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Co-Living Conundrum: Investors Love It, Some Local Councils Really Don't

Co-living could be fun.

DTZ Investors has launched a co-living brand.

But the timing could be better: Just a few days earlier yet another big city local authority decided to give the emerging build-to-rent flat-share concept the cold shoulder. A showdown between investors and planners now seems inevitable.

Shortly before the launch of Folk’s £55M debut development at Harrow, North London, Liverpool City Council became the latest major authority to craft planning rules that are likely to strictly limit co-living development.

Liverpool has followed Manchester City Council’s lead by introducing a planning guidance note that tilts away from co-living, except where schemes are backed by strong evidence that they will meet a specific local employment need. It is likely to make smaller co-living experiments unviable. The policy document prefers family homes, a mix of unit sizes within co-living, and has no time for short six-month lettings to tenants.

Without enthusiastic council backing and a relaxed planning attitude to a uniform mix of small single-person units, co-living will remain a niche.

The lounge at Folk's Palm House

The policy document comes soon after the city council turned down Crosslane Co-Living Group’s plans for New Bird Street in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. Planners said that 192 of the 236 studio bedspaces did not meet official space standards, nor have a good mix of housing.

The new DTZ platform is the product of COLIV, formed in 201  as the world’s first institutional co-living fund, set up and run by DTZ Investors. It was originally a partnership with provider The Collective. The trend-setting operator founded by Reza Merchant fell into administration in September 2021.

Folk’s first venture will be the Palm House, Harrow, a 222 studio, amenity-rich co-living building totalling 87K SF over eight storeys. Folk will be launching two further co-living developments in Earlsfield and Battersea

“The brand will give its residents the opportunity to enjoy new experiences every day through a varied programme of events, ranging from morning yoga to evening hackathons,” DTZ said in a statement.

Related Topics: DTZ Investors, London co-living