Is It Better to Rent a Condo or an Apartment?

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Agent hands apartment keys to new tenant
VGstockstudio / Shutterstock.com

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Point2.

If you’re looking to rent, you may be struggling to choose between apartments and condos. At first glance, they seem more or less the same.

But delve a little deeper, and you’ll find many differences. Let’s take a closer look and figure out which is the best option for you.

Both apartments and condos are individual residential units within a larger building containing several other similar units. They can be within tower blocks or smaller buildings, with or without amenities such as a swimming pool or doorman.

Despite these similarities, there are several differences worth knowing. Here are the big ones.

1. Ownership

Senior landlord
kurhan / Shutterstock.com

Ownership is by far the most significant difference between condos and apartments. In an apartment complex, all units are owned by one person, whereas in a condo building, each individual unit has a different owner.

2. Management

Determined businesswoman or investor
pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Apartment building owners generally work with a management company to deal with tenants, maintenance, and other tasks. A condo building is usually managed by a homeowners association (HOA), which sets the rules and takes care of shared spaces.

When renting a condo, you deal with your landlord, the owner of the unit, rather than a management company.

3. Maintenance and Repairs

JP WALLET / Shutterstock.com

While renting an apartment, if something goes wrong, you can generally contact the management company 24/7, and they will take care of the issue. If renting a condo, however, you’ll need to get in touch with your landlord, who might not always be available.

In case of any urgent repairs that surface, you might have to pay the bill yourself and recover the money afterward. It’s best to agree on such scenarios in advance.

4. Rules

Upset man surprised by a tax document
Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock.com

In a condo, the HOA will set the ground rules that owners and tenants must adhere to regarding common spaces and outside decoration. Within the condo unit, the owner may impose additional restrictions, such as no pet policies, for instance.

Apartments also come with rules, though these tend to be stricter with no room for negotiation. In either case, be sure to check the lease agreement thoroughly before you sign.

5. Costs and Fees

Upset man with empty wallet
Mallika Home Studio / Shutterstock.com

In a condo, the unit owner is solely responsible for setting the rent. This means that tenants in the same building, in similar units, often pay different rents.

In addition, the rent will typically also include the HOA fee and the utilities. You’ll basically be paying a flat fee throughout the year and won’t have to worry about seasonal fluctuations. With these fees added to the rent, condos are often considered more expensive, but it isn’t always the case.

When renting an apartment, utilities are often billed separately, while maintenance and repair costs are typically rolled into your rent, in addition to the upkeep of any shared amenities.

Condo Pros

Woman drinking coffee and using a laptop at home
pixelheadphoto digitalskillet / Money Talks News

Condo or apartment? Which is the right choice for me? To answer this question, it’s worth looking at the major advantages of both options. Here’s what is good about condos:

  • Great condition and amenities: Condos owners tend to put more personal touches into their units and may install upgrades to improve their chances of finding a tenant. Plus, there’s a chance that the owner previously lived in the unit, so it’s more likely to be in good condition. Apartment owners may be more likely to cut corners on these things.
  • More room for negotiation: Not all condo owners are looking to make a profit from their tenants. Some simply want to cover their costs and ensure the unit is lived in and looked after. As such, you may find more room to negotiate on price, pet policies and renovation requests.

Apartment Pros

gift recipient
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Here’s what is good about apartments:

  • Experienced management: With a professional management company, many things are streamlined, such as trash collection, online rent payments, repairs, complaints, and maintenance requests. They are often available round the clock to take care of issues as and when they arise.

In general, if you prefer the peace of mind of not having to worry about dealing with maintenance and repairs and don’t mind having any say in what appliances and amenities you have installed, an apartment is a good choice.

Meanwhile, a condo may be the better option if you’d prefer a more personal relationship with your landlord and the potential flexibility that might come with that. The flip side is that, in cases of repairs and maintenance, things don’t always run as smoothly as they might with an apartment.