Ben Treger

The Difference Between Condos and Apartments

Understanding the difference between condos and apartments is an important distinction for buyers and renters. The main difference between the two is that you can buy a condo, whereas an apartment is strictly available for rent. However, there is more to it than that. If you are asking yourself, “What is the difference between a condo and an apartment?” we’ve got all the answers here.

What is the Difference Between a Condo and an Apartment?

Condos are multi-unit dwellings that can be found in high-rise, low-rise, medium-rise, and townhouse designs. The individual units are purchased through either the builder for new construction condos or through the owner for resale condos. Condo complexes are managed by a condo corporation, which collects monthly condo fees from unit owners.

Individual apartment units are only available for rent. The building is often owned and managed by a corporation that leases out the units to tenants. Where it can sometimes be a little confusing is that many condo units are available for rent by their owners. So, although the condo is owned, the owner can choose to rent it out.

Condos and apartments also differ in terms of their amenities and services. Condos provide a broader range of amenities like fitness centres, swimming pools, rooftop terraces, and concierge services. These amenities are shared among condo owners and are maintained through condo fees. On the other hand, apartments may have more limited amenities, which can vary depending on the building and management company. While some apartments may offer amenities like laundry facilities or a basic gym, they generally don’t provide the same luxury or variety as condos.

What is the Difference Between the Rent for a Condo and an Apartment?

There are several differences between renting a condo and an apartment. First, in a condo, your landlord will usually be an individual, but with an apartment, you are renting from a property management company. Second, with a condo, you might be dealing directly with the landlord for repairs and to pay your rent. In contrast, with an apartment, there is usually a superintendent who handles repairs and rent collection.

Apartments typically offer more flexibility regarding lease agreements, allowing tenants to choose month-to-month or short-term leases and providing the freedom to relocate or change living arrangements with relative ease. This flexibility suits individuals who may have temporary housing needs or prefer the ability to move more frequently. Condos often come with stricter regulations set by homeowners’ associations and may require longer lease commitments, limiting the flexibility for residents. The greater flexibility of apartments allows for adaptability and the ability to adjust housing arrangements based on changing circumstances or preferences.

Are There Different Rules for Condos and Apartments?

If you are a renter, that is an especially important question. When renting an apartment, the rules are set up and enforced by the property management company. The same restrictions apply to every tenant and every unit in the building. If you are renting a condo, several different factors are at play. First, there will be rules set by the condo board that can apply not only to the unit you rent but to the way you treat the entire complex. Second, you also have to abide by the rules laid down by the landlord. These rules can range from no pets to no smoking, from no nails in the walls to no painting.

As a condo owner who wishes to set the rules, you must be aware of your region’s landlord and tenant act to ensure you are not breaking any laws. Also, if you intend to purchase a condo to rent the unit, always check with the condo board first. Many buildings restrict the number of units that can be rented.

A Comparison of Costs

For apartment rentals, your rent level remains the same based on the length of your lease. Although some apartments offer month-to-month or short-term leases, there is usually an agreement of a year. Once the lease ends, the landlord can raise the rent as long as it remains within the rules of the Landlord and Tenant Act. Prices will vary based on the area, the demand, and the current market rates. In some cases, rent will include utilities, while others won’t.

When you rent a condo, you usually have the same fixed monthly rental fees, but special arrangements can be made if it is agreeable to you and the landlord. Your landlord sets the monthly rent, often including their HOA fees and utilities.

In most cases, you will pay more in rent for a condo than an apartment when looking at the same general location. That difference can be as much as $700 per month in cities such as Toronto. In fact, in many cities, buying a condo is often cheaper than renting one in the long term. However, condos can be attractive to investors as they offer the opportunity for ownership and potential property value appreciation. Condo owners can build equity and benefit from market fluctuations. Additionally, condos can be rented out, providing a rental income stream.

Apartments and condos are distinct housing options with their own set of differences. Condos offer individual ownership, shared ownership of common areas, and the potential for property value appreciation, making them appealing to those seeking long-term investment potential and more customization options. They often provide a broader range of amenities and services, albeit at a cost. On the other hand, apartments provide flexibility in lease terms, limited customization options, and a focus on rental income rather than ownership. While they may offer some amenities, they generally lack the same luxury and variety as condos. Talk to your real estate agent about whether an apartment or a condo is right for you.

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