For many tears, co-living schemes have been popular in the US, China and Scandinavia.
In many schemes, renters live in small bedrooms with access to communal kitchens and living space as well as other shared amenities.
The concept might sound like a glorified HMO but the size and quality of accommodation and additional facilities such as gyms, co-working spaces, cinemas, cafés, kitchens and laundries, as well as the fact that residents are encouraged to come up with ideas to grow and enhance the community lifestyle, has resulted in co-living becoming a use class of its own. The concept is still in its relative infancy in the UK but the idea is catching on as Build-to-Rent providers spot its potential. There are a number of clear benefits for renters:
Communal living. Co-living provides community-led housing in serviced, fully-furnished accommodation with an all inclusive charge. This is appealing to young professionals and also to older people who would like to be part of a vibrant community.
Law firm Collyer Bristow spoke to over 400 18-44-year olds living in London and the South East about co-living. The company’s Ownership Attitudes and Aspirations Report found that while a small percentage of renters now live in this kind of development, amost three quarters of them would consider it. Lifestyle was a key selling point. Loneliness is an issue for all ages and co-living schemes provide a ready-made community that often provide a large amount of events and activities.
Single payments. A single monthly payment with no hidden costs is almost always the factor within co-living schemes that holds the most appeal for renters.
Scale. As opposed to living with two or three other people in a shared property, co-living offers renters with a whole community to interact with. That means that there is far less chance of falling out over mundane things such as storage space or who does the washing up! In saying that, if you don’t want to be friends with your neighbour you don’t have to be. There are numerous other people to spend time and share activities with.
Institutional backing. In contrast with traditional HMOs, co-living providers are invariably large investors in the property markets. Renters should have the peace of mind with the knowledge that their maintenance will be carried out on a regular basis, all insurance cover is in place and that health and safety legislation will be complied with.
Effective management. Co-living operators typically look after the fabric of the building, and manage the communal areas too. If a development includes communal kitchens, it will be the landlord's responsibility to replace white goods and other shared items. Co-living schemes are more likely than traditional blocks to have a concierge and a maintenance team on site. A report published by the Social Market Foundation, promotes co-living as an answer to the housing crisis. It has, somewhat controversially, suggested that these developments should be available to buy as an alternative to the operators sticking with the current rental model. Thiscwould make owning a property more affordable, particularly in cities. However, planning specialists at Savills sound a word of warning. They say the planning system is taking time to adapt to co-living and there is currently a lack of clear policy on potential schemes.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
Strategic partnerships, holistic delivery/ opportunities, growth, value engineering, thought leadership
Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
Runs HQ & site lease-up teams. Drives rent pricing, mobilisation, marketing, happy residents!
Jon Curtis MRICS Head of Building Engineering
Chartered Building Surveyor. Lectures on EWS1 & building safety. Runs CapEx programmes.
Kate Robinson MIRPM MD Blocks/FM Management (London Region)
Master plan setup, ops and staffing and resident engagement. ISO45001 champion.
Lee Harle Partner Ringley Law
Plot conveyancing. Debt litigation. Group Company Secretary.
Anthony Kingdon MIRPM AssocRICS MD Blocks/FM Management (North Region)
Stakeholder engagement. Mixed tenure specialist. Budget management. Plant audit, PPM compliance.
Chris Georgalis MRICS Head of Commercial Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental valuations: retail, leisure. IRR modelling and valuations for secured lending. Compulsory purchase & rent reviews
Nichola Pughe MRICS Head of Residential Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental development & mixed use valuations, IRR modelling. Leasehold enfranchisement specialist
Libby Chen MSc Compliance Manager
Operational Plant & Equipment strategy PPM Compliance lead, Asset tagging Client major projects
Dipesh Parekh Director PlanetRent
Customer centric, vertically integrated PropTech/fin-tech solutions.
Leana Aristodemou MIRPM MARLA AssocRICS Strategic lead: ESG & Asset Business Plan delivery
Financial modelling, valuation analyst to support underwriting & fund reporting.
Natalie Birmingham Helpdesk Support Manager
Trainer & Helpdesk Manager: people, systems,contractors. ISO45001 supply chain accreditation.
Steve Norman Planning Director
Land due diligence (opportunities & constraints) Has contributed to a number of award winning schemes.