In an article for Real Estate. Reconsidered, we looked at market and legal issues affecting co-living in the UK (for the article see here). In “Co-living – market and legal issues for co-living projects in Europe” we look at co-living further afield, in France, Germany and Spain as well as the UK. To recap, what is co-living and why is it on the rise?

Co-living is a real estate product that has been developed in response to housing shortages, rising house prices and rents in cities, as well as increasing demand from city dwellers for a stronger sense of community. Some types of shared living (such as house and flat shares) have existed for many years, but the term “co-living” is used to describe a new model of large-scale purpose-built – or converted – shared living schemes where residents share common amenities. These co-living developments typically target young, mobile workers who are seeking a product similar to high-quality student housing, with various on-site facilities, rather than a more traditional flat-share arrangement. But there is no hard and fast rule as to the format of co-living products, with some developments operating more like a hotel and allowing online bookings for as short a period as just one night (whereas most co-living schemes require a minimum stay of a number of months).

Outside the real estate sector, opinions are divided on whether co-living is a solution to the housing crisis or an exploitation of those most exposed to it. Fans of co-living celebrate the freedom and flexibility that the product offers; critics say that it is simply masking a deeper problem and cashing-in on the loneliness at the heart of Generation Y’s struggle to find a home. Whatever your opinion, what is undoubtedly true is that co-living is on the rise in the UK and across the rest of Europe, but with significant differences in the maturity of the market in different jurisdictions.

In “Co-living – market and legal issues for co-living projects in Europe” we consider key European players, how co-living is classified in law in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, and legal issues that need to be taken into account.