San Jose Co-Living Ordinance Staff Report

Group housing, or co-living, can help respond to the need for lower rents and more housing choices in the Bay Area. The co-living concept centers around renting bedrooms in a multi-bedroom building where one or two individuals can enter a lease agreement for a single bedroom (with or without a private bath) and use shared kitchen and bath facilities as well as common living space with other tenants. Co-living is receiving increased attention due to its potential to offer lower market rents and maximize use of existing housing.

In 2019, the City of San Jose’s Zoning Ordinance did not support this type of housing, so staff proposed adding “co-living community” as a specific use in two Downtown Zoning Districts. Should this pilot prove to be successful, the city will consider expanding it to other areas outside of downtown.

Download the San Jose co-living memorandum.

Other cities may find this staff report and proposed ordinance useful as they determine their own approach to regulating and shaping new and emerging co-living opportunities.

The memorandum to the San Jose Planning Commission outlines staff's recommendation that the City Council adopt an ordinance amending Title 20 (the Zoning Code) of the San José Municipal Code to:

  • Add Co-Living Community as an enumerated use in the Downtown Zoning Districts
  • Establish the rules and regulations related to Co-Living Communities
  • Add related parking requirements
  • Add a definition for Co-living Communities

The adopted ordinance can be found within San Jose’s zoning ordinance. It created a new enumerated use – Co-Living Community – in the Downtown Zoning Districts, established the rules and regulations for these communities, and adopted a definition for this use.


Cohousing projects are communities where shared common space is communally managed and governed, but households have their own private living units.