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Another company, Stage 3 Properties, is constructing a new co-living building with 180 units to house 400 people, to be completed around 2017.

Stage 3 describes its mission as “passionately disrupting the housing industry by reimagining its process, product and price points and curating an all-inclusive cosmopolitan living experience designed for today’s creative class.” However, its leases will be conventional, 12 months long.

But most co-living companies in New York do not own the buildings in which these experiences take place.

They play the role of property manager, vetting tenants and collecting security deposits. Gerstley rented and renovated 5,000 square feet in an actual loft building; Matt Grierson, a product manager at an advertising technology firm, makes an evening business call in his rented room there; Mr.

Applying to live in a Pure House apartment is a little like signing up for an online dating service.

Prospective residents answer probing questions like “What are your passions? ).” If accepted, tenants live in what the company’s promotional materials describe as a “highly curated community of like-minded individuals.” In other words, they rent a room in an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but with opportunities for social and spiritual growth, like dinner parties and meditation sessions.

In 2008, he came across a raw 5,000-square-foot space near the South Street Seaport.

He signed a five-year lease with the landlord, borrowed ,000 from his father and renovated it, christening it the Loft. Gerstley, 30, a May graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, has been renting out the rooms for seven years, charging up to ,500 a month for a spacious bedroom with several windows. He has considered repeating the co-living model with other properties, but has yet to find another one as well suited to that use as the Loft.

Getting accepted into the Loft is an informal but challenging process.Many New Yorkers need more flexible housing arrangements, particularly those who come to the city for a brief stint, or do not have the credit history or income requirements needed to qualify for a yearlong lease.“In cities, especially in New York, there has been — and still is — a huge need for exactly this,” said Kathy Braddock, a managing director of the New York City office of William Raveis.Critics, however, say the co-living business model could ultimately drive up housing costs, since many of the companies sublease units and charge a premium on the rent.At one such party, none of the 30 guests knew one another, but most embraced when the night was over, Mr. Co-living has gained traction on the West Coast, particularly among the tech crowd in places like Seattle and the Bay Area.Rambling Victorians have been turned into “hacker houses” peopled with young tech entrepreneurs plugged into their laptops like a scene plucked from “The Social Network,” the 2010 film about Mark Zuckerberg, a Facebook founder.

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