Coliving vs. HMO - What is the difference?

Coliving vs. HMO - What is the difference?

3 min read

Over the past few years, the housing market has seen significant changes and now offers a variety of housing options that cater to different preferences and needs. Among these options, two models have gained popularity: coliving and HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation). Both models provide the following:

  • Affordable alternatives to traditional housing.
  • Making them particularly attractive to young professionals and students.
  • Urban dwellers face rising housing costs.

Despite their similarities in affordability, the two models differ in several aspects, and this article aims to compare them by outlining their benefits, drawbacks, and distinguishing features.

Understanding Coliving 

Coliving is a contemporary idea that involves individuals renting rooms within a shared living space. This arrangement emphasizes communal living and values, focusing on promoting social interaction, sustainability, and convenience. Unlike traditional shared housing, coliving spaces are fully furnished and include utilities and amenities such as Wi-Fi, laundry, housekeeping, gyms, and communal areas. In addition, the leasing arrangements are flexible, catering to the needs of individuals such as digital nomads, international students, or young professionals on temporary assignments who require short-term stays.

Understanding HMO

An HMO, or House in Multiple Occupation, is a type of rental property that is shared by at least three people who are not related. These individuals share common living spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens. HMOs are frequently found in urban areas with a high student population or places where affordable housing is in high demand. Unlike coliving arrangements, HMOs do not prioritize creating a sense of community or fostering social interaction among tenants. Instead, they function as a traditional rental agreement where tenants rent a room within a larger house and share common facilities. HMO spaces often come equipped with basic furniture and necessary amenities. However, additional services such as cleaning and utilities may not be included in the rent and can vary depending on the landlord.

Comparison Between Coliving and HMO


When comparing coliving and HMO, it is important to note that one major difference is the community aspect. Coliving emphasizes the importance of social connectivity, networking, and shared experiences and often organizes events to promote community bonding. In contrast, HMOs do not prioritize creating a sense of community, and any existing community is simply a result of the occupants living near each other.

Services and Amenities

Coliving spaces generally provide a more comprehensive range of services and amenities than HMOs. These amenities may include routine cleaning, internet access, fitness center usage, shared workspaces, and communal events or meals. In contrast, HMOs may offer fewer services that differ from one property to another and may not be included in the rental cost, such as utilities, Wi-Fi, or cleaning services.


Coliving is known for providing greater flexibility when it comes to rental periods. In addition, its setup caters to those who require shorter stays, making it a perfect choice for individuals who need temporary housing solutions, such as students, remote workers, and people on short-term work assignments. In contrast, HMOs usually mandate a longer-term commitment, generally spanning from 6 to 12 months.


HMOs are held to stringent standards and regulations in numerous areas to guarantee proper management and adherence to safety standards. However, coliving spaces are still subject to less regulation than HMOs since the industry is relatively new.


Both coliving and HMOs offer affordable housing solutions in urban areas but differ in terms of services, community aspects, flexibility, and regulation. Coliving places more emphasis on shared experiences and offers more amenities, making it ideal for those seeking a community-oriented living experience. HMOs provide a simpler shared living arrangement without emphasizing community and requiring longer-term commitment. Ultimately, the choice between coliving and HMO depends on individual preferences and needs. It is essential to understand these models better to make informed decisions that cater to one's accommodation needs.

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