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Condo vs Apartment: Main Differences, Covered

As a tenant, you can encounter all kinds of properties on the rental market, from townhouses and single-family homes to duplexes and fourplexes. But if you live in a bigger town, the most common property type will be an apartment. 

Or is it a condo?

Even though these two property types are quite similar, there are some fundamental differences between them. Read on to see how to tell the apartment and condo apart!

Apartment vs Condo: Main Difference

Sure, there are some smaller issues to consider when talking about the distinction between a condo and an apartment, and those will be covered further on. However, the most significant difference is the type of ownership

Apartments

In the case of apartments, the entire apartment building is owned and managed by a single entity, usually a corporation. Renting an apartment, you do not get in contact with the immediate owner of a unit, as there is no such thing. Instead, you deal with the property manager, who represents a property management company.

If you decide to live in an apartment, you can expect your neighbors to be fellow renters who have to follow the exact same guidelines set up by the building owner.

Condos

Condominiums, generally known as condos, are a different story. Even though it is located in a residential building, each condo is privately owned by an individual. If you decide to rent a condo, you will be in touch with the landlord themselves, which will add some personal touch to the renting experience.

Keep in mind there are situations when a landlord can hire a property manager as well if they don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing a few properties.

What about Rules and Restrictions?

Being a renter, you probably know that no matter how great your landlord or property manager is, there will be some rules you have to follow. Let’s see who sets and oversees certain regulations in the apartment vs. condo case.

Apartments

Renting an apartment, you have to comply with the rules set by a property management company. As it owns the entire building, both individual apartments and common areas, the standards will be the same for all tenants and units. 

For example, it might be forbidden to paint the walls or hang paintings. The rule of thumb is that all units have to match the same standard, so you will not have the opportunity to incorporate any permanent changes in your home.

You can also expect some general rules, such as guest and pet policies and garbage disposal.

Condos

The rules of living in a condo can be somewhat different from those in an apartment. There is one entity that manages common areas and sets some general regulations, called homeowners association (HOA). The members of HOA are owners of units, and together they establish rules and guidelines for the building, which you, as a resident, would have to follow. HOA also takes care of upkeeping shared amenities or might decide to hire a property management company to do it for them.

And what about the home itself? 

Here it all depends on your landlord! Technically, as they are the unit owner, it can be changed, remodeled, and refurbished in any way. Some landlords can give you the freedom to change the interior to your taste, while others might be way stricter — it all depends on their approach. A similar situation can occur when you have pets; HOA might have a pets-allowed policy in the building, however the landlord might not accept pets in their unit.

condo vs apartment

Condo vs Apartment: Costs of Renting

Obviously, as for a renter, one of the biggest concerns is the cost of the place. Is it cheaper to rent a condo or an apartment? All things considered, it turns out that the rental price of a similar condo and apartment in the same area will be around the same amount!

Apartments

Paying rent for the apartment, you can expect to pay additionally for any utilities that are not included in rent, such as the Internet or electricity. Usually, the payment can be made either online or by check to your property manager.

Condos

In the case of a condo, on top of your rent comes a monthly fee to HOA, as you are considered to be a part of the residential community. The situation with utilities, however, can depend on the landlord. Sometimes you can agree on paying a flat fee each month, and in other situations, you might be paying utilities by usage. Usually, landlords accept checks, or you can pay your rent online. Similar to some other items, it all depends on the landlord’s preferences and your negotiation skills!

Is There any Distinction When it Comes to Maintenance?

Yes! And this is another thing you should be aware of before moving in to a new place. Repairs and maintenance are unavoidable even in a brand-new building, so you should be prepared and know how to deal with them depending on the type of property you rent.

Apartments

One of the biggest perks of living in the apartment building is dealing with maintenance issues, as it is extremely easy! If you’re in need of any repairs, you simply report this to the property manager, either by phone or by submitting an online form, and they will take care of the rest for free!

You can expect to have this service 24/7 in some apartment buildings and even ask them to come by when you’re not at home if it suits you better.  

Condos

Here the things stand a bit differently. Usually, the landlords handle repairs, but it might take longer compared to how the maintenance is managed in the apartments. In some cases, you might agree to call the repairperson yourself and deduct the cost of repairs from the next check. Landlord-tenant laws would regulate major points when it comes to maintenance, but many smaller matters depend on your arrangements with the landlord.


Hopefully, this short guide will help you to better understand the differences between an apartment and a condo and make the right choice when you are looking for your next rental! If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comment section. And if you are on a quest searching for a perfect home, use Rentberry to find your future apartment (or condo!)

Author Bio: Mariia Kislitsyna serves as an editor and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips Blogs, dedicating the majority of her time to finding great new cities and interesting real estate information to write about. As a polyglot and literature fanatic, she also enjoys writing about culture, travel, and career, and she’s been featured in and written for a variety of publications across the web.

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