.S. house approximately 3,300 people. And with millennials looking to cut living costs however they can, co-living spaces might be here to stay.

Okay, but is it that different from traditional roommate living?

Well, yes and no. Co-living spaces and traditional roommate setups both include shared bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms, with all roommates having their own private bedrooms. However, with the number of burdens that co-living spaces take off tenants’ hands – tending to utility bills, finding roommates, cleaning regularly – they might be the right option for certain people. Do your research before deciding which option is right for you, and remember to always see apartments in person before signing a lease.

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