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Living With Strangers Could Save You Money … Is it Worth It?

By Kadejah Brathwaite, Intern

Affordable housing is an issue in major cities and as the cost of living rises, more people are moving away from highly-populated areas in an effort to find lower priced homes. However, something has been happening that is allowing urban residents to stay put. New startups are influencing people to live with strangers and save money on rent. No, the concept of roommates is not a new one, but add to it the twist of not being bound to a lease agreement.

Communal living complexes are shared homes that in some ways act as extended stay hotels because of their all-inclusive fee of utilities, Wi-Fi and rent in one monthly charge. While in some ways that does sound similar to typical apartments, residents also don’t have to sign a traditional contract so they are not committed to living there long-term. Co-living spaces provide affordability, flexibility and proximity to the city which today is attractive to the generation who is most willing to cram multiple roomies in one space to save money—millennials.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, millennials have higher levels of student debt and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their predecessors, Generation X and Baby Boomers. Companies, like PadSplit, allow property owners or managers to host private rooms to its members who pay a fixed, affordable weekly rate. On average members save about  $500 a month enabling them to achieve their personal and financial goals.

Another benefit of this new trend is its flexibility to give occupants the freedom to choose how many days or months they wish to stay. Other co-housing companies like Common and WeLive have transformed rental agreements in other cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York. They are open to this nomad-like generation who may be stopping in the city to visit or testing the area out before committing to moving there.

Living with complete strangers enables millennials to reside within cost prohibitive confines of the city. Though this idea might seem dangerous and weird, like co-working spaces — many co-housing companies give background checks to potential renters and normally have a communal area where residents can socialize and get to know each other.

New generations continuously create fresh trends and this millennial movement of non-traditional short-term bedroom rentals is no exception.

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