This is Joseph.
Kevin Drum wonders about apartments with common living and dining areas, but private bedrooms and baths. The reason I would be skeptical about this arrangement is that you end up with whomever should happen to rent one of the units. If a group of people pool resources to purchase an apartment then they get to pick who they live with. Even so, these arrangements often end in a messy or unfortunate way. It's the same in college (I lived in a dorm like this once, except with a shared bathroom) in that you have the pressure release of this living arrangement being time limited (and, even then, it can be pretty tough).
So what happens when your apartment mate is loud at night? Or does something illegal? Or is very messy? Who picks what goes on the TV (I remember this as a non-trivial issue in student residences)?
This strikes me as an endless series of room-mate fights. At some point, the shared kitchen is likely to end up in a bad state as that is where bad behavior (dirty dishes, food "borrowing", unsanitary counters) is likely to first peak. The dorm I lived in mitigated this somewhat using maid service, but it was not a perfect fix.
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