Changes in living spaces have been a long time coming. It is predicted that offices of the future will be a blended system. A marriage of co-working and co-living that promises a better work-life balance. So how exactly does life change for those who are co-living and living with roommates?

The current pandemic is changing the way we think, live and work. Working from home (WFH) became just about the only constant in this unpredictable time, as employee safety became a priority, while productivity mattered too. 

What will living with roommates look like in the future?

Does that mean we can expect the line between work and home to continue to blur, even once COVID-19 is a thing of the past? It’s impossible to tell right now, but one thing we do know is that the “co working” and “co-living” conversations continue to take center stage.

At Roomi, we like to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the rental market. We spoke to big names in the industry, Outpost and Master Key, to get their take on the difference between co-living and having roommates.

Outpost – Easy move in. Easy living with roommates.

Outpost Club was built by a team of individuals that travel around the world, working remotely and building start-ups. They know what it’s like to start from scratch in a new country, and they wanted to make finding somewhere to live simple. Outpost specializes in coliving in Brooklyn, Manhattan, San Francisco, Jersey City, and more. 

They answered our questions about what co-living is all about.

What does the term “co-living” mean to you?

Coliving is a shared-housing model in which communities are intentionally built around shared spaces in the home, allowing residents to live more affordably while giving them the opportunity to build lasting relationships in vibrant communities. 

Why is co-living on the rise in the US?

There’s been a shift among Millennials and Gen Zers toward valuing experiences over material possessions, which has been ongoing since Millennials entered adulthood. We tend to prioritize freedom of movement and being a part of a vibrant social community over having a large house to ourselves. Of course, we can’t ignore the economic reality of many Millennials and younger people not being able to afford to live alone, especially in urban areas — and that plays into it, too, but feedback from our members from all over the world suggests that they find the most value in the relationships they form in our houses. 

Especially in cities like New York, coliving has really taken off. You have so many people from around the world who are coming to this new city in a country they may never have visited before. Next, they need to figure out living with roommates?

It’s already stressful to move to a new city when you’re from the US, let alone when you also have to learn an entirely new set of norms and customs. Our international members range from 40%-60% (pre-pandemic) of our total membership and have overwhelmingly told us that having an instant community completely changed their experience in the US. I think that can naturally be extrapolated to our American members, too, most of whom are coming from other cities and worried about making friends somewhere as notoriously difficult as New York. 

How has COVID-19 affected people’s feelings towards co-living?

People are usually more nervous about shared spaces. This obviously isn’t ideal for any coliving community, so we’ve adapted by focusing more on building micro-communities within units. We used to focus heavily on getting every unit in a house together. This can mean even getting multiple houses together. However, that’s just not going to work when people are worried about their safety. 

What we’ve seen, though, is that there is still room in this emerging world for co-living. It is ironic that we aren’t allowed to see one other or touch one other when we need it most. People still crave human contact. So we’ve done everything we can to make sure our homes are safe places for all of our members. Further, people have decided it’s worth sticking around.

It was really beautiful, in a way. All these people who were strangers just a few months or a year ago came together.

They said- “I trust you not to get me sick, to be responsible, and I’ll do the same for you.”

In this way, they effectively built a quarantine pod within their house. People need human contact. 

What’s the difference between “co-living” and “living with roommates”?

Living with roommates doesn’t really mean anything specific; you can have roommates you’ve never even seen by the time they move out. To me, it’s all about the intention. People who choose coliving – at least our brand of coliving – tend to find more value in social interaction. They’re more willing to go out and explore the city and do group activities. They’re friendly, but may be unsure how to make friends in the city without the guide rails coliving provides. And they may even be like me, and believe coliving is the most sustainable model for the future of cities. It’s all about the intention. 

Master Key – Service is the key

Master Key is a roommate matching service that offers services beyond just people. Users can match with their next sublet, apartment, pet, room, and even best friends. They focus on helping foster great cultures for clients, communities and neighborhood guides in New York City.

What does the term “co-living” mean to you?

For us “co-living” means first and foremost an affordable housing option in the city. For most students and young professionals, living with roommates is often the only option. We frequently work with clients who are looking to rent a room, not a whole apartment and want help in matching them with potential roommates.

People are not only looking for location, building, and amenities – they are looking for a co-living situation that best fits their lifestyle. Co-living means moving in with strangers, often signing individual leases, and setting some ground rules for the use of common areas.

Why is co-living on the rise in the US?

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment has been rising over the years. In 2020, the average rent for one-bedroom apartments increased by 5.73% compared to 2.59% in 2019 and 6.22% in 2018. It is no longer just students, but many working professionals can not afford to rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Therefore, they look to split living costs by finding roommates. Co-living can also often provide better living options by sharing a lease when living with roommates. One can move to a more desirable location or building with more amenities and safety.

How has COVID-19 affected people’s feelings toward co-living? 

Co-living is a popular housing option and will continue to grow. However, we have noticed that clients’ requirements have changed. More people are looking for fewer people in the how when it comes to living with roommates.

Post Covid-19 clients also highlight the necessity of outdoor spaces. They pay special attention to their future roommates are and their accompanying lifestyles. People want to be prepared, safe, and comfortable if they shelter in place again.

What’s the difference between “co-living” and “living with roommates”?

“Co-living” often means signing an individual lease or specific roommate agreement with a specialized company instead of a master lease. The company is responsible for making arrangements with landlords and clients.

“Co-living” is, in a sense, a formal version of “living with roommates” because it outlines individual responsibilities and sets ground rules for conduct between people living together. In case one of the roommates moves out, depending on the agreement, the remaining roommates would not have to cover rent for the vacant room or even look for another person to sublet it. It is a convenient option that provides a lot of flexibility.

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers understand the differences between co-living and living with roommates? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!