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Communal Living in New York

Rapid-fire moves from existing companies and new entrants have kept the communal living market fairly stable in recent months.

One of the more interesting trends in the city’s real estate market has been the growth of co-living. It allows tenants to share a lease with other people, usually without their names on it. In some cases, residents get single rooms that they can then furnish however they want. In others, there’s a common area where each person has a bed and maybe a dresser.

The communal living business is booming, and not just for companies that own buildings and houses and provide the physical space for these arrangements. Several companies that offer networking events, online communities and help with everything from security deposits to moving assistance — you name it — are doing quite well, too.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of co-living, here’s how it works: typically one large apartment is divided into small units, 10 to 12 feet by 12 feet, that are leased by the month.

Click this link to find monthly shared apartments in New York at SharedEasy.

What is co-living?

Co-living spaces come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can find everything from converted houses with six bedrooms to full-floor apartments with 12 bedrooms. Some co-living spaces offer a more “apartment-style” living experience, while others are geared more towards the hotel experience.

Say, for example, you move into a co-living apartment with three roommates. You have the option to sign the lease together if you want, but it’s not required. It’s also optional whether you all pay separately or you can set up an automatic payment plan with your fellow roommates.

The purpose of co-living

Co-living is a temporary solution to a housing problem. Right now, in most cities, your housing options are limited. Either you sleep in a bed you own or rent, or you live in someone else’s crib. Co-living is somewhere in between.

The basic costs of co-living are higher than renting your own place. You have to pay for utilities, insurance, and maintenance. Your room also often comes with extra amenities, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

The costs are lower, however, than paying rent to a landlord. Rent in New York City ranges from around $2,000 a month to more than $10,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. A room in a co-living space usually shares a kitchen and bathroom with one or two other rooms. However, the utilities and maintenance costs at a co-living space are often comparable to living in a one-bedroom apartment. On the positive side, co-living spaces provide a ready-made social circle. Many members meet through a shared interest in music, politics, or sports.

The difference between co-living companies

There are some people who buy whole apartments, others buy rooms, and some people buy studios. The apartments come with their own bathrooms, closets, and kitchens. Rooms, on the other hand, are often in a shared space, like a large common room with couches. Some rooms come with a kitchenette or the food is included in the rent. Studios, by contrast, have neither a kitchen nor a living room but offer a kitchen and enough amenities to make that less of a problem.

Co-living companies are now offering huge, furnished apartments, with hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. They are offering workout facilities, swimming pools, and on-site staff. Co-living companies are offering a lot of services, but they aren’t trying to be full-service. Instead of a concierge, they’re offering a resident manager who oversees the building but isn’t available for concierge service. Instead of a front desk, they’re offering a shared lobby.

Three main coliving companies in New York

Outsite

Outsite coliving, an online multi-room community, now has four locations around the United States, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. Founded last year, Outsite, to date, has largely kept its locations private. But now, they’re opening up, with membership starting Friday and daily rates starting at $100.

SharedEasy

SharedEasy is a co-living startup that rents out furnished apartments in major cities. Think Airbnb, but for roommates, with every bedroom arranged so that whoever lives there has a private bathroom.

SharedEasy has been around since 2013, and its business plan is simple: rent out apartments cheaply, then charge people a monthly fee for their room, which can include utilities, cable, and internet. The SharedEasy model has one key difference from Airbnb: you can sleep in roommates’ beds.

Common

You look around the lobby of Common Coliving’s 1 East 63rd Street location, and you see people working on laptops in one corner, friends enjoying coffee and conversation in another, and people socializing in the communal area. It’s a diverse, busy, and vibrant scene, with individuals from all over the world.

Common Coliving offers affordable coliving in shared spaces. The rooms come with furnishings, a shared kitchen, and bathrooms. Coliving buildings are fully staffed, and amenities include laundry, housekeeping, and community events. Common Coliving offers features not often found in temporary housing, such as a fitness center, bike storage, and a 24/7 front desk.

Conclusion

For those seeking housing in NYC, co-living provides a flexible and relatively painless solution. For the savvy renter, the trade-off may be time and convenience versus savings and freedom. But for many, it’s an appealing option.

Co-living is currently pretty trendy in New York City. And while it’s not for everyone, it has its allure to newcomers’ trying to navigate the challenging city real estate market.

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