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CO-LIVING: What the Future of Renting Looks Like?

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Many cities all over the world are coping with both urban squeeze and accelerating house costs that they’re now capitalising on co-living apartment or studio properties as a perfect and timely response.

The term co-housing first began in the 1970s in Denmark until it has influenced Australia in the more recent years, with the first co-living property that opened in Stanmore in Sydney in the year 2019.

Co-living has become more popular among a varied set of people —- the travellers, the couples and the young who opted for this option of living and working in an enhanced social manner.

Co-living has been visualized as the 21st set-up of adult dormitory life which deals with reasonably-priced urban type of housing. It supports social connections while dropping resource use.  As generally established under boarding house restrictions of the new generation, co-living offers building rental accommodations with considerable communal spaces.  Most properties even provide a dedicated professional community manager for the community to prosper.

What is Co-Living?

Normally, a co-living structure is a huge house or an apartment which has private studio units that are mostly fully-furnished and has joint collective spaces. This is how it works: residents rent a self-contained apartment and they usually enjoy sharing the activities and spaces with their co-residents. These common spaces may include the following: dining room, kitchen, lounge rooms, laundry room, study centres and courtyards.

The outdated traditional boarding houses, lodging or rooming houses occasionally do not appear to have good reputation with the community. They raise issues of transient people and large number of residents jampacked into a house that’s not built for the capacity.  The recent generation’s properties intended for co-living are established under the usual boarding houses’ regulations but still meant to offer a modern-day self-sufficient rental feel. Others are for-profit generating, while some are set-up to provide social housing objectives through cooperatives.

Most co-living properties hire a professional community manager who is tasked to manage and organize certain events and classes for the residents.  The rent generally includes cleaning services, utilities and the access to participate and enjoy such activities prepared for them.

What Makes up Co-Living?

Co-living prices differ based on the size of the apartment and location – but these co-living spaces may cost from $400 a week. The variation lies on the inclusions as this cost is actually more than one pays for one room of the same size in a share house.

To start off, the exquisitely designed apartment or studio unit is usually furnished with smart furniture to bring out the ultimate space functionalities and improved storage.  All rooms have a bedroom, bathroom, desk and a kitchenette. Appliances such as an HD TV and furnishings like bed linen and laundry services as well as all bills for utilities are included. There’s also the much-desired ultra-high-speed WIFI (since most are in Work from Home (WFH) arrangements and this is required as an essential facility for them).

The renters are fortunate to have the opportunity to socialize on a daily basis with like-minded people as well as enjoy sit-down meals with their fellow renters.  They can also go extra on going for movie nights maybe on Fridays, onsite yoga classes, BBQ nights, even wine making and crafts classes. The feeling of belongingness in a community, plus the companionship that’s tied up with this type of living arrangement are really part of the rental experience.

There is someone who works as a full time “host” at the property.  Most renters know this person as a housemother or a landlord somewhat.  The “host” takes charge of managing the property in different ways like checking on the new residents and running community events. To renters, this person is considered to be more like a friend and a valued member of the community.

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The Collaboration in Co-Living

Co-living is considered to be a type of collaborative housing when it is envisioned to support social connections and is managed according to collaborative housing principles.

There are 2 models:  for profit and social housing.  For-profit models:  there is a kind of sense of community through the various events, classes and activities in the common spaces being handled by the community managers. As we know that apartments are cramped and small, the weight is largely on hanging out in the shared areas. The residents have generally no roles in the property’s governance. Conversely, this is not the case for social housing types of co-living, such that if you are into a housing cooperative, you have the opportunity get involved in the property’s governance.

Advantages of Co-Living

Co-living provides a number of advantages as a modern communal lifestyle. Those who opt for co-living often takes it easy transitioning to the “new” situation, and at the same time having social connections. You see – it’s really not just having a furnished home with a private bedroom and shared collective areas.

Connections with others

The primary and best-selling proposition for co-living is the sense of community. Many do not want to reside in an apartment alone or without any company, hence, co-living provides that opportunity to have everything or to be more precise – an outstanding apartment to live coupled with great community.

 For those who opt for co-living lifestyle – the dominant part of this arrangement is certainly in forming connections. All who are after this definitely know about it. This means that if you’re transferring residence from another part of the country or the world to Sydney – then having your co-living housemates would make the difference, they will help relieve you of the discomfort and uncertainties that come with “moving”. This makes the situation a whole lot better for you.

Shared Experiences

It can be unnerving to be out there and meet like-minded individuals in a new city. We know that. So, you are supported with possibilities to connect and this is not far-fetched at all. Take your pick: barbecue nights in the patio, movie night outs or just walking around the neighbourhood with a new friend are some of the many things you can do to make yourself “feel at home” with your new place in good company. Isn’t that cool?  

Flexibility

What’s great about co-living is the flexibility it offers. For one, there are no lease agreements for you.  Thus, people are provided a secure living arrangement but they’re free and not stuck at all.  

This is a remarkable reward for those who are inclined towards the idea of co-living such as the frequent travellers who move from one city to another and the digital nomads who also have their professional obligations and gigs to attend to, or maybe just their itchy feet to keep on discovering and in the process, experience some kind of new and unfamiliar adventures.

 Co-Living is BEST for whom?  

Co-Living’s For-Profit models are being promoted strongly to the income-age group of Millennials to meet their specific housing needs and demands. At present, co-living structures have drawn the attention of a diverse and groups of renters across all generations.

This type of co-living is suitable for young urban singles, either as professionals or entrepreneurs who prefer the modern living conveniences but are not looking into buying in the housing market. As the rents are quite pricey which can be attributed to the kind of premium services being offered, this implies that this type of living arrangement is not certainly intended for the lower-income bracket of the population.

There are co-living properties with maximum duration for stay while the minimum stay is usually lesser than the usual type pf leases. It is commonly one to three months, a fair kind of stay with flexibility for those who work at a highly-mobile lifestyle.

Social housing models for co-living usually cater to a wide range of markets offering affordable housing benefits to the low-income earners, residents who have special needs and those who are on Centrelink payments.

Comparison:  Co-Living vs. Share Housing

Space and Amenities

Co-living arrangements are described as renters having their own specific rooms for their private comfort but still enjoying shared common areas, such as indoor or outdoor living room areas.  This living arrangement also is most likely to offer residents with their own bathroom and kitchen or their choice if not that significant to them.  The simplest way to think of co-living is that it offers one with ‘individual homes’ built among a central point, a community where you can share facilities with.

In general, share houses’ layout is what you mostly expect in a typical suburban flat or house. There is a bathroom, a kitchen, and perhaps, a laundry that’s shared between residents. There is a single room for each member of the shared house but the kitchen and bathroom are shared within the house. The size of the total space is based on what the average size of the same flat or house that’s within the area. Though only one generally occupies the only ‘master bedroom’ and in some cases, many bedrooms’ sizes are comparable to a study room. Some may have ensuite, if you’re very lucky . Everything can be discussed with your housemates whether you agree to pool funds together to upgrade or improve anything in the house.

Location

If you’re deciding between share housing or co-living – location is one important issue that should be considered.  For share houses – they’re usually a traditional flat or a private house. The location is more in the suburban areas of a particular city.

Quite the opposite, co-living houses are located generally at the city centre or high-demand places which ensure that living near work is reasonable and not difficult.

Demographics

Though it is not as often as presumed, the demographics on residents for co-living and shared housing varies. For share housing – market seems to be on the much older residents.

While for co-living, the demographic profiles of the residents normally would be made up of working professionals, travellers and digital nomads.

Key Takeaways

Until recently, patterns and trends of intentional communal living have been in the midst. Thus, you will note that popular terms like co-living and share housing have just turned up. As a way of living, these could not be any different at all. Apparently, the more traditional options for renting like share housing is what most people know – we cannot deny the fact that co-living is becoming a more acknowledged choice of lifestyle for many others., especially the younger set.  

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