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Co-living vs. Renting: Which Should You Choose, and Why?

Posted by Anita Zeba Bakhtiar on December 4, 2023

With the rising number of young professionals in metropolitan cities like Dhaka, livable housing spaces for rent in safe and secure localities is already dwindling. On top of that, renting might not be a viable option for many who live from paycheck to paycheck. Also, it might not be very cost-effective to rent a full apartment for just one single person, or even two people.

For those who feel like renting is not a feasible option for them, co-living is the new trendy living choice for youngsters. Depending on what exactly you’re looking for or you’re suited to, you can choose between co-living and renting. Each alternative has both positive and negative sides. In order to make an informed decision, you need to first explore all facts related to each option.

Co-living, also referred to as shared or community living, has only recently become a trend in Dhaka. It is a type of living arrangement where a group of individuals rent out a living space with common areas and private bedrooms. Meanwhile renting involves signing a lease or rental contract (not always the case in Bangladesh) and paying rent to use a flat or house owned by the landowner.

Some benefits of co-living are that it is more affordable than traditional renting, and there is a sharing of responsibilities and resources that helps divide the burden of work. It gives rise to a feeling of community, which is something many individuals living away from home look for. It is also more flexible and social compared to traditional students’/ working hostels. Co-living is very low cost compared to renting, especially if you would like to live in an otherwise expensive rental area. The cost of the home and the responsibilities are divided amongst everyone. Co-living homes will often come fully furnished, which is an additional benefit. There is also the option of sharing some household appliances. 

However, co-living has some notable disadvantages too. Since some spaces are shared amongst the group, there is no possibility of ever having complete privacy. There could also be a rise of conflicts as not all individuals living together will have the same mindset or outlook in life. There is also very limited control over their living arrangements, such as guest policies, sound levels etc. 

For individuals seeking a place to live, renting has always been the more common option in Bangladesh. When you rent a house/ flat, you essentially sign a contract with the landlord to rent their flat/ house, bungalow etc. Depending on your budget and choice of locality, as well as its nearness to modern amenities, the rent might fluctuate from area to area. Length of time for the contract needs to be agreed upon between the tenant and the landlord beforehand. Renting can often be pricier than homeownership or co-living, both of which are more feasible for anybody on a limited, small income.

There are certain aspects of renting that will appeal to a number of people. For example, if you value your privacy and enjoy having greater control over your surroundings, then renting a home might be the option for you. Additionally, if you have a bigger budget, you can get a lot of good rental options in and around Dhaka. If you speak to your landlord ahead of time, they might even allow you to make certain changes inside your home while you live there (non-layout based). It is especially a good choice for anybody who is not yet ready to be responsible for the maintenance of a property.

Conversely, in many cases, you might be expected to fix those temporary changes before you leave, or your landlord might ask you to pay a penalty fee for repairs. Renting can often be a hassle, because there might be limitations regarding closing of the main gate, sound levels allowed, parking of cars/ motorbikes, etc. In addition, if the landlord/ landlady is not well-behaved, then it could be a hassle for the renter. 

The main deciding factors behind choosing which of these two options will be more viable for you will be budget, lifestyle and social preferences. What you are willing to spend on a home, what your lifestyle is like, and whether you want privacy or like communal living will help you decide whether you want to go for co-living or renting. It is always best if you can explore both options and talk to landlords or other concerned parties in order to make an informed decision.

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