Small Business Spotlight: Common Makes Co-Living Painless

Joe Connolly
January 22, 2020 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Common has taken cues from the "co-working" phenomenon to tap into a new market and make rent in New York City more affordable.

Common is the largest designer and operator of co-living spaces in the United States, Brad Hargreaves tells Joe Connolly in this week's Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank — "Community Banking from Montauk to Manhattan."

"Co-living is a new word, but it's in some ways a new word and an improvement on a concept that people have been doing for a very long time which is living in shared apartments," Hargreaves said.

Many times when people move to New York City they find a roommate, often times a stranger they meet on Craigslist or on the internet.

Common manages condos with roommates in mind.

"What we're doing is keeping the good parts of living with roommates, it's more affordable to do that and there's a social environment, but by operating and designing spaces with roommates in mind we can remove a lot of the pain points that come with that," Hargreaves said. "Things like why do roommates fight? They fight about cleanliness, having a dirty roommate. So we for instance clean all of the common areas every week and that eliminates one of the main things that causes roommates to fight. We also provide shared kitchen and bathroom supplies, we design apartments with more bedrooms that open up into big shared kitchens and shared spaces that really are meant for sharing."

On average, four people will live in a unit each with their own private bedroom that opens up into a big shared kitchen and living area.

"There's no pressure to put up a fake wall as a lot of people in New York do, that's not what we're doing here," Hargreaves said.

A co-living apartment costs about 25 percent less than a studio apartment in the neighborhood. Rent includes maintenance costs and cable and each tenant has their own lease.

Common does not play matchmaker, but any member can transfer between any open room at any time.

Common operates in six cities and manages about 25 buildings and has over 1,200 rooms.

Watch the video above to see how Common is disrupting the housing market while building a community.