What is Co-living?

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What is Coliving? Episode 1

According to Wikipedia, “Coliving is a type of intentional community providing shared housing for people with shared intentions. This may simply be coming together for activities such as meals and discussion in the common living areas, yet may extend to shared workspace and collective endeavours such as living more sustainably.”

That sounds good and all, but what does that actually look and feel like? I’m someone stuck in a lease so it wouldn’t be as simple as just moving in to a coliving space. I had to find another way to understand coliving from a 10,000 foot view.

Luckily, a friend of mine moved in to a coliving space in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, called Treehouse, a couple months ago and brought me in for a tour and ‘Sunday Dinner.’ While you can read more extensively about that specific experience here, this post will provide a more high-level look as to why it’s hot right and now and what’s different about it than a traditional renting situation.

Let’s consider my living situation: I’m a 28-year old entrepreneur living in Los Angeles with 3 roommates in East Hollywood. I signed a 12-month lease with three strangers. We pay for the wifi and utilities which is an extra $100-ish a month. We had to pay for furniture, beds, kitchen items etc,. If anyone moves out - two people have since I’ve lived here - the obligation is on us to find a replacement. That process is a crabshoot. You’re just hoping that new person is respectful, courteous and diligent about paying rent on time. You hope to avoid any sort of confrontation about keeping things clean and doing dishes. Luckily, I’ve had great roommates but I know that is not always the case.

Coliving is just so much less stressful and convenient. Private and shared spaces come fully-furnished. You won’t have to worry about buying, picking up or selling any large furniture. Leases are relatively flexible - some as little as a day, others are more like 1-3 months. You are the only one on the lease so you never have to worry about whether or not anyone else paid rent on time. Most coliving spaces have a cleaning crew that comes once a week to ensure there is little fighting about things like dishes or cleanliness. The coliving space does the roommate qualifying and can rectify a situation better than a traditional landlord. WiFi, utilities, toiletries, cleanings - all that is included in the price.

All that stuff is easy to see on our website and listings. It’s tangible.

What you can’t see is the community and friendships that coliving enables. Because there is less roommate drama, there is many more opportunities to create strong bonds between roommates and neighbors, especially in a city like Los Angeles, where traffic and flakiness have a way of quickly derailing relationships.

I think there are also massive benefits for freelancers, artists, creatives and designers. I sat next to people who worked at Disney and Netflix. No doubt, there are opportunities to network and collaborate with other smart and creative people.

Overall, it seems like coliving is winning from a cost, conveniency, and relationship angle. What else can you ask for in a rental situation?