Co-living startups shift rental models


Old way: You move to a big city where housing is expensive and in high demand. You find an apartment above your price range and then post listings to Craigslist to find roommates who can help you cover the rent.

New way: You rent from a co-living startup that offers community living. You don’t have to sign a lease that’s more than you can afford or manage roommate vetting on your own.

In California, startup OpenDoor manages co-living homes and apartments. Residents rent private bedrooms while sharing common spaces. The company provides a suite of services to make shared living easier for all involved, from furnished common spaces to regular cleanings, business-class Wi-Fi, and community programming.

By some accounts, OpenDoor is part of the first wave of co-living concepts that have targeted young professionals, offering micro-spaces with shared kitchens and large communal areas. A new wave of options is now hitting the market. In the new model, residents have their own private kitchens and living areas as well as shared community spaces and amenities.

Co-living company Node operates under the latter model. The company currently has buildings in cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, New York, London and Dublin. Node apartments are fully furnished, so you can move in with just your suitcase, and are targeted at residents who want to stay anywhere from six months to several years.

Node and OpenDoor are among a number of companies, such as Common and WeLive, that are facilitating co-living by making it easier to find roommates, furnish apartments and connect residents.

Co-living startups are cropping up mainly in expensive cities with housing shortages and high rents. But some analysts suggest that co-living options could become the housing model of choice for a mobile, digital workforce.

Remote work is on the rise and fewer jobs require employees to report to an office each day. That creates a class of workers who don’t need to be tied to a single home in one city for the long-term. Co-living models enable a more flexible, nomadic lifestyle for people who want to experience living in multiple places but want to find an instant sense of community in each.

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