Let’s start with an official definition of Coliving from 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.

Upon reading such a description, my own mind evokes an image of a large building, with multiple floors. On each floor I envision individual rooms that share a common kitchen, living room area, and potentially more (like bathrooms). Perhaps resembling a college dorm. 

Once I delved into my research, I found that my view of coliving was quite narrow and not descriptive at all of the options available.

One Example of Coliving

Let’s take a look at OpenDoor, an Oakland based company that “creates modern, collaborative living spaces that facilitate connection, creativity, and sharing.” Not to be confused with the Opendoor real estate company that buys/sells homes.

OpenDoor has 12 coliving properties in the Bay Area of California and in Portland, Oregon. The least amount of renters in one property is 7, with the greatest at 26. The properties are beautifully designed and each has its own charm.

Yeah. So that perception I had of dorm life. So. Not. Dorm life.

Here’s how they communicate about themselves.

Now, read it one more time and let that soak in.

  • Reduce the sense of isolation
  • Help people trust
  • Live with joy
  • Grow together

For some of you reading this, it sounds like magic. For others, I can see you rolling your eyes through that screen you’re reading from.

One thing can be said with certainty. Coliving is not for everyone.

Perhaps the aspirational messaging from OpenDoor is a bit too much for you (even though I’m a total sucker for it). Let’s look at another player in this coliving space that has listings on Dwellsy.

Another Example of Coliving

HubHaus takes a whole different approach with its marketing.

It highlights optimization through a streamlined rental process, advertises established cleaning and repair services, also noting that wifi is already arranged, a briefly touches upon the “hausmate” culture.

Most of the properties seem to be large homes that have been repurposed for coliving. HubHaus leases homes from owners and the takes on the responsibility of fill them with tenants seeking not only a roof over their head, but a sense of community as well.

Still rolling your eyes? Perhaps your reaction might now be more of a shrug with an internal monologue of, “You wanna colive? Go for it. But it isn’t for me.”

Let’s Review

  • Coliving does involve an element of sharing space in a home.
  • Coliving communities come in varying sizes; single family homes and large complexes built for the purpose of coliving.
  • Some coliving environments are built around shared interests.
  • Coliving opportunities exist all across the country.
  • While it may seem that coliving is a millennial trend, there are communities for seniors, and all ages in between.

There you have it — What is CoLiving. Answered.

Interested in more renting basics? Check out these posts.

Looking to rent an apartment, house, townhome, or condo? Check out Dwellsy.com — Find a Rental and Make It Home.