You may have used the terms interchangeably, but there are some important differences between these two property types. Read on to discover the difference between condos and apartments.

Condos and apartments are the same in a lot of ways — both are rented properties, typically in a building with similar-looking units. Given that they have so much in common, you’ll often hear these terms used interchangeably with each other. However, there are some distinct differences between apartments and condos that you should know if you’re planning on looking for a place to rent.

If you’ve ever wondered what the distinctions are between these two types of real estate, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be taking a look at the differences between condo and apartment living with four of the most commonly asked questions about this topic.

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4 Common FAQs About Condos vs. Apartments

What’s the definition of a condo?

A condo (short for condominium) is a rental unit in a residential building, community, or condo complex. Individual units in condo buildings are typically owned by people who either live in them or rent them out. Condos also often have a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) that meets to discuss repairs, upgrades, and maintenance.

Since tenants rent directly from the condo owner in most cases, living in a unit like this can be a great option for those looking to pay a little bit extra for a nicer building and have more of a one-on-one relationship with their landlord.

What’s the definition of an apartment?

An apartment is usually located in a building in which every suite is the same or similar, and owned by a property management company. This company will often hire a single manager to look after all the apartments in the building, handling repairs, maintenance, and leasing out the apartments. These building managers often work out of the apartment building in a leasing office, available for tenants during the day with any issues they may have.

Related read: What Documents Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

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What are the differences between condos and apartments?

One of the main differences between condos and apartments is that condos tend to be more customized, since they’re owned by individual parties. This also means that if a resident is renting their condo and they want to make some changes, they’ll have to reach out to the owner.

Adding a personal touch by painting the walls or changing the flooring may seem like a good idea at the time, but it could be a breach of contract if the tenant doesn’t check with the owner first.

On the other hand, apartments generally don’t allow for any personal customizations, since it’s usually built into the lease or tenancy agreement that the renter won’t make any major changes.
Also, apartment tenancy agreements tend to include utilities in the monthly rent, while condos may require tenants to pay some or all utilities on top of the cost of renting.

What do condos and apartments have in common?

The fact that condos and apartments are both rented units gives them a lot in common. Many condo and apartment buildings also have shared amenities, such as common areas and swimming pools, that are free for residents to use.

And since they’re both typically located in storied buildings, condo and apartment residents don’t have to worry about mowing their lawn in the summer or shoveling snow in the winter.

In most places, living in either a condo or apartment requires renters to have a good tenant’s insurance policy in place. This important policy keeps tenants from having to pay out-of-pocket for any unforeseen events, such as a fire or theft.

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