What is co-living?

Co-living can take many forms across a broad spectrum, with large, hotel-like properties with luxury amenities at one end, and single-family houses and flats that have been converted to ideal co-living spaces at the other.

Co-Living as a ‘Hotel-like’ model

The hotel-like model has elements of a hotel, and elements of student accommodation. Each tenant is given their own private room, but the design is such that the majority of a tenant’s time is spent in communal areas. Rooms are almost always en-suite, and it is also common to have simple kitchen facilities within the room, such as a small hob, cupboard space and a fridge.

The most expensive hotel-like co-living developments have an extensive range of luxury amenities, such as games/cinema rooms, swimming pools, gyms and other facilities usually found in large hotels. What is common to all large co-living developments is a focus on co-working spaces. Rooms are designed as a place for privacy and to sleep, but most work/downtime is conducted in communal areas.

The price is all inclusive so that a tenant is given one bill at the end of every month, and does not have to worry about separate utilities, cleaning or council tax bills. Whilst this is common to both models, this all-inclusive price is higher, due to the access to the luxury amenities.

Standardised flat-share model: ‘Traditional’ Co-Living

The standardised flat-share model, adapted to provide ideal co-living, more closely resembles conventional house-shares. Instead of large developments, this version of co-living is within smaller, individual properties that have been adapted for ideal co-living accommodation. Each tenant is given their own private room, and shares the rest of the facilities with their flatmates. The difference between a conventional house-share and one that has been adapted to co-living comes in the convenience, location and quality of the accommodation.

Similar to the hotel-like model, tenants pay a single bill, including internet, council tax, utilities and weekly cleaning of communal spaces. This is far more convenient for tenants than a standard house-share, as there are far fewer concerns to worry about. There is also an added convenience to moving in and out, as tenancy lengths are flexible, and tenants can move from co-living property to property without having to terminate one contract to open another one. By utilising a broad individual property model, tenants can move to wherever in the city best suits their changing needs, rather than being tied to a large development’s location.

Furthermore, due to the way the properties have been deliberately adapted to suit the needs of individuals co-living, each tenant has a more enjoyable experience. Bathrooms are adapted for multiple occupants, and kitchen spaces are specifically divided so that everyone gets what they need.

How does co-living work?

As far as tenancy goes, co-living is very simple. Tenants find the co-living location that works for them, choose a move-in date, and then follow a straightforward process to actually begin their residency. There are flexible tenancy lengths, with many operators offering reduced room rates for longer stays, but short stays (sometimes just 1 night) are available. Tenants pay a single bill per month, with all utilities and other costs of renting included in this number. During their tenancy, individuals then have all inclusive access to the facilities, such as laundry (the only facility to incur an extra charge with some operators), co-working spaces and any other amenities there may be. Dependant on the operator, most tenants can end contracts on relatively short notice, making the tenancy as stress-free as possible.

Why is the co-living market growing?

Co-living is an increasing attractive option for urban living, especially for young professionals. Rental prices in London and other urban centres have reached levels such that, for many, living in a self-contained unit has become financial unfeasible. Co-living, whether the hotel-like model or the standardised flat-share model, provides a way for these individuals to live in areas that may otherwise be unaffordable, but without the difficulties of bill-splitting, cleaning rotas etc. posed by a conventional flat-share.

How popular is co-living?

The concept of co-living is growing more popular every day. Renters across the globe, from New York to Berlin are faced with the same difficulties in finding affordable housing, and different styles of co-living have grown in many of these areas. Young professionals sharing accommodation has been common for many decades, and the popularity of co-living taps into this, by offering the same benefits of traditional house-shares, with additional convenience and affordability. Co-living has different degrees of popularity across the world, with America developing a great number of co-living entities in the past decade, and the UK beginning to catch up to the US level of popularity.

More Information

Co-Living Spaces in the UK