Is shared living a solution to the housing crisis fuelled by the pandemic?

The housing crisis is an issue that has only been fuelled further by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related topics:  Special Features
Adam Brockley | Founder & Global CDO
23rd December 2021
adam brockley scape
"This rental model also gives people the best of both worlds"

The shortage of inexpensive and quality homes in cities has risen due to the pandemic and is becoming more and more problematic and negatively impacting businesses. Finding affordable housing is becoming a defining challenge for those who struggle to find adequate accommodation close to the city.

Enter shared living. Offering a new way of renting, ‘shared’ living has seen a rise in popularity amongst city-dwellers. With shared living, residents enjoy private apartments or studios within a larger building with shared social spaces. These spaces provide a new way for residents to enjoy their own private living spaces and apartments, while also making use of shared spaces such as gyms, gardens, or workspaces that provide additional value to workers in the city. Residences such as Living by Scape allows residents to rent out studios, of varying sizes for different needs, with the convenience of bills and maintenance costs rolled into one fixed payment each month. This rental model also gives people the best of both worlds – the privacy of their own studio combined with access to shared state-of-the-art facilities.

This new rental model can offer significant benefits to residents from all backgrounds, as well as society at large. For example, for those relocating to a new city for work, renovating their home, moving to be closer to family in the city, or even moving out for the first time, this model offers a high standard of living at a more reasonable price. With businesses struggling to attract new talent because of high housing costs and struggling to retain staff due to inadequate housing conditions in and nearby cities, this could have a huge impact on society. The need for this new rental model is proven by the success of our first Scape Living property in Guildford. Having launched during the pandemic, we were at full occupancy within three months.

Furthermore, these properties offer gyms and workspace facilities that people potentially would not be able to have access to or afford in cities if it wasn’t for this emerging shared living offering. Shared living properties with gyms and co-working zones, as well as ergonomic workspace facilities, offer the chance for people to have more control and comfort over aspects of their lives such as their emotional and physical wellbeing. With the rise of hybrid working, it has become even more important for housing providers to offer residents options that fully consider their everyday living situation. Shared living allows people to have homes in and close to the cities that cater to these new needs and allow people the additional space needed to work remotely in these evolving times.

The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we’ve had to live, but with so many of us feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation for so long, the need for community and togetherness has never been stronger. Living by Scape has worked hard to build a strong and vibrant sense of community. This is something that we have always, and will continue to, passionately believe in. Residents can gain a sense of togetherness and easily meet new people if they choose: at Friday drinks, over a free coffee or breakfast, or in the family-style kitchens. However, we know everyone is different, and the way Living by Scape has been created means residents are empowered to live the lifestyle that suits them: whether they want to spend most of their time in shared spaces or in the privacy of their own studio.

On a societal scale, the plus point of shared living is that by ‘freeing up’ larger homes, individuals can rent out studios or apartments more appropriate to their living needs, taking some of the burden off the housing market. It also helps to fix a broken rental market – the lack of accessible housing in cities means that there is high competition for spaces to live, giving private landlords more power in negotiations with potential tenants which in some cases, may not provide future residents with the best outcomes.

Although shared living isn’t a single-handed solution to the housing crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, it represents a step in the right direction. By offering a new approach to renting that allows people access to their own shared living space at a price point that is more manageable for most, shared living properties offer an alternative to the high cost and low quality traditional rental model.

In these unprecedented times, it has become increasingly difficult for people to live well in our cities, and we can’t stand by and let this continue. Housing insecurity - including unaffordability, short and unstable tenancies, as well as overcrowding via poor housing conditions can have a detrimental impact on people’s lives.

It is only right that property developers look for ways to increase the opportunity for people to live in parts of our glorious cities, without compromising their quality of living. Therefore, at Scape, we have created a new way for people to live well in urban areas. By challenging the rental market status quo, our aim is to offer city-dwellers a new way of living that they deserve.

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