Difference Between Co-Living Space And HMO: 2024

Co-Living Spaces

Because the core ideas of co-living spaces and houses in multiple occupations are quite similar, they may feel confusing. Several people use the terms interchangeably, whereas others insist they are synonyms for the same concept. However, neither is true. Co-living space and HMO are two distinct concepts, although they both are shared living options. The basic design, type of housing, and facilities offered make the two different. Follow our guide here to learn about the difference between co-living space and HMO nd why they are not the same.

What Is HMO?

HMO – House in Multiple Occupations – is a shared living space where at least three people rent a property. To put it in simpler terms, a group of people, all from different families/backgrounds, come together solely for the purpose of renting a house. Also called multiple occupancy, HMOs involve shared usage of facilities and utilities. Tenants are required to share everything from a bathroom to the kitchen. 

In recent times, this living arrangement has gained more popularity as it helps save excessive costs and increases convenience. Moreover, several types of housing options, like shared houses, bedsits, lodging, and apartments, fall under HMOs.

Characteristics Of An HMO

At its core, an HMO is any kind of property that you can mould to make your home. An HMO could be a well-designed apartment tailored for a group of 4 bachelors to stay in. Or it could be an empty flat that you must furnish and organise. Although it is a shared living setting, you’re the one who runs the wheels. Here are some of the basic characteristics of HMO that will help make the idea clearer.

  • Cost efficiency: HMOs are housing properties that are shared by multiple people. Because of this, the rent gets split, and it’s pretty affordable for everyone involved in the deal.
  • Choosing your roommates: Since you’re basically renting out a living space along with other people, you can choose which people you want to stay with before looking for the properties.
  • Flexibility: Since you’re sharing the house with other people, you get the flexibility to stay for as long as you want without the constraints of a set contract. You can choose to leave before the lease ends or extend it as other people being involved increases the security for the owners.

What Are Co-Living Spaces For Students?

As indicated by its name, a co-living space is used when a student lives with other tenants in a common accommodation. Usually, students get their personal bedrooms, but they must share other facilities on the property with their roommates or other students. The arrangement of a co-living space revolves around the idea of communal living where socialising, convenience and sustainability are encouraged. These properties typically have facilities like housekeeping, maintenance, laundry, gyms and common areas. 

The most significant characteristic of co-living space is that they are intentionally well-designed spaces equipped to house several students at the same time. In addition to this, the facilities and amenities in a co-living space are well-managed to ensure the convenience of the housing community.

Characteristics Of A Co-Living Space

If you still feel confused about the distinction between co-living spaces and an HMO, the best way is to explore their specific characteristics.

  • Facilities: Co-living spaces have all the necessary amenities and facilities readily available for use. More often than not, the basic required utilities are included in the rent itself, and students don’t have to worry about additional costs.
  • Maintenance: Co-living housing options for students often have the facilities for housekeeping, maintenance and other cleaning services, which relieves students of the additional burden of household work and responsibilities.
  • Communal living: Co-living spaces for students encourage communal living, where students tend to form a community within themselves. This helps international students to meet like-minded peers and make new friends easily. 

Significant Differences Between Co-Living Spaces For Students And HMO

Difference between Co-Living Space and HMO

Once we’ve explored the basic ideas of co-living for students and HMOs, let us explore the prominent differences between these two housing options.

1. Personal Space

If you opt for co-living housing solutions, you get the choice of a personal bedroom, shared bedroom, attached kitchen and separate bathroom. Basically, you are given the liberty to choose whether you want your personal room or not. However, when it comes to HMOs, you might not get a personal bedroom if multiple people live in the same house. For instance, if four people live in a two-bedroom apartment, two people will have to share one bedroom, and you won’t get your private space.

2. Features

The owners or landlords of a co-living housing option always provide a wide range of amenities to attract a maximum number of students. They typically have all the amenities and basic utilities included in the rent itself so that students can enjoy facilities like consistent internet connectivity, hot water, electricity, fitness centres, sports facilities, and gyms. HMOs, being slightly unpredictable and unique, may or may not include amenities. Several times, the tenants may have to pay additional charges to cover the costs of electricity, WiFi, etc.

3. Location

If you’re looking for an HMO by yourself, you can pick any location you want. You can pick a property near the college campus to avoid excessive commutes, or you can select a property in an isolated area for some peace of mind. On the other hand, co-living space are usually located in an area of hustle and bustle. They usually have vibrant surroundings where students can explore the city, local culture, different cuisines and cafes or restaurants. 

4. Other Tenants 

HMOs have a huge advantage in this aspect because you can choose the tenants you want to move in with beforehand. In the case of co-living spaces, you may not get the opportunity to choose your roommate, flatmate or other students to live with. Sometimes, co-living space have facilities to accommodate hundreds of students on the same premises. In such cases, it becomes difficult to determine who your roommate will be, giving way to compromise.

5. Community

Co-living space have a large number of people living on the same premises, which enables the tenants to interact with each other, find new people and socialise more often. Eventually, students tend to form a close-knit community where people from different backgrounds, cultures and upbringings give rise to diversity and social and emotional bonding. On the contrary, HMOs are more compact since it’s only a group of 4 to 5 people living together, usually already acquainted with each other.

Should You Choose HMO or Co-Living Space?

From the above sections, it is quite evident that both housing options have their pros and cons. Ideally, it is recommended that first-year students opt for co-living spaces. Being new in a different country can be a challenging task. At such times, it is preferable to have a reliable community of peers and a support system you can fall onto. Once you’ve gained some experience and acquainted yourself with the local culture, you can explore the options for private housing, like HMOs, where you can move in with your group of friends or acquaintances.

Most importantly, irrespective of whichever type of accommodation you choose, it is essential to be comfortable and feel safe and secure wherever you live. Ensure that you research the property thoroughly and refrain from falling prey to scammers and fraudsters.


Thus, co-living spaces and HMOs are two distinct concepts, although they’re both based on shared living options. To conclude, an HMO is a shared space where a group of people rent a property and share utilities, facilities, etc. It offers more independence, leniency, and responsibilities. Co-living housing options revolve around the idea of communal living where multiple students can stay on the same premises. Each student can choose to have personal rooms. However, the facilities and amenities are shared. Both housing options have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the tenant’s requirements and preferences, either can provide a memorable stay.


Q1. What is the difference between co-living and HMO?

Co-living emphasises the idea of communal living, bonding, and social interaction, where people share a number of facilities on the same property. HMO is a housing option where people can rent out a property and stay together to reduce expenses.

Q2. Should you opt for shared living spaces?

Shared living spaces are an excellent idea to save on rent, deposit, and utilities costs. However, it also includes sharing your personal space with roommates and dealing with any potential conflicts that may arise.

Q3. Why is co-living so popular?

Ans: Nowadays, co-living is a popular choice among students since it offers a low-cost alternative. Moreover, most utilities and facilities are included in the rent. Thus, affordability and convenience make it a preferable choice.

Thank you for reading our guide to the differences between co-living spaces and HMOs! Let us know your preferences in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed reading this blog, find similar ones on our website here –

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  2. Student Housing Guide Canberra Australia: 2023 
  3. Updated Student Housing Guide Kingswood Australia 2023  

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