Space Shuttle dormitories big enough for a bed cost $600 a month in Melbourne, underscoring the city’s record-low housing shortage

White sleeping pods with multicolored lights inside

Sleeping Pods at 15 Charles Abbotsford MansionCourtesy of Frank Chan

  • A Melbourne landlord listed six “space pods” that fit in a single bed for $600 a month.

  • Vacancy rates in Melbourne are at a “record low,” an expert told the Guardian.

  • Sleeping pods have been touted as a solution to housing shortages in cities like San Francisco.

In Melbourne, Australia, a landlord has taken a unique approach to accommodating as many people as possible in one home by renting out pods, each of which fits a single bed.

Dubbed the “space shuttles,” the six pods cost about $171 a week — or $617 a month — and all the pods are full, Frank Chan told the Guardian. The home also has three regular bedrooms available for rent upstairs for $1500 per month while the sleeping pods are set up downstairs.

Advertised on Facebook at Charles Abbotsford Mansion 15, the white, futuristic pods are stacked on top of each other, seating two people per pod — or twelve in total. Tenants do not have to pay for electricity or furniture and do not have to sign a rental contract. They also have a housekeeper.

Chan told Insiders that he was inspired to install the “futuristic and intriguing” pods after a trip around Asia, where he said the Sleeper pods were popular.

“I was surprised Melbourne doesn’t have it, and since I have a guesthouse licensed to accommodate up to 12 people, I decided to install it to fill the gap in the market,” Chan wrote to Insider.

Each capsule capsule fits in a single bed and is equipped with a mirror, fan, USB ports, digital control panels, adjustable color reading lights, locker, hanger and curtain door for privacy.

A double bed in a sleeping pod

A twin-size bed in a sleeping pod at 15 Charles Abbotsford Mansion in MelbourneCourtesy of Frank Chan

Chan told Insider the pods are primarily intended for shorter stays, but could also help the rental market by offering extra beds at low cost and lowering rental rates. Chan said he hopes installing the pods will be easier since he is the only pod rental company in town.

Tim Lawless, research director at CoreLogic, told the Guardian Melbourne has a 1.3% vacancy rate, which he described as a “record low”.

Capsule sleepers are not a new phenomenon — cities like Beijing, China, and Kyoto, Japan, have been offering pods to travelers and renters on a budget for years.

As cities struggle with housing shortages and rising rents, pods continue to be touted as a solution.

In California, real estate developers have proposed and developed bunk bed-style pods that can sleep dozens of people in a San Francisco basement. In Palo Alto and Bakersfield, developers built bunk beds that allow up to 14 people to share a home. Rent is $800 including utilities.

Chan told Insider he’s pleased with the attention his capsules are getting, but reactions to the capsules as a housing solution have been mixed. Some accused the landlord of “exploiting desperate people and the desolate housing situation,” Chan said.

However, Chan said the experience with his tenants has been positive so far.

“I think when more people are familiar and comfortable with the capsule concept and have explored the regulatory feasibility behind it, we should see more capsules popping up in Melbourne than they did in Sydney, Tasmania and Brisbane,” Chan said.

Read the original article on Insider