Communal living – flexible renting within a rigid planning system

Co-living is perhaps a concept traditionally associated with the shoestring lifestyle of students. But what about curated workspaces, well-equipped gyms or perhaps even a trip to the spa – all under the same roof?  New flexible living models have already started to spawn across London.  In this post, we look at how law and policy are playing catch up as these new products challenge traditional methods of defining land use.

The capital’s leading developers are taking notice of co-living. There is an unwavering desire amongst the world’s transient young population to work in London. However, traditional home ownership aspirations have been replaced by a realism around the cost of buying property in London. The market for new rental products, focussing on access to luxury facilities and large social networks, carries an obvious attraction.

So what happens when co-living models don’t fit within an existing land use category – where a property may be occupied by different types of users, some for only one night and others for perhaps several years? How should these applications be treated by the planning authority, particularly where they address an identified need?

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