What is The Difference Between Renting a Condo and Apartment

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Condo vs. Apartment: What’s the Difference

Are you trying to choose between renting a condo or an apartment? When you are thinking about apartment vs. condo, the choice you make will influence your living experience. There are different reasons to choose from renting condos or apartments that you need to consider when looking for your new home.

While people normally expect a rental to be an apartment, you might find some condos in your search as well. Let’s look at the choice between a condo vs. an apartment to determine which is best for you.

Ownership is a Significant Difference

The difference between an apartment and a condo is largely down to the ownership. Condos are privately owned within a development of similar homes, with the majority owned by different people.

It can be impossible to tell if the building is full of condos or apartments when you first see it. Only when you find out whether there is a management company involved will you know for sure.

Owners of condominiums sometimes rent out their property, becoming your landlord should you choose to rent that home. Condo properties will often have access to amenities that are shared between the residents. This could include facilities like pools, gyms, laundry rooms, and more.

Homeowners Association

Normally, condo buildings will be managed by a homeowners association. This is operated by some of the owners of the units in the building. The HOA takes care of the common areas in the complex and sets out the rules, and deals with maintenance.

They are designed to make sure the building is well maintained for the benefit of everyone in the community. The HOA should resolve problems and plan updates to the amenities to ensure a well-functioning residential building.

Though the HOA members take up the roles voluntarily, there are still going to be costs. Maintenance and upgrades have to be paid for, and this means HOA monthly dues.

If you become a tenant in a condo, you might need to pay this monthly association fee. The HOA fee is frequently covered by the landlord, however.

There are also rules that residents need to follow. The HOA will have what is known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, that anyone living the building needs to stick to.

The Difference Between Apartment and Condo Living

You can typically expect the layout and facilities to be the same or very similar to an apartment. Condos are more likely to differ between each unit since they have different owners. The style of the interior, and the condition, could be very different between neighboring units.

There also won’t be HOA fees to pay in an apartment, with the management company dealing with the running of the building. You will still need to pay for your utilities in both types of homes, though the way you pay for this can vary.

The Pros of Renting Condos

There are some reasons why you might prefer living in a condo; let’s take a look:

You Might Like The Amenities

Condos can offer a better range of amenities if you are willing to search for them. If you want a pool or gym, plus some outdoor space, they might not be offered in every condo complex, but with some searching, you might find what you’re looking for.

Individual Landlords

Typically, but not always, the owner of a condo will have invested more money in the home to improve it. This can mean upgrades to the kitchen and a better interior for renters. The owner might have lived in the home previously, so they will have made improvements.

This situation can mean better landlord-tenant relationships. The landlord is likely to want to make sure their tenant is happy in the home so that they don’t have to worry about finding a new one.

How is The Pricing?

You might assume that living in a condo will be more expensive, but that isn’t always the case. The costs between apartments and condos tend to be quite close, and this is because they need to stay competitive to find tenants.

With an individual condo owner, you might have more scope to negotiate rent and other fees to suit your needs. This is less likely with an apartment where the costs will be fixed.

You can follow some of our tips for renting an apartment which you should find useful.

The Cons of Condo Rentals

Can You Live With an HOA

You might have to pay the HOA fees with a condo, but there can be other problems even if you don’t. You could be responsible for maintenance fees. Check the lease agreement to see if costs might be passed on to you.

The rules of the HOA might be more restrictive than you would like. Also, sometimes HOAs aren’t well managed, leading to problems for everyone in the building.

Inexperienced Landlords

If your landlord hasn’t had to deal with tenants before, there could be more issues that you would like. They may not know what they are expected to do, which could mean you have to be more patient with them to get issues dealt with.

The Pros of Apartment Rentals

There are reasons to choose apartments ahead of condos. Let’s review:

Management Companies

With professional management, things should run more smoothly. Repair work should be taken care of more easily, possibly with requests being reported online. Maintenance might be available 24/7 in the complex so that if something does go wrong, you won’t have to wait long for assistance.

The management company of the apartments wants to make sure things are well maintained so that they keep their apartments rented.

Online Rent Payments

Often an apartment complex will allow you to pay your rent conveniently online. This can save you time from having to write and mail checks to your landlord. You may also find that it is easier to find an apartment that will let you rent when you don't have the best credit.


Typically you can expect amenities like laundry rooms or gyms to be available. The more you are willing to pay in rent, the better and more luxurious the facilities will likely be.

The Cons of Apartments

Generic Apartments

When you are renting an apartment for the first time, there are many things you are likely to discover. One of them is it's less likely to have less personalization allowed or offered in an apartment. This might mean making any changes is not allowed. Apartments also tend to be smaller than condos, and you won’t have many options with the appliances in the home.

Limited Upgrades

You won’t be able to upgrade or renovate the home, change appliances, or upgrade the kitchen. You are unlikely to request improvements, as what is offered is limited to the building's budget.

Are Pets Allowed

You might face more limiting restrictions on the pets you are allowed to keep in the apartment. Large dogs might be out of the question, and the apartment may not offer enough room anyway.

Final Thoughts

Depending on your situation, the choice between an apartment or a condo might be clear. Though whichever type of home you search for, you should make sure you fully understand your responsibilities and costs.

Hopefully, you have gotten something out of comparing condos to apartments for your next rental.

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Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

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