WeWork, a start-up company specializing in shared office space, lately valued at $10 billion, has recently decided to add small apartments and community facilities to the top of 110 Wall Street in New York City’s Financial District. Its plan is to continue to build and develop an offshoot program called WeLive, a co-living program that is already making inroads in Washington, D.C. WeWork is specifically trying to target TAMI workers – those who work in technology, advertising, media, and information – with the goal of providing them affordable housing.
Co-living has also made its way to the other boroughs as well. A Brooklyn company called Common has planted its roots in Crown Heights and opened a 19-unit co-living space at 1162 Pacific Street. The rooms are fully furnished and are leased on a month-to-month basis, which CEO Brad Hargreaves says provides residents with more flexibility in their living situations. Common also hopes to build partnerships with other companies and institutions, so that out-of-towners will be referred to Common and its listings.
What is Co-Living?
The first thing that may come to mind when the word “co-living” comes up is a commune, a large home, piece of land, or apartment in which many people live together, work together, and provide for the benefit of the group as a whole. But communes were the “it” thing of the ‘60s, not today, right? Wrong. Co-living is still very much similar to communes, but it has been updated for the new society of today.
With co-living, people can rent out rooms in apartments for a month at a time for one price, all without needing to sign themselves into a lease or committing to a long term rental situation. It is perfect for those who are new to New York City, or those who do not come into the city often.
Co-living has been thriving on the West Coast, specifically in the booming tech cities of San Francisco and Seattle. In these cities where large Victorian homes and large apartments are easily and commonly changed into separate bedrooms for rent, making the change into co-living has been easy. It is also easy to make the necessary arrangement to make the change to co-living. In New York, however, the change has been harder due to the lack of spacious housing. Several companies, though, have begun to change that.
Pure House has been a leader in the co-living charge in New York City, specifically making strides in Brooklyn. It finds people who have like minds and who want to accomplish the same things with their lives, and it places them in the same location in order to live together. Members share their lives, joining together in cooking, cleaning, and caring for the living space. Pure House builds communities that share much more than just a place to crash.
Stage 3 is one of the newest companies breaking into the co-living craze in New York City. They have begun to construct a new building specifically for co-living that will be home to 180 units with the capacity to house 400 people. This massive project is set to be completed around 2017. Stage 3 has a unique mission statement that strongly appeals to many of the Millennials looking for new ways of living in the modern age. Stage 3 wants to completely reimagine how we live, as well as the processes, prices, and available methods of housing. It wants a housing revolution, and Millennials are leading the charge.
What are the Pros of Co-Living?
In today’s world, people want to move around, travel, and not be tied down to a lease. With co-living, renters can have the freedom to move around as often as they like. Anyone can try living in New York City without committing to the move permanently; spending a summer in the city has never been easier. Co-living apartments and townhouses are more like communities where like-minded people join together, share their ideas and live their lives with those who have common interests. With co-living, you can have the freedom to be yourself with the people who will help you spread your wings and succeed.
With co-living, you can also be exposed to a wide variety of people of varying backgrounds and interests. While many co-living companies have been trying to unite people with shared interests, it does not always work out that way. With co-living, you may be a first time visitor to New York City trying to find out if you want to permanently make the move, and you can live with an up and coming tech start up CEO or someone who travels the world. The possibilities of who you will live with are endless.
What are the Cons of Co-Living?
With something like co-living, where so much sounds great, there must be cons. In fact, many people are against the growth of this kind of co-living. One of the biggest drawbacks is that there is no security with your housing situation. Rent can be raised without warning and without any limits, and inhabitants can be kicked out easily with little more than a week’s notice. Many believe that co-living is going to drive the price of rent and housing in any situation up, making it harder for everyone to find a place to stay.
Much of co-living still has to follow the same laws and regulations as normal renting. Those who are managing and renting out these rooms typically do not own the building in which they are running and must still play the role of property manager. This means that possible co-livers will still need to undergo the vetting process, and property managers will still need to take security deposits from co-livers. While co-living is advertised as a housing revolution, many of the same annoyances that people face with normal renting remain with co-living because of current housing regulations.
How Can You Join Co-Living Housing?
If you are interested in joining one of the co-living housing situations in New York City, there are some things you should know. Because co-living in New York is so new and there are not many locations that are suitable for co-living in the city, it has become a fairly involved process to become accepted. Many of those who are running their own co-living situations, such as The Loft near the South Street Seaport, have involved processes to ensure that the right kinds of people are going to be living in their location. This may involve interviews, character references, and more. Interviews for The Loft are composed by both the owner and the residents living in the building currently so that all parties are happy with the new addition.
Not all co-living situations are this involved, though. Many times, one interview and an interest survey/questionnaire is given so that tenants are matched with like-minded people. If you are interested in joining the co-living movement, research what companies are creating co-living housing in the area you want to live in, and see if it is the right choice for you.