(Not sure if this should be on the English SE)

The specific accommodation model I'm thinking of looks very much like student housing:

  • The tenant rents a room
  • Room comes with basic furniture (e.g. bed, desk)
  • The tenant share facilities like the bathroom with other tenants (who don't usually know each other prior to moving in)
  • The tenant is responsible for the cleanliness of their room (management might check for compliance)
  • Tenants usually stay for a pretty long time (months+)

Except it's not actually student housing because it is open to members of the public. This kind of housing would almost surely be centrally managed.

What is the name of this model? I'm having trouble Googling for this kind of accommodation. Simply "rent a room" seems to yield results where the landlord/landlady owns the house and they're letting out a room, so you stay with the landlord. It's not 'serviced apartments', since those seem to be targeted at families that rent the entire apartment and provides a level of luxury well above what I am thinking of. It's not 'dormitory', which generally puts many tenants into one room and is at a level of luxury below what I am thinking of. It's not 'hotel', for which rooms generally have their own bathrooms. I know this kind of accommodation exists, because I have lived in them before, but I'm struggling to find it.

  • 2
    Some hotels rent rooms in this manner. When I was a student I stayed at one for four months (it wasn't a student residence). I've seen hotels in many cities like this that cater to single pensioners (often same pensioners are patrons in the attached bar).
    – Allan
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 0:03
  • 1
    this is quite a common type of accommodation for students in Europe
    – Our
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 6:05
  • 2
    @Our Not only for students, but also for others who can't afford a place of their own or prefer the social interaction of a flatshare.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 7:38
  • 1
    Which country is this targeting? My first thought was "Bedsit", as @PeteCon suggests, however, this is primarily a British term AFAIK and typically includes private cooking facilities (but with shared bathroom)?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 0:28
  • 1
    In Japan, they call them with the Japanese-English term "Share House", or when it's targeted towards foreigners, "Gaijin House".
    – Ken Y-N
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 3:27

7 Answers 7


Single room occupancy seems to fit all of your criteria.

Be aware in most places in the USA this is seen as (and probably is) a very low low style of living. Most people don’t seek this out as an accommodation choice unless they have no other choice.

  • 4
    SROs have some pretty negative things associated with them that probably make them inappropriate for many travelers. At the very least people should be aware of what they're getting into - it's not going to be very similar to a private room in a hostel or an extended stay hotel. Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 20:50
  • 6
    @ex-user3761894 Why? Many singles in expensive cities can't afford anything else. Plenty of people with regular or irregular jobs in cities like London, Paris, Berlin, or presumably San Francisco and New York live in those. Artists, journalists, teachers, scientists, and others who don't earn enough to rent their own place in such cities (unless with dual income), or people who prefer the social interaction to living on their own.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 7:36
  • 6
    @ex-user3761894 I think it really depends on location. For me it's a conscious choice that I prefer an SRO in a very central, nice neighbourhood in a really expensive city over a much larger flat somewhere in the suburbs (for the same price). Sometimes it feels like I'm living in a slum, when I'm angry at any of my frequently changing flat mates for not having a single ounce of householding skill (or the will to learn), but overall it's still a good deal.
    – Nobody
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 10:08
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    @gerrit This is quite infrequent in Berlin as far as I'm aware. — At least compared to, say, London (both cities in which I've lived). I feel confident saying that while it's a very frequent arrangement in London, it's a rarity in Berlin (contrary to flat shares, which are indeed common). In particular considering that flats used to be dirt cheap in Berlin until recently, and still are, in many parts. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 14:58
  • 4
    I stayed one year as a researcher in Zurich, in such a room. It was totally fine, and very convenient for my situation. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 18:48

In England they rent places like this in a 'house of multiple occupancy'.

Shorter term use can be found in 'apart hotels'. People stay there days to months.

And if you can still not find something look for 'room mate' or 'house mate' wanted. Micro apartment or bedsit.


Also known as a flatshare (or houseshare or share house or even homeshare or sharehome), where you share your flat with flatmates (or housemates or sharemates). In some countries they could also be roommates even if they each have their own room, though in others roommates actually share a room.

As this is most often used by students, this can sometimes be defined as "student accommodation" even if it's open to anyone, though details may vary.

A more formal term is co-living, but I don't think I've ever heard that in normal language.

Note that the most common term in use may vary depending on the country, so specifying that could help.

  • 7
    In my experience, there’s a major difference between what flat-share and house-share typically mean and what the OP describes. In flat-shares/house-shares, tenants typically plan the arrangement together, and have a joint agreement with the landlord, or at least some co-ordination between their leases. I think what OP has in mind is with no co-ordination between tenants — the landlord rents out each room/suite separately, so different tenants have separate and completely independent leases.
    – PLL
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 10:23
  • @PLL that is true, but what OP describes is rare, inferior, and more expensive most likely. What you're likely to find (in the US) is this. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 17:00
  • @PLL even though that's clearly the most common case, I don't think the name by itself precludes arrangements where the landlord handles individual leases (though details may vary a lot by country). Also, on many sites shared places with individual leases may be listed together with those where there is a joint lease, so if OP is looking keywords to find sites that should help.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 17:10

In some places you might find it called a boarding house: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boarding_house

  • 1
    Boarding-house was my first thought. 50+ years ago, this kind of accommodation was much more common in the UK and US than it is today, and this was the most standard term for it. Lots of examples can be found in popular culture — e.g. Colm Toibín’s novel/film Brooklyn.
    – PLL
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 10:14
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    But those would provide meals as well ("board" meaning food), which is not part of the list of requirements.
    – Abigail
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 15:23
  • 2
    An American phrase that's similar is "rooming house," and that doesn't imply that meals are involved. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 22:04

Near some college campuses in the US there are apartment buildings with "by the bed" leases that fit this description. Generally these are two- to four-bedroom apartments, where each bedroom has a separate lease. These are generally marketed as being for students but are owned by private companies and could in theory be rented by anyone, although they have student-friendly policies like leases that line up with the academic year and shuttle buses to campus.


Wanting to add "Lodging". You may be a lodger rather than a boarder. Especially if you do not get meals (board). Strictly speaking lodgers do not have exclusive use, but their sleeping area is generally their own.


Co-living is the term you are looking for I think. This is a relatively new thing which is quite different to the house-share/flat-share some others have suggested.

If you search using that term you will find lots of links and you can judge for yourself whether they are what you are talking about.

  • 2
    How is co-living new and how is this any different from a house-share/flat-share?
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 7:37
  • 1
    @gerrit each tenant has an individual lease for their room; vs in the us a houseshare would have all the tenants as co-signers on a single lease for the property (and thus each be responsible for the entire value if the people they're sharing with flake out). The difference vs an SRO is mostly marketing/targeted audience; SROs have a lot of perceptual baggage as being very low class and the last stop before living on the street, co-living is being promoted as a more upscale equivalent that you don't need to be embarrassed about or worry about your stuff being stolen to fund a drug habit. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 14:37

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