The city will inspect a 19-person co-living space in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, operated by Common, a startup that aims to shake up the rental market and has amassed $7.35 million in venture-capital funding.
The Department of Buildings said it will pay a visit to the townhouse, located at 1162 Pacific St. near Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, in response to an Oct. 29 complaint that Common had illegally converted the four-story home into a single-room occupancy residence where rooms rent for $1,800 to $1,950 per month.
"We are looking forward to working with [the Department of Buildings] to resolve this," said Brad Hargreaves, the founder of Common, which is working on launching its second co-living building.
In single-room occupancy buildings, residents typically rent an individual bedroom and share a kitchen or bathroom. In the 1950s, a law was enacted prohibiting the creation of new SROs. As a result, strangers renting a multibedroom apartment are required to co-sign a single lease for the entire unit.
Hargreaves insists that his building is not an SRO, and that Common actually functions a lot like any other landlord who rents an apartment to roommates: At 1162 Pacific St., there are four apartments divided into 19 furnished rooms. Tenants must stay for at least 30 days—to ensure the building is not classified as a hotel—and the roommates in each apartment must together sign a lease with Common.