Posted: July 8, 2022
In an innovative endeavor akin to a long-term Airbnb, Derek Snook launched CoLife , an online platform linking Charleston-area homeowners with prospective renters looking for furnished rooms and homes to share, for stays of at least one month. With any number of reasons why a renter would look for a short-term long-term rental, the service matches with homeowners who have extra space, are looking for additional income, or are wanting to have an additional person on the property.
And who is the average renter? That is harder to answer, purely because the options are endless. Take the examples of graduate students, young professionals, contract workers, or recent arrivals to the city who are trying to figure out where to put down roots. In a blend of a dating app and a wanted ad, the renter completes a personal profile and gets matched with a suitable homeowner, after which they start the process making sure they are a fit.
We are reminded that in the early 20th century the Charleston peninsula was full of boarding houses and homeshares which contributed to its then population of over 60 thousand residents, in an area that now holds a population of roughly 30 thousand residents. This fact is difficult to fathom given the dramatic increase in apartment buildings and large developments. The reason for this is, in part, that home sharing was far more prevalent in the 19th and early-20th centuries. A multi-faceted approach to housing attainability is going to be critical as our community grapples with its major housing pains. For example, the city of Charleston has made it easier for homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units—better known as garage apartments—on their property in order to provide smaller, lower-price options for renters. We welcome innovative ideas that help to generate a wider range of housing types for residents at all income levels!