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Are Co-Living Tenants Searching For a Community or Just Short of Cash?

Peter Hemple looks at the rising popularity of shared accommodation

The search for community combined with the increasing costs of buying property in London and the South East have resulted in the rapid growth of the co-living sector. This is a natural progression after the success of co-working spaces in recent years, which are becoming a dominant force within the office sector.

With the constantly rising percentage of young people going to university to get a degree before starting full-time employment in the UK, it is not surprising that so many are willing to entertain the thought of coliving while working, as most experienced living that way while resident at a similar coliving student accommodation scheme.

Co-living developments (for workers) have become increasingly common in the UK, with a number of new start-ups entering the market in recent years, as well as the more established large property companies that are expanding the co-working success story into residential accommodation.

Most of these developments consist of individual apartments for residents, generally with private bathroom facilities and, possibly, but not always, their own kitchen facilities. Whilst smaller than traditional apartment accommodation, this is often compensated for with a wide variety of communal spaces, which may include a luxurious kitchen, but frequently also includes shared spaces for working (with fast broadband), sofa/TV areas, dining areas and a gym.

Apart from offering services that nearly all vanilla BTL landlords will struggle to compete with, some of these schemes are also not requiring a cash deposit and may also have very flexible terms with regards to giving notice and moving out. If this is starting to sound a lot like an article we wrote recently in PIN on build-to-rent selfcontained apartments, it is because the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred. The reason for this in a city like London for example, is that there is ultimately a limit to how much most working tenants can afford to pay each month, so as the competition between build-to-rent companies heats-up, they will search for a competitive edge by offering more shared facilities to their tenants.

As there are already age related co-living schemes at the higher and lower age ranges (pensioners and students), it is only natural that eventually there will probably be co-living schemes catering for the 20-35 age range, or the 35-50 age range, as companies try to differentiate themselves from others and offer a more specific range of shared facilities.

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