What’s The Deal With Co-Living?


Check out the new kid on the property block

We’ve been hearing a lot about co-living recently, and the word on the street is that this new way of renting is a major disruption to the fragile UK property market.

So what is it? Co-living spaces, which are springing up in many major urban areas, are flats (from studio to 2 bed) built specifically for rental use, with some communal facilities and services thrown in. There might be a communal lounge with free coffee, a rooftop pool (yes really), a 24 hour concierge, or a beautifully appointed dining room for parties. Think starter flats with hotel services.

And are they cheap? Not necessarily - apartments in London’s former Olympic village start at nearly £2k a month for a small one-bed. But, according to one of the property companies running this new game, you could be making savings elsewhere by co-living.

We spoke to Daniel Jung from the plug-and-play, high standard co-living provider, Quarters, to get the low-down:

“Co-living can unlock substantial additional benefits for members – even if they are on a tight budget. Those benefits such as an amazing city location or football-pitch-sized roof top terraces with views on skylines would most likely be out of reach otherwise. Contracts are plug-and-play, individual, all-inclusive and flexible. As affordability of flats in major city locations becomes scarce, the housing market adopts that shared mentality more and more.

So what else is unique about this shared domestic lifestyle?

“Co-living gives you a jump-start in a new location or new stage of your life. It allows you to simply plug yourself into a vibrant community of people and an exciting new neighbourhood in a true city location – and all of it at an affordable all-inclusive rent. We offer a new, easy and affordable living experience that connects members on similar journeys.”

A big attraction is that many of these units, like the ones let by the company Vivahouse, can be rented for as little as one month at a time. Perfect if you’re at a transitional stage in your career, as we sense quite a few Vestpod-ers are... After all, if you’re making the move from being a salaried employee to a freelancer, for example, you don’t want to be tied in to an expensive rental contract for six months.

It seems to us that  co-living is a pretty funky next step after student living or post-grad life in a shared house, for those who might not be ready to get a foot on the property ladder. With millennials facing a uniquely uncertain future financially (and - on the plus side - greater flexibility than ever when it comes to sampling different careers or enjoying a portfolio of different ones concurrently), it seems that this could be a trend with legs. Think boarding houses for the Airbnb generation. So if you’re planning a move to a new city or are sick of the gumtree rental scene, check out one of these cool new shared pads, such as The Collective in West London or Echo Street in Manchester. Let’s face it - you’re never going to find a private pool on Gumtree.