House share: a modern way of living

Cities have always had a reputation for being a difficult but rewarding landscape to navigate. One of the biggest burdens is finding somewhere to live – and it's only getting tougher. People are renting for longer and working harder, so competi- tion for homes is high and securing some- where desirable is a time-consuming, stressful exercise. For expats landing in a new country with little to no network, the task becomes even more daunting. But there is a new way to rent, and it’s

becoming an increasingly popular part of the UK’s sharing economy. Shared living offers an alternative option for people looking for somewhere to live, by match- ing them up with a home and flatmates that meet their needs. In a world where millennials embrace the concept of shar- ing taxis or office space with total strangers, it makes sense to apply the same idea to their homes. Te idea is simple. Shared living com-

panies find homes in desirable areas of cities, deck them out in stylish furniture and mod cons, ready to rent them out. So far, so ‘traditional landlord’. However, the big difference comes in the renter’s experi- ence. Te companies will handle all ele- ments of the home-sharing admin, from finding and matching housemates, to pay- ing your monthly Netflix bill – all the tenants do is set up one monthly bank transfer and it’s sorted. Te concept is not a totally new phe-

nomenon; people have been renting rooms in flat shares for years. However, these house shares are often fraught with challenges, such as dealing with difficult landlords or struggling to find a good re- placement roommate. With these com-

26 FOCUS The Magazine January/February 2020

munities, all of this admin is taken care of. For time-poor, stress-rich city dwellers,

the ease of these communities is a huge draw. In a time where our phones are an extension of the office and our social lives are locked up in WhatsApp groups, people want to spend their free time actually switching off, metaphorically and literally. Finding housemates, organising bills and negotiating tenancy contracts are all tasks that would be great to remove from an ever-growing ‘to do’ list. But this modern approach is doing

much more than simply making lives eas- ier, it’s building communities. Te tran- sient nature of cities means our sense of community is distinctly lacking, especially in a sprawling metropolis like London. For expats in particular, it can be difficult to connect and make friends in a new city, leading to feelings of isolation – especially if living alone. Tese new communities bring people

together in a unique way that might ini- tially begin as synthetic, but can lead to meaningful friendships. Housemates have the opportunity to bond over common in- terests while also connecting with other members of the community who are living in other properties and areas. Te growing popularity of shared living

reflects our evolving approach to life in general: we want things to be quicker, eas- ier and more flexible. But it also feeds into our primal urge for human connection, a very modern, yet distinctly tribal, way of living.

Steve Davies is head of communications at Lyvly.

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