Mixed feelings about investors and co-living properties
As a 16-year renter and four-year owner, my views are mixed on new rental trends
When I think of co-living, the first person who comes to mind is my grandfather. Why? Because he used to tell stories about how he met my grandmother when they both rented a room. They’d see each other in the kitchen, chit-chat and eventually they became buddies. That friendship led to them being travel partners who went to every continent but Australia, becoming postal employees until they retired, him later buying property and building his single-family home, marrying her for 49 years (she passed away before him), having three kids, and a portfolio of stocks and bonds.
Too often, people affiliate roommates as poor or unreliable. I cannot think of two people who were in a co-living space who became more reliable than this duo. So when I read about the Shawnee City Council’s decision to ban “co-living” arrangements in Kansas, I raised an eyebrow. It felt like the equivalent of banning roommates.
But looking further into the story and seeing that investors were buying single-family homes and just changing the locks on bedrooms so it was more like an apartment, I was less sold on the idea. It is one thing for a homeowner to move next door to an apartment, knowing there will be more rotating traffic in the area. It is another to think you’re living in a single-family neighborhood and then end up next to a surprise apartment.
And being completely honest, I was one of the most vocal about putting a rental restriction on my condominium association and amending our bylaws to do so. Why? While my grandparents were good renters who went on to live a “happily ever after” and I was a renter who was pretty much seen and not heard, some tenants will ruin the entire building.