Pros and Cons of Renting and Living in Shared Apartments


A young woman in a dark green sweater stands in a kitchen, engaged in a conversation with an unseen person. Her focused expression and relaxed posture suggest a casual and interactive environment. The kitchen features wooden cabinets and a variety of everyday items such as a tea kettle, glasses, and bottles, indicating a shared living space. This image is well-suited for an article discussing the pros and cons of renting and living in shared apartments.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

What Are Shared Apartments?

Shared apartments, also known as co-living spaces, involve renting an apartment with multiple people where each tenant typically has a private bedroom but shares common areas like the kitchen and living room.

How to Find Shared Apartments

To find a shared apartment, consider platforms specializing in this form of housing:

  • June Homes: Offers well-managed shared apartments in cities like NYC, Boston, DC and others.
  • Coliving: Provides co-living spaces with extensive amenities geared towards professionals.
  • Roomies: Features a robust search to filter potential roommates and apartments.
  • SpareRoom: Allows users to explore various room options and includes security features to protect against scams.
  • Furnished Finder: Specializes in providing furnished rentals specifically for traveling nurses and other healthcare professionals. It offers a variety of housing options with flexible lease terms, making it a top choice for those in the medical field looking for short-term stays.

Advantages of Living in Shared Apartments

Cost Efficiency

  • Rent and Utilities: Splitting costs with roommates makes both rent and utilities much more affordable, particularly in expensive urban areas.

Social Opportunities

  • Community Building: Living with others helps foster a community feeling, can reduce feelings of loneliness, and allows residents to meet new people easily.


  • Lease Terms: Many shared apartments offer shorter lease terms, which is ideal for digital nomads, travel nurses, or anyone looking for temporary or flexible living arrangements.


  • Professional and Social Connections: Residents often gain access to a network of diverse individuals which can be beneficial for both personal growth and professional opportunities.

Disadvantages of Living in Shared Apartments

Privacy Issues

  • Shared Spaces: The biggest drawback is likely the limited privacy; shared facilities mean you have less personal space.
  • *Private Bathroom: If the accommodation includes a private bathroom, the only shared facilities would typically be the kitchen and other communal areas. This arrangement can significantly enhance privacy, allowing for personal amenities and comfort.

Conflict Potential

  • Differences in lifestyle and habits can lead to conflicts, which may require interventions to resolve.

Security Concerns

  • High Turnover: Frequent changes in roommates can lead to security issues, as people coming and going can make it hard to keep the living environment secure.

Types of Shared Accommodation

  • Traditional Roommates: Individuals sharing an apartment, typically found through personal connections or social networks.
  • Co-living Platforms: Managed properties offering private bedrooms with premium shared facilities designed for professionals.
  • Hostels: More transient forms of shared living, often used by students or younger travelers.

3 Essential Tips for Living in Shared Apartments

Establish Rules

  • Set clear rules regarding visitors, parties, responsibilities for cleaning, and how bills are split.


  • Maintain open lines of communication with roommates to address issues before they escalate.


  • Be adaptable and considerate of your roommates’ schedules and lifestyles to maintain a harmonious living situation.

The Norm of Shared Living: Roommate Culture in Major U.S. Cities

In the United States, shared apartments and living with roommates are particularly common in major cities where the cost of living is high and housing is in competitive demand.

Cities like New York City (NYC), Boston, Los Angeles (LA), Washington D.C. (WDC), and Chicago are notable for their high prevalence of shared living arrangements. In NYC, the concept of roommates is almost a given in boroughs like Manhattan and Brooklyn, where rent prices can be prohibitively expensive for solo dwellers. Boston’s student populations and young professionals often share apartments to manage the high rents, especially in areas close to universities. In LA, sharing a space helps mitigate the cost of living near key industries like entertainment and tech, while in WDC, young professionals and interns on Capitol Hill commonly opt for roommates to afford closer proximity to the downtown area. Similarly, in Chicago, the mix of students, young professionals, and even families find that shared housing arrangements help to better manage the relatively lower, but still significant, cost of urban living. These cities exemplify the trend towards roommate arrangements as both a financial necessity and a social preference.


Living in a shared apartment comes with its set of challenges and benefits. It can significantly lower living costs and provide valuable social opportunities but requires a good deal of compromise concerning privacy and personal habits. Choosing the right place and roommates, establishing clear rules, and maintaining open communication are crucial for a positive co-living experience. Make sure to use reputable platforms and secure transactions to avoid scams and ensure a safe environment. Whether you’re a student, digital nomad, or young professional, shared living can be a viable and economical housing option.


What’s it like living in a shared apartment? 

Living in a shared house involves balancing communal living with personal space. Advantages include cost savings, social opportunities, and shared responsibilities. Challenges may include reduced privacy, potential conflicts over shared spaces and duties, and differing lifestyles. Overall, it requires adaptability and good communication but can be a rewarding and economical living arrangement.

Are roommates and flatmates the same?

Roommates and flatmates refer to people sharing living spaces, but there are subtle differences between the terms, particularly in how they’re used in different countries:

  • Roommates: In the U.S., the term “roommate” often implies that the individuals share a room, but it can also broadly mean sharing an apartment or house without necessarily sharing a bedroom.
  • Flatmates: Commonly used in the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia, “flatmates” specifically refers to people who share a flat (apartment) and common spaces like the kitchen and living room, but typically have separate bedrooms.

Essentially, while both terms describe people living together and sharing a home, the implication of bedroom sharing might differ based on regional vernacular.

What is the opposite of shared accommodation?

The opposite of shared accommodation is private accommodation. This refers to living arrangements where individuals do not share critical living spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms with others.

Remember, sharing is caring:

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