Co-Living or Dorms for Grown-ups
Every morning at our 4 bedroom, 3000 Sq ft single family home in Little Italy (Toronto), our residents coordinate their schedules to use the shower before preparing breakfast in the kitchen. They talk about their plans for the day while having breakfast. Some of them go to the nearby park for a quick cardio workout or to do some yoga. This is now a home for students, startup entrepreneurs, recent immigrants, tourists and young professionals.
Last year in Fall, instead of renting an entire house for a few nights on Airbnb, we decided to test the concept of Co-living by offering each room in the house on Airbnb for monthly rentals.
Rent starts at $1200 (CAD) a month for private room with shared washroom and common areas and $1600 a month for private room with washroom. The shared washroom was used by 3 rooms, to a max of 6 guests. In addition, the kitchen, living room and study room was shared. Each room had a study table, closet / storage space and a queen size bed. Supplies were stocked in the washrooms and kitchen for guest’s use, and the common areas were cleaned once a week.
The response was phenomenal. Everybody who stayed at the house, loved the place and more importantly, loved the interactions with the other guests. Almost everyone here is standing at a cross-road, and this was an opportunity for people to learn from each-other, share experiences and get guidance on making life changing decisions. Students found mentors, entrepreneurs found contractors and recent immigrants found work under the same roof and with the support of each other. To my surprise:
- The common areas were always clean with no utensils left behind in the kitchen area.
- Guests were sharing & caring when it came to using the common areas, watching Tv, cooking meals (occasionally) or hanging out.
- Some of them went on to become roommates and got a place together on a long-term lease.
- One guest stayed for 3.5 months before relocating to Europe for work. He wanted to come back and stay at the same place, but it wasn’t available on Airbnb anymore as the owners moved in with their family.
- There were no complaints from any of the guests about other guests. All of them followed the house rules and were respectful of each other.
- There were no crazy parties, or smoking or complaints from neighbours.
After this hugely successful experiment, we realized that there is a huge shortage of affordable housing in 1 – 3 months space. There are a lot of people in Toronto, who, for various reasons cannot commit to the hassles of a 1 year lease and would rather pay a marginal premium to stay in co-living spaces. We were turning down one customer per week because there was no availability.
No experiment can be called a success without weighing in the financial numbers. The owners earned over $5,000 a month during winter season (from October to March) with an occupancy rate of 95%. There were no damages to the house, which is usually a big concern for homeowners who fear that their biggest asset (house) will get damaged.
The city of Toronto has recently banned short-term rentals (stays less than 28 days) in residential buildings and neighbourhoods. However, monthly stays are allowed in residential neighbourhoods and are impacted by the new regulations proposed by the CIty. Rent were collected in advance on a monthly basis, and if a tenant did not pay then they were politely requested to vacate the premises.
I feel that Toronto is ready of Co-Living. The City is seeing a lot of young professionals and recent immigrants arriving into Toronto, looking for job and experiencing the culture before settling down into a longer term housing commitments. This is the new way of living.
Casadell is a one-stop shop for management and marketing of furnished properties on Airbnb. We have been working with hosts in Toronto for 3 years, and maintain very high standards. We have over 90% 5 star reviews from our guests. Recently, we started working on co-living projects, where entrepreneurs, young professionals and recent immigrants stay together on monthly commitments and share their experiences. So if you are a homeowner looking to rent your place and you are not comfortable with annual lease or short-term rentals, give us a call. We will be happy to work with you and make the city a more affordable place.