Deciphering Co-Living

On a recent tour of affordable housing solutions being successfully implemented in the Downtown LA area aimed at both solving and preventing homelessness, I was introduced to a co-living community by PodShare owner and founder Elvina Beck. 

Her model of co-living is based on providing low cost housing in a desirable location with only a modicum of privacy. Ms. Beck also removes the upfront cost of moving in – there is no security deposit, all utilities are provided for in the rent, and there is no lease agreement required. Residents are welcome to stay for one night or for one year and pay either $50 per night, $250 per week, or $1000 per month. She has found that her pods fit the bill for travelers, and she does have her units listed on AirB&B. Other residents tend to be those either new to the area, who want to get their bearings before they sign a lease or those in transition to a new work location and just haven’t had time to look for another option. A couple coming back from Cambodia on their way home to Mexico City was checking in while I was there.

The PodShare DTLA is 2000 square feet of rented space housed in a former commercial building which has a communal kitchen, two bathrooms, two showers, a hang out room, and twenty bunk beds in a totally open U-shaped room. Each bunk bed has a TV, a small shelf, and a towel bar on the back wall. A chalkboard separated the bottom and top bunks and served as the bunk number and the name of the current resident. There are no closets or bureaus, but there was room for suitcases under the bottom bunk. The style was very urban chic with rustic, wood and industrial metal accents. The space was clean, the vibe was friendly, and the residents seemed to be happy there.

Digging a little deeper into other co-living options in the area, I discovered that this format is much more prominent than I realized and there are any number of ways to structure it. Looking into Node, StarCity, UP(st)ART, Aviato Club, Hadrian Club my head started to spin. There are co-living facilities that focus on Millennial professionals, Millennials in the High Tech/IT field, and others that provide professional recording studios, musical instruments, and a stage for performances. Some of these are private clubs that require you to apply for membership, some have an application fee, and at least one does not charge a deposit. Most provide bed linens and a bath towel; all have a community kitchen, shared bathrooms, and a common living area. Some are single family residential homes others are converted apartments or commercial space. None provide anything other than street parking. Several have age restrictions, one from 18 up to 35, another 18 to 60. Only one looked like you could book by the day for $35, several required a three month minimum commitment, one required a 30 day commitment, and rents ranged from $695 to $2400 per month. One facility only offered multi-person accommodations for 2, 3 or 5 people. Some allowed overnight guests and another forbade it. At least one accepts dogs up to a certain weight. Who knew?