Single New Yorkers have been renting individual rooms in large apartments forever, but as the New York Times pointed out recently, there's a new twist to the typical roommate shares: high-end co-living arrangements, complete with amenities like bi-monthly masseuses, laundry service and cleaners.
We've written about this trend before, exploring whether set-ups like these make the city cheaper. The short answer? No.
Aside from some tricky legal issues, which the Times commenters are focusing on and attorney Steve Wagner tackled for us here, there's also an affordability problem. See, when landlords (or co-living companies that act as leasing agents) split apartments up for more people, they can also jack up the rent, making similarly sized apartments more expensive and out of reach for families with one or two incomes (rather than five or six).
According to the Times, these "millennial communes" charge between $1,600 to $4,000 a month for a room. And while that may seem pricey, keep in mind that people are paying for the social factor, the amenities (Pure House offers unlimited yoga, weekly juices and weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables) and the flexibility. Pure House, which runs nine apartments in Williamsburg, only requires a 30-day membership agreement.
If we had to guess, we expect these companies to have lots of hurdles in front of them, both legal and economical. In fact, Campus, a co-living company we featured in this article back in April, is ceasing operations at the end of this month, as they were unable to make it into an "economically viable business."
So, to the companies that remain, and are now popping up — places like Common and Pure House — we say, good luck. For some young, upwardly mobile New Yorkers they may be a (non-committal) godsend. But we all know NYC real estate is a unique animal—the payoff might be big, but it's never easy.