Skip to content

What Are Boarding Houses?

Boarding Houses

Are you curious about boarding houses? Well, you’re in luck! This article will explore the history, types, advantages, regulations, and how to choose the right boarding house for you.

Boarding houses have a rich history and offer a unique living experience. Living in a boarding house can provide you with a sense of freedom and independence.

So, if you’re ready to dive into the world of boarding houses, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

– Boarding houses originated in the early 17th century and provided temporary accommodation for individuals away from home.
– Living in a boarding house fosters community and friendship and is a cost-effective option for affordable accommodation.
– Boarding houses offer shared living spaces and common areas where residents can engage in group activities and events.
– Regulations and safety standards for boarding houses cover fire safety, building codes, and health standards to ensure the well-being of residents.


  • If just 1% of those rooms were rented out, every homeless person in the state could have a roof over their head, and homeowners might also get some much-needed financial relief. (
  • New York city was the “capital” of boarding houses at that time, and Whitman noted that fully 75% of Manhattan’s adult population either lived or lived in boardinghouses. (housingsolutions. home. blog)
  • In Boston in the 1830s, 33% and 50% of the city’s population lived in boarding houses. (housingsolutions. home. blog)
  • As indicated in a Wikipedia article on this subject, between 30% to 50% of urban dwellers in the 19th century lived in or ran boarding homes. (housingsolutions. home. blog)
  • As stated in this article, in 20 years from 1965 to 1985, Massachusetts lost 96% of all its rooming house units. (housingsolutions. home. blog)
  • Boston, in turn, lost 90% of its units and went to 2,000 rooming house units at present, from 20,000 in the 1960s. (housingsolutions. home. blog)
  • It also received a Platinum Level “Spotlight” Award for efforts to reduce natural gas use as an agency by 38% over the past year. (
  • U.S. housing gained $2.5 trillion in value in 2020 — the highest shift since 2005 — and the median home price was up 19 percent in April 2021 compared to a year earlier. (
  • At the same time, multigenerational living is growing in popularity, with some 20 percent of Americans — 64 million people — living multi-generationally. (
  • In the 1800s, an estimated one-third to one-half of urban residents either hosted boarders or were boarders themselves. (

History of Boarding Houses

You’ll be interested to know that the history of boarding houses dates back to the early 17th century. Boarding houses were popular among individuals seeking temporary accommodation or a place to stay while away from home.

They provided a sense of community and freedom for those who wanted a more independent lifestyle.

Boarding house architecture varied depending on the period and location. In the early days, boarding houses were often simple structures with shared bedrooms and communal living spaces.

As time passed, boarding houses evolved and adapted to their residents’ changing needs and tastes. Some boarding houses were grand mansions with private rooms and luxurious amenities, while others were more modest in design.

Throughout history, many famous individuals have called boarding houses their temporary homes. These include writers such as Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who found inspiration in the vibrant atmosphere of these communal dwellings.

Boarding houses also attracted artists, politicians, and entrepreneurs, all seeking a place to live and work near like-minded individuals.

Now that you understand the history of boarding houses, let’s explore the different types of boarding houses that have emerged over time. From student dormitories to co-living spaces, boarding houses have continued to evolve to meet the needs of different groups of people.

So, let’s delve into the various types of boarding houses and how they have shaped the concept of communal living.

Types of Boarding Houses

Boarding houses can come in various styles, largely dependent on the specific needs they aim to serve. Here are a few common types:

Traditional Boarding Houses: These are the standard form of a boarding house where tenants rent individual rooms and share common spaces like the living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Meals are often provided as part of the rent.

Student Boarding Houses: These are boarding houses specifically designed for students. Schools or universities often run them. They provide students with a room (which may be private or shared), and shared facilities. Boarding fees often include meals, and there may be extras like study help and transport to and from the school or university.

Worker’s Boarding Houses: Often found in industrial or mining areas, these boarding houses provide accommodation mainly for single, transient workers. The housing conditions could range from single rooms to shared dormitory-style accommodation.

Elderly Boarding Houses: These cater specifically to the needs of the elderly, providing not only accommodation and meals but also care services. It can be a more affordable option than a traditional aged care facility.

Co-living Spaces: This modern twist on the traditional boarding house concept. Co-living spaces foster a community living experience and are aimed at millennials and young professionals. They offer private bedrooms with shared communal spaces, and the rent usually includes utilities, WiFi, and cleaning services.

Bed and Breakfast (B&B): Although not typically classified as a boarding house, a B&B provides similar services on a short-term basis. Guests rent a room in someone’s home; breakfast is usually included.

Remember, the types of boarding houses available can significantly vary based on geographical location, urban or rural settings, and local housing regulations.

Advantages of Living in a Boarding House

Choosing where to live is a significant decision. While private accommodations have their perks, many compelling reasons exist for considering boarding houses, which often offer unique experiences and practical benefits. Here are the key advantages of living in a boarding house.

1. Affordability
Living in a boarding house is generally more cost-effective than renting or owning a private residence. Utilities and other costs, such as Wi-Fi, cable, and sometimes meals, are usually included in the weekly or monthly rent, and furniture is typically provided, reducing the need for significant upfront expenses.

2. Reduced Responsibilities
The maintenance and cleaning of shared areas are typically the owner or manager’s responsibility in a boarding house. This means less time spent on chores and general maintenance, providing more free time for work, study, or leisure pursuits.

3. Community Living
Living in a boarding house allows one to meet, interact, and create a sense of community with other boarders. This shared living experience can combat loneliness and isolation and promote a sense of belonging.

4. Flexibility
Boarding houses usually offer more flexible lease agreements compared to traditional rental contracts. This is particularly beneficial for people whose work or personal circumstances require them to move frequently or be in a location temporarily.

5. Accessibility to Amenities
Boarding houses are often located in central areas, close to workplaces, colleges, universities, and city amenities. This can reduce commute times and provide convenience, potentially eliminating the need for a car, which leads to additional savings.

6. Security
Many boarding houses have added security measures due to the communal nature of living. Some have security cameras or residential managers to monitor the property. Also, living near others can provide a sense of safety and security.

7. Life Skills Development
Living in a boarding house can also help enhance social, emotional, and practical skills. Sharing common spaces fosters respect for shared resources reinforces the importance of cleaning up after oneself, and promotes the development of adaptability and conflict-resolution skills.

Regulations and Safety Standards for Boarding Houses

Regarding regulations and safety standards, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the guidelines for communal living spaces.

Boarding houses, like any other type of accommodation, have specific regulations and safety standards that must be adhered to to ensure the well-being and comfort of all residents.

Regulations for boarding houses typically cover areas such as fire safety, building codes, and health and hygiene standards.

These regulations are implemented to prevent accidents and ensure a safe living environment for everyone. Fire safety measures may include the installation of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits.

Building codes ensure that the structure of the boarding house is sound and can withstand any potential hazards. Health and hygiene standards focus on maintaining cleanliness and proper sanitation within the premises.

Safety standards for boarding houses also extend to the behavior of the residents. It is essential to respect the rules and regulations set by the boarding house management.

This may include guidelines on noise levels, curfews, and the use of common areas. By following these standards, you contribute to a harmonious living environment and ensure the safety and comfort of yourself and your fellow residents.

Now that you know the regulations and safety standards for boarding houses, it’s time to consider choosing the right one for you.

Choosing the Right Boarding House for You

Choosing the right boarding house is essential to ensuring a comfortable living experience. The choice could depend on cost, location, facilities, housemates, and personal preferences. Here’s a guide on how to navigate the process:

1. Determine Your Budget
It’s crucial to define your budget before beginning your search. Considering your income and other expenses, decide how much you can afford to spend per week or month on rent. Also, inquire about what the rent covers. Does it include utilities, meals, Wi-Fi, or laundry services? Getting this information upfront can save unexpected costs down the line.

2. Location, Location, Location
Consider the location of the boarding house. Is it convenient for your daily commute to work or school? Is it close to grocery stores, pharmacies, and public transportation? Assessing the boarding house’s location can significantly affect your quality of life and daily convenience.

3. Evaluate the Facilities
Be clear about what facilities are vital to you. Some boarding houses provide all meals, while others give you access to a shared kitchen to cook your meals. Some have en-suite bathrooms, whereas others have shared bathrooms. Laundry facilities, internet access, and common areas like a living room or garden space might be necessary to your living experience.

4. Know the House Rules
Each boarding house likely has its own set of rules. Some may have curfews, restrict visitors, or have specific quiet hours. Ensure the rules of the house align with your lifestyle and expectations.

5. Understand the Lease Agreement
Before moving in, make sure to comprehend the terms of the lease agreement. Understand the duration of the lease, payment procedures, terms for extending the lease, and the policy for early termination. If you’re not clear on anything, ask for clarification before signing.

6. Meet the Housemates
If possible, try to meet your potential housemates before moving in. This can give you a feel for the social dynamics of the house and help you determine if it’s a good fit for your personality and lifestyle. Take note of how clean and respectful they seem, as these are the people you’ll share space with.

7. Safety and Security
Consider the safety of the neighborhood where the boarding house is located. Does the boarding house have security measures like cameras or locks on individual bedrooms? Always prioritize your safety when choosing a boarding house.

Remember, the right boarding house for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. By asking the right questions and assessing your requirements, you can find a boarding house that meets your needs and provides a comfortable and enjoyable living experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Boarding Houses?

A boarding house is a residential facility where you can rent accommodation and meals. In many cases, bathroom facilities may be shared, and there could be a communal area like a dining room or lounge. Low-income people, students, or transient workers often use these houses.

Public interest or class war?

The debate about boarding houses often centers around issues of public interest versus class warfare. Due to the affordable nature of boarding houses, they have traditionally served lower-income individuals and families who may not have other housing options. However, in some cases, communities have opposed boarding houses due to concerns about potential impacts on property values and neighborhood character.

What is a Rooming House?

A rooming house, similar to a boarding house, is a rental arrangement where tenants rent individual rooms within a large house. What distinguishes it from a boarding house is that meals are not typically provided in a rooming house.

Is it time for America to bring back the boarding house?

This is essentially a question of public policy and personal perspective. With increasing housing costs and a growing number of people struggling to find affordable housing, some argue it’s time to revitalize the boarding house concept in the United States. This could provide a lower-cost option for housing and potentially help address homelessness and housing insecurity.

What Are Boarding Houses and How Do They Work?

As mentioned, boarding houses provide accommodation and often meals for a weekly or monthly fee. They work by providing a primary, less-expensive housing option for people who may need help to afford their apartment or house.

Where Did Boarding Houses Originate and What Were They Like?

Boarding houses originated in England during the Industrial Revolution when there was a high demand for inexpensive, short-term housing for workers. These early boarding houses were often crowded and lacked many of the comforts we associate with home today, serving more as a practical solution to a housing crisis.

Why Did Boarding Houses Disappear?

Boarding houses began to decline in popularity in the mid-20th century, with more modern housing options and changes in societal norms and expectations around privacy and independent living. Increased regulation and the rise of affordable housing and social programs also played roles in their disappearance.

What Are New York City Boarding Houses Like Today?

In New York City today, traditional boarding houses are rare. However, shared living arrangements, often called “co-living,” have gained popularity. These facilities offer a similar setup to the traditional boarding house, with shared common areas and private or semi-private rooms. However, they often cater to a higher-income demographic and may include amenities like regular cleaning services, community events, Wi-Fi, and utilities in the cost of rent. They represent a modern and often more upscale version of the traditional boarding house.

What Is the Average Cost of Living in a Boarding House?

The average cost of living in a boarding house includes the monthly rent and the cost of utilities. You have the freedom to determine your budget and make choices accordingly.

Are There Any Restrictions on Bringing Pets Into a Boarding House?

Bringing pets into a boarding house may be subject to house rules. Some boarding houses may restrict pet ownership, while others may allow certain types of pets or require additional fees.

Are Boarding Houses Typically Furnished or Unfurnished?

Boarding houses are often furnished, but it ultimately depends on the establishment. Some provide basic furniture, while others offer more amenities. The average rental may include furniture, but inquire about options before committing.

Can I Have Guests or Visitors Stay Overnight in a Boarding House?

Yes, guests or visitors can stay overnight in a boarding house. However, each boarding house may have guest policies, so checking with the management beforehand is essential.

Do Boarding Houses Offer Additional Services or Amenities, Such as Laundry Facilities or Meal Plans?

Boarding houses often offer additional services like laundry facilities and meal plans. These amenities can make your stay more convenient and enjoyable, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life.


In conclusion, boarding houses have a rich history and serve as affordable housing options for individuals in various situations. They come in different types, catering to specific needs and preferences.

The advantages of living in a boarding house include cost-effectiveness, social connections, and convenience. Knowing regulations and safety standards that ensure a comfortable and secure living environment is crucial.

When choosing a boarding house, consider location, amenities, and house rules to find the right fit.

2 Comments Text
  • JosephErync says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    gabapentin 3600 mg
  • Marymuh says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    clonidine pill
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *