Co-living Scandi-style: Could a Swedish co-living model come to London?


The New York Times of 20-21 April 2019 reports on a former hotel in Stockholm which is shared by 50 professionals and creates a community with shared facilities.  Other examples are co-living units in an apartment in a cool neighbourhood of Stockholm which will be launched in May by Colive, a company which has been established to create co-living units.  The Colive model involves an extensive co-living agreement signed by tenants, careful selection of tenants from compatibility tests and an outside company to attend to cleaning.

It is also interesting to note the conditions which have led to Stockholm having a challenging housing market.  Some of these are recognizable for London such as an exodus to the suburbs and a lack of building in central locations.   For those who are tempted by some form of rent regulation for London (as is London mayor, Sadiq Khan), it is interesting to read that Sweden does have national laws for rent control and this has led to those who have leases not giving them up and even leaving apartments empty because their rents are below market value (of course the other unintended consequence of rent control not stated in the article is that it deters property owners from letting and reduces supply).  This has contributed to a shortage of rental properties in Stockholm and a significant waiting list for apartments - 650,000 names in a city of less than a million which sounds shockingly high.   

Co-living corresponds to growing interest in living as a community and having a lifestyle based around sharing.  We have embraced Nordic "noir" tv shows - could we be watching them in a Swedish style co-living project?

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In a country where 52 percent of the households are inhabited by a person living alone (the highest rate in Europe), Ms. Oléron and her roommates are part of a new movement that experts say will change the way professionals live in Sweden and beyond. One of the living rooms in the K9 house is used mainly as a co-working space. Nestled between embassies and boutiques in the Ostermalm neighborhood of the Swedish capital, the house Ms. Oléron and her 49 roommates share is beautifully decorated and fully equipped. It features five kitchens, co-working rooms, a number of living and reading rooms, a meditation room and a shared dog. “This is a solution for so many problems we have in our city,” Anna Konig Jerlmyr, the city’s new mayor, said about co-living.
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