Apartments vs. Condos: The Differences Between the Two

Author: Lauren Ross

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Both are generally smaller than a single-family home and have comparable floor plans – so what’s the difference between an apartment and condo?

The building structures have very little difference; both home types typically share walls with neighboring units and have similar layouts. Apartments are generally owned and operated by property management companies (PMCs) and condos are mostly individually owned – the person who owns the unit will likely be your landlord.

Pricing between apartments and condos is also slightly different depending on amenities, location, and fees.

Unique differences in apartments and condos can greatly affect your experience as a renter. Here’s what you need to know about renting an apartment vs. renting a condominium.

What to expect in terms of cost

Depending on market values, the cost of renting either an apartment home or condo can be quite similar…or vastly different. Typically speaking, condominiums may see a slightly higher premium for rent due to cost of common area maintenance and amenities. These costs are billed in the form of HOA fees which are distributed to all the owners in the building. Because a condo is individually owned, renters may see this fee calculated into their monthly rental amount. Since owners have a vested interest in the property, you’ll probably see more luxury interiors like marble or granite countertops and hardwood floors.

There are numerous apartments for rent on Apartment Finder. From affordably priced to high-end luxury, we help prospective renters find a great apartment at a price they can afford. Apartment renters are subject to their own costs too: dog rent, security deposit, pet deposit, application fee, etc. There are zero homeowner association fees when renting an apartment, but you may be sacrificing the bells and whistles one may find in a condominium. Before you decide what’s best for you, think about the situation in terms of amenities.

What to expect in terms of amenities

Apartment communities are recognized for their incredible amenities. General amenities that are provided by PMCs include a swimming pool, gym, maintenance-free living and a laundry facility. Condos will likely have these, plus a few more. With a larger selection, renters are blown away with amenities such as a spa, child- or pet-care center, concierge desk, and a doorman at a condo.

Knowing which amenities mean more to you than others is an excellent way to decide on the best living arrangement. Are you content with just a pool and on-site laundry? Or do you prefer the extra security of a doorman and a concierge to help make upcoming date night reservations?

Even after considering all that, the most important amenity likely narrows down to maintenance. Apartments generally have their own staff available for renters, whereas landlords will need to cover repairs out of pocket. Be sure to read your lease carefully to see what is covered in your space. Some landlords may request – within the lease – for the renter to cover maintenance; and no, HOA fees only cover the exterior of the building and residential common areas.

Other things to consider before renting an apartment vs. condo

Condo renters will have to communicate with the owner directly about problems or inquiries about the rental. If you have a problem with how they handle requests, it might be tough to escalate the situation seeing as they own the unit. If this happens, a renter can either ride out the lease until the contract has expired or terminate the lease early. When renting an apartment through a management company, it’s easier to relay concerns to others in the organization.

An apartment renter will obviously have some rules to follow as stated in the agreement, but a condo renter will have to agree to the landlord’s rules as well as the condo-association rules and resident regulations.

There are many other considerations out there as well when it comes to renting apartments vs. condos – these are just some of the basics. The best decision is one that is well-researched and contingent on what best fits your lifestyle. Thinking about renting an apartment or condominium? Apartment Finder is the go-to site for renters looking for their next home.