A Tiny Apartment Where You Must "Sit on the Toilet and Cook" Has Gone Viral. "Living There Will Make You Lose Dignity."
Real estate agents in China have listed a studio apartment that's gone viral for all the wrong reasons, if you're a real estate agent: Commenters can't believe anyone could possibly live in the space. Photos on the listing for the apartment—which measures six square meters, or about 20 square feet—show a man who's cooking while he's sitting (yes, sitting) on the toilet.
Read on to find out more, including what the landlord is asking for rent, why it's reopened a debate about a larger housing issue in the country, and to take a look at what might be the equivalent tiny-living space in New York City.
The listing was shared by real estate agents on Douyin, China's version of TikTok. The "micro-rental" is situated under a staircase and is listed for 380 yuan (or about $56 in U.S. dollars) monthly. It is being marketed as an "all-inclusive" design.
"This side is the bed; on the other side, there is a washing machine, kitchen, smoke extractor, toilet and water heater, you can sit on the toilet and cook," the listing says. The space is ideal for those who "need a temporary shelter," it adds.
The studio apartment was converted out of storage space in a three-story house in Shanghai's Qingpu district, Jimu News reported. The building has been converted into 13 studios apartments. Each of them is occupied except for this space, the smallest.
"Only 380 yuan for a place where we only need to sleep, good enough," one user commented under the video. Said another: "Living there will make you lose dignity as a human." "Why not just return to your hometown if you are forced to live in such a place?" another user said.
The listing has reopened a debate on the living conditions of low-paid migrant workers, the target audience for this kind of living arrangement. Residents told state media that a studio in the neighborhood typically costs between 1,000 and 2,000 yuan a month for a space about 65 square feet.
In large Chinese cities like Shanghai, the demand for rental properties is huge, and homes being divided up into separate living spaces is common. In June, local media outlets reported that 39 workers were sharing one apartment measuring 90 square meters—about 295 square feet—in a high-end district of Shanghai to save on living expenses.
Proving that in big cities worldwide, people will do what they have to do, last June, a New York woman showed off what may be the tiniest living space in the city—her studio apartment the size of a parking space in Midtown Manhattan.
"About the size of a walk-in closet," is how the host of a YouTube video tour described it. "If you're living in a building where you have to share a bathroom with the other tenants, you don't have an apartment – you have a ROOM," one commenter noted. "They compared it to a dorm, but I've never even seen a dorm that small," said another.
About 80 square feet, the place rents for $650 a month. It includes a lofted bed, a tiny closet, and a two-burner kitchenette. But no private bathroom—the tenant shares common facilities down the hall. The rented did follow up with the video host and said she didn't plan to renew her lease. The place was a six-month experiment that allowed her to save money on market rent and travel.