A long time ago I covered student housing options in Seoul. In this post I compared one rooms, goshiwons, shared housing and more. However, I always lacked some information on share housing and therefore I only covered goshiwons and one-rooms in a lot of detail.
More recently though, I have had the chance to look into one of the most popular share housing options in Seoul. I got the chance to interview the owner and some tenants of Simple Spaces to learn exactly why share housing is a good option for both current and prospective students in Seoul.
With that in mind, today I want to discuss share housing in Seoul from the perspective of a student. Although this post covers Simple Spaces share housing specifically, I do also plan to write a larger share housing post in the future. However, after learning about Simple Spaces and hearing from current tenants I believe it is one of the best share housing options in Seoul.
If you are looking to learn more about the best student housing options in Seoul, I have already written a full post covering the top options. I have also covered goshiwons in an in-depth guide already.
This post is not sponsored, but may include affiliate links. For more information please refer to my affiliate disclaimer. All opinions shared in this post are my own and I only recommend services that I believe in and that are useful to my audience.
All images provided by Simple Spaces Korea.
The first and most important question – why is a share house a good option in the first place? What does a share house offer that a traditional apartment wouldn’t?
This can be summed up in a few key points. Community, ease, and cost. Let’s have a look through these one by one soon. However, before doing so there are a few other points that I think are worth mentioning.
Simple Spaces share housing (and most share housing) will come fully furnished. This is a great benefit for anyone, especially if you are only coming to Korea for a short time. You will not need to worry about buying or purchasing your own essentials as the share houses come with them.
On top of this, the share houses are secure. This means that all buildings have digital locks (although this is very common in Korea and can be found on most housing), and all buildings abide by local building regulations. While this may not be especially important to you, it is great for peace of mind.
Share houses come fully furnished.
Ease is perhaps the biggest reason to consider a share house. The process of moving in and moving out is very straightforward, and at Simple Spaces there is no need for students to worry about bills, high deposits, language barriers and other issues that you may encounter living alone.
Although you will get used to managing your own bills and the language barrier over time, this isn’t an option for many shorter term students and exchange students. The biggest difficulty for me living in a one room was figuring out how to manage bills (which are all in Korean) and talking with my landlord.
If you choose share housing in Seoul, however, you don’t need to worry about these factors. Simple Spaces offers all services in English and the cost is all-inclusive. That is to say, the cost that is shown is the only cost that you need to pay – no need to worry about utility bills.
Possibly even more important than language barriers however, is the general process. Realtors in Seoul often won’t allow you to pre-book apartments. In fact, many realtors won’t even allow you to sign a contract unless you plan to move in within a week or two.
This makes it incredibly hard to get an apartment sorted and ready for when you land. Although there are some online housing services out there, it is still a much longer process to get an apartment compared to moving into a share house or goshiwon.
Share housing removes the need to worry about bills!
Finding an apartment in Korea isn’t free and you will usually need to pay a realtor 150,000-200,000KRW just for assisting you to sign the contract. On top of this, while living in an apartment you will also need to pay for all utilities that you use yourself.
Most importantly though, Simple Spaces requires only a 700,000KRW deposit. This is a cost that you pay at the beginning of your stay and (provided that you didn’t cause any damage) will receive back once you move out. For one-rooms in Seoul, deposits often begin at around 3,000,000KRW and can reach as high as 15,000,000KRW or more.
Although you do receive this money back upon moving out, it’s a an upfront cost that many students can’t afford. This makes housing with a lower deposit (or no deposit) very attractive to students in Seoul.
It is possible to find one-room apartments in Seoul for cheaper monthly costs. However, as mentioned the deposit is often the issue for students. While some apartments can be found with no deposit or a very low deposit (1,000,000KRW) these are rare and normally disappear quickly.
The minimum stay at this share house in Seoul is 4 months (during the semester periods). However, for people that are staying for longer periods of time there is a discount available. The discount for a 6-12 month stay is 25,000KRW per month.
Maybe the most obvious benefit of living in a share house is the community. When moving to a new country there is often a feeling of isolation, and living in a share house is a great way to combat this.
One of the areas in which Simple Spaces excels is with community. Although the rooms are private, every house has a shared space for tenants. On top of this, since all of the share houses are located within 10 minutes walking distance, there is also a greater community between houses.
What I appreciate about the community system is that events are optional for tenants and there is no forcing of such a community. I have seen and experienced share houses and dorms where there is a strong emphasis on community and at times the activities were forced which quickly put me off.
Finally, there are also unique events from time to time that are run by Simple Spaces. Earlier this year they had a custom tour to the east coast beaches which any Simple Spaces tenant was able to invite friends on.
It is also worth noting that although this post is mainly aimed at students, students are not the only tenants at Simple Spaces. The share housing is open to all kinds of people. This means that you won’t just get to meet students, but also potentially other young professionals in Korea.
Of course, share housing does have some downsides. While most of the upsides have already been covered in this post, there are a few downsides that have to be mentioned.
Before continuing though, I do want to quickly summarise the benefits of share housing over other types of housing in Seoul again. Although there are other benefits, these are the most major.
- Share houses are very easy to move into and out of. They don’t require an ARC and come with all of the basic necessities.
- Share housing has a far lower up-front cost (deposit).
- Share housing can help with the feeling of isolation that many people (and especially students) feel when moving to Seoul.
- Share housing in Seoul is fully furnished.
- Simple Spaces tenants and staff all speak English.
- The rules are generally less strict than dormitories and goshiwons.
By now the positives should be quite apparent. However, as mentioned there are also some downsides that you may want to consider before choosing a share house.
- Share housing tends to be more expensive in monthly rent (but has a cheaper deposit) than cheap one-rooms.
- One-rooms and apartments still provide more freedom.
- You have more location choices when searching for a one-room.
- No sharing of facilities (bathroom, washing machine, kitchen, etc).
- No need to rely on others to help clean and be responsible.
In the end, it’s your decision on what suits you best. Other than one-room apartments and share housing, the other two popular accommodation options in Seoul are goshiwons and dorms. However, both of these tend to be very similar and far more restricting.
The biggest factor that always kept me away from share housing was the rules. While they differ greatly between locations, many share houses enforce strict rules upon tenants. In Korea, share housing rules tend to be especially strict.
The most common rules that you will see are those surrounding curfews and visitors. In Korea, the vast majority of share houses won’t allow visitors and many of them will impose curfews. On top of this, most of them are single-gender.
Simple Spaces has the most freedom out of any share house that I have researched in Seoul. The main two rules are that both pets and smoking are banned. Other than this, all of the rules are largely common sense.
This means general manners within a shared environment. Keeping the house clean, not having large parties, and respecting the other tenants. At the same time though, provided the other roommates are okay with it, you are allowed to have visitors and to invite friends over.
Really, most share housing manners revolve around being considerate of the others who are also living in the apartment. Many things are okay within Simple Spaces housing, provided that the other tenants are aware of the situation and okay with it.
Simple Spaces Share Housing Rules:
- No pets
- No smoking
- Must speak English (total fluency is not required, but being able to communicate is essential)
- General manners
- No large parties
- Follow a cleaning schedule to keep place clean
Other than this, though, Simple Spaces is very lenient with the rules. One particularly unusual thing is that Simple Spaces does allow couples to share a room. This will cost 50,000KRW extra (25,000KRW per person, per month). Friends are also able to share rooms if the layout and other tenants permit.
The moving process for Simple Spaces, and most share housing in general, is extremely easy. One of the biggest issues that visitors to Korea can encounter with moving is the difficulty of doing so. Not only is the time an issue, but often an ARC will be required to find housing.
Share housing largely removes these requirements and restrictions, however. For example, the process of moving into a Simple Spaces share house can be done completely online and there is no need for the tenant to hold an ARC. This means that it is a great option for people just about to move to Korea.
If you decide on staying at a Simple Spaces apartment you can begin the application process online. The process is simple and doesn’t require much time. After this, you can choose which share house you are interested in (provided that it has a vacancy).
At times there may also be a discussion with one of the Simple Spaces staff. This isn’t anything like an interview, but is rather held to see where you might fit best within the community. Since there are a lot of different houses, this discussion is useful for finding the best fit.
Once this is done you can sign the contract, all of which is done digitally! The digital contract means that it’s very possible to get your accommodation sorted before coming to Korea – something that helps remove a lot of stress.
Finally, you can now proceed with the deposit. The deposit guarantees your place and is money that you will receive back at the end of your stay. Since Simple Spaces is mostly focused on exchange students, you can easily pay with both euros and USD via Transferwise. Rent can also be paid this way.
Once all of this is sorted you are able to move in on the specified date.
Share housing may not be the ideal choice for everyone, but it is a great choice for a lot of people. Although there are many different share houses in Seoul, Simple Spaces stood out to me as being exceptional. The students I spoke to who stayed there enjoyed their time and were happy to recommend it.
What stands out the most about Simple Spaces is the autonomy that students get. While you may not be surprised, such freedom is very uncommon for Korean share houses, dorms and goshiwons. They all tend to be far more strict.
Share houses finish the popular student housing options in Seoul. Along with one-rooms, dormitories and goshiwons, they account for nearly all student accommodation in the city. If you have read this article and don’t think that a share house is for you, check out the full guide on student housing.
However, if you think that Simple Spaces share housing sounds like the perfect fit for you you can easily contact them here. Whether you want to move in already or if you just have some questions, they are happy to answer.
How Much Does Share Housing in Seoul Cost?
Simple Spaces ranges from 600,000KRW to 800,000KRW per month. Although there are some cheaper share houses, these are generally less well equipped.
Is a Deposit Required?
Yes. However, the deposit required in only one month of rent – 700,000KRW. This is significantly cheaper than the usual deposit you will find on Korean housing options.
Does the Share House Have Rules?
It has some basic rules including a ban on smoking and pets. However, other than this most of the rules simply involve respecting your roommates and having good manners.
How Can I Apply for Simple Spaces?
You can apply right now on their website.
Is Simple Spaces Only for Students?
No. While the majority of the people staying in the share houses are students, there is no requirement in this regard. Many different people are welcome. As they state, Simple Spaces is great for ‘international students and young working professionals’.
Where Is Simple Spaces Share Housing Located?
Simple Spaces share houses are located in HBC – an international neighbourhood near Itaewon in Seoul.
Is There a Minimum Length of Stay?
During the semester there is a 4-month minimum stay. However, during the summer and winter months (during university vacations) this minimum length of stay is removed.
What Other Student Housing Options Are There in Seoul?
There are many other share housing options in Seoul and each has their own appeal. One such popular option is Borderless House.