Coliving vs. PG (Paying Guest) - What is the difference?

Coliving vs. PG (Paying Guest) - What is the difference?

7 min read

Paying guest accommodation (PG) and coliving spaces are the most cost-friendly choices for those looking to stay longer than a few nights. But, they exist for different purposes and thus have distinct operations and setups from one another.

PG and coliving are more analogous to furnished rental spaces but vastly different in terms of the amenities and perks they offer. This is because PG is operated by individuals renting out a room to a guest within their home, and coliving is operated by businesses which rent out rooms within entire units to like-minded residents who value resource sharing and communal living. 

Coliving spaces are managed by businesses that offer professional services and host community gatherings and events. PG is more like a private furnished homestay with basic support from the owner but little to no community involvement.

Of course, hotels and Airbnb are also alternatives, but they become pretty expensive over time and are rarely suited for long-term stays.

In this article, we’ll outline in detail the difference between PG coliving spaces, compare the benefits and drawbacks of each and help you to determine which option is best for you.

What is paying guest accommodation (PG)?

Paying guest accommodation is the ability for a guest to rent a portion of a house from the owner or landlord. The owner will live in the house with you and provide you with basic amenities, such as food, laundry, and utilities, for a fee. 

You are opting for a private, home-style rental agreement without actually taking on a homeowner's or leaser's responsibilities. You are not renting an entire space but a room within a larger shared unit. The owner is responsible for paying the bills, and you do not need to manage anything besides your monthly fee. 

Think of it as a blended Airbnb and traditional rental experience. Like Airbnb, you do not need to manage utilities, furniture, bills, or cleaning, but you do need to pay the owner or landlord to administer those additional services for you. However, unlike an Airbnb, you do not have the flexibility to move in or out without much notice. 

Commensurate to a rental agreement, you need to sign a longer-term lease, but you are not the point person for handling maintenance or general apartment responsibilities.

It’s great for students who prefer not to or don’t have access to live in dorms but are not yet ready to commit to a full-scale lease. It can also provide respite for professionals moving temporarily for work.

Benefits:

  • Cost-saving for people who can’t or don’t want to pay rent for an entire household or space by themselves
  • Some access to a local network as you are surrounded by local people who live in the area and can provide guidance on things to do or places to go
  • Strong security as you are living in an apartment-style space without many other people, but of course, you must put your trust in the owner that you are renting from

Drawbacks:

  • Conditions aren’t guaranteed so you must assess each situation to ensure it’s exactly what is promoted and will work for you in terms of amenities, safety, and security
  • Limited flexibility, as you must sign a lease for an extended period
  • Limited perks because it is not a large-scale managed operation, but instead managed by individuals, so you as the resident must handle most things yourself (this will vary depending on who you are staying with)

Where and how can coliving be an alternative?

Coliving exists in its own category. It is a mixture of PG, hostels, hotels, traditional leases, and Airbnb’s and offers the best of all of these worlds.

Coliving spaces are operated by businesses that rent out entire apartments or homes to coliving residents. The residents are provided with fully furnished, affordable accommodation within a like-minded, vetted community.

The residents are not presented with a rental agreement and are only expected to sign a flexible lease contract. The spaces correspond to a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb in that people can move in or out freely. The residents are also not responsible for any utilities or maintenance within the unit, as they pay one fixed fee to the coliving space operators who handle everything for them.

From this one fee, residents enjoy access to free WiFi, streaming services, community events, a fully stocked kitchen, laundry services, basic amenities such as soap, toilet paper, and perishables, a gym, spa, pool, and coworking space (if the unit has them), and unparalleled networking opportunities. 

coliving over roommates

Coliving spaces are ideal for all lengths of stay—short, mid, and long-term. Most people who move into coliving spaces often stay for several months, if not longer. Coliving spaces offer the perfect alternative to a traditional lease as they feel like a home rather than a hotel. Their community-hosted events are a fabulous way to combat loneliness and make connections in a new city. 

Some coliving spaces are also tailored to specific groups of people, such as entrepreneurs, startup teams, or artists. If you fall into one of those categories, you may prefer to live in a space with people with similar professional ambitions to draw inspiration. That said, coliving spaces are open to all types of people and best suited for those with an open mind eager to learn, share and grow with their new roommates. 

Benefits:

  • Cost-saving as coliving spaces offer both private and shared rooms and give you access to unique opportunities, such as a pool or a coworking space within your house or building, bundled into one fixed fee
  • An inspiring community of people with different backgrounds from all over the world that share similar community-minded values
  • Business networking opportunities that entrepreneurs or young professionals would otherwise need to source and pay for themselves
  • Incredible perks because the operation is being managed by a business rather than individuals, who care first and foremost about supporting the community they serve
  • High security because everybody who comes into the house is vetted and understands the rules, and people are much more likely to respect them. There are also lockers for people to keep their valuables in.
  • Flexibility is king as residents do not need to sign a lease agreement and only need to give a brief period of notice before they move out

Drawbacks:

  • It can be noisy at times due to group gatherings in a small space, but these events are always scheduled ahead of time and will never come as a surprise
  • Not every space is created equal because there are numerous coliving companies out there who operate based on different standards of living, which means it’s important that you vet each company thoroughly, read reviews and ask questions to ensure the space aligns with your needs


Which option is best for you?

The best option depends on what you’re looking for. PG and coliving spaces are usually optimal for longer-term stays. 

If you’re looking for a community and a productive workspace, coliving spaces are the top pick, as they often come with a coworking area inside the unit. They are community-centric experiences and host many social gatherings each month.

PG makes sense if you already have a community at work or school and only need a place to sleep. It’s not a place where you will socialize much at home unless the people you live with are incredibly social and have gatherings all the time. PG is more like a traditional lease with roommates you may or may not interact with often.

The best place to start is by evaluating your needs and goals and comparing them to what PG and coliving spaces offer. They are all affordable, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

If you decide to go the coliving route, Coliving.com is the world’s largest verified coliving platform. We make it easy for you to search for your ideal coliving space in the city of your dreams. You can filter by cost, location, amenities, perks, and more.

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