With this post we begin a series about the various home sharing services that are available. Today, we take a look at Common, a co-living community that is is designed for millennials. A New York-based company Common manages nine co-living apartment buildings. Ask yourself if a group living situation like this would work with your needs and preferences.
What Common Offers
Common manages buildings in Brooklyn, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington. D.C.. Rents run from a low of $975 (in the Chicago area) to the high of $2,600 (in the high rent cities of San Francisco and New York City). The average rent in Brooklyn is approximately $1,600. An abundance of amenities are included in the rent: wifi, utilities, cable, plus extras such as weekly cleaning and restocking basic kitchen supplies (salt, pepper, paper towels, etc). All the apartments are attractively furnished and come with a washer and dryer. There’s also storage, a gym, and parking spaces. Only one building, in Brooklyn, is pet-friendly but the other Common building only accept service pets that are an accommodation for tenants with qualified disabilities.
Common caters to millennials–average age is about 30– who earn an income between $40K to $100K, and live in large urban areas where the majority of rentals are cost-prohibitive (single tenant dwellings in NYC can be double in rent and in many cases no amenities such as free washers and dryers, storage, or parking are included). To apply for a room at Common, potential tenants are interviewed and checks are made on their finances and background to ensure everything is in order. Seventy percent of their tenants are on 12-month leases.
But is it only for Millennials?
Articles and pictures posted on Common’s website show only millennials. I was curious to find out if there were plans to address the housing needs for individuals who are 50+. At this current writing, according to the company’s public relations and social media personnel there are appears to be no plans to expand to an older clientele.
How Do They Assure a Good Fit?
At Sharing Housing we are very aware that the issue of compatibility in living styles is essential for comfortable sharing. Common responded to our question about what measures they take to assure that suite-mates are good fit. They wrote in email, “We currently allow seamless transfers to other open rooms in Common homes so that our members can find the best living experience suited for them.”
Thoughts and Impressions
My thoughts and impressions so far: there’s no question the amenities offered are attractive. There’s a certain appeal to the idea of getting rid of everything I own (except books and dogs, which limits me to one building in Brooklyn) and to have the opportunity to live in a ready-made community And due to the utilities and other expenses included in the basic rent, it might save money. You can find an example of the cost-savings here. However, there are two big caveats for me: the age factor and that too casual nature of the “seamless transfers” which is reminiscent of living in a dormitory environment.
The concept of Common is a good start especially at a time when millennials and boomers both face unaffordable and safe housing in the United States, but it is clear that Common serves one segment of the population that is financially healthy and young. This adds to the polarization between generations and if you want to form a community it should be inclusive of all ages.