Renting a Condo vs. Apartment – Pros and Cons

Many folks know the major difference between apartments and condos – apartments are part of a complex owned by a single entity while condo units are owned by individuals.

For some, the difference in renting a condo vs. apartment is minimal.

For others, renting a condo/apartment as opposed to an apartment/condo is non-negotiable.

As with most things in life, the ultimate right choice for someone is likely to depend on specific circumstances.

Here are some generally accepted pros and cons associated with renting from each type of property:

Renting a Condo – Pros

Community Pride

The population is less transient and there’s a greater likelihood of community pride – condo owners live among condo renters; there’s more skin in the game for the folks who live there.

Grateful Landlords

The condo’s owner is your landlord.

Because it’s a private investment, many owners are extremely grateful to have good tenants and keep them happy.

Motivated Property Management

Condo owners often work with a property management company (whom they’ve selected), and whose job it is make sure everything is working properly; it is the management company’s dedicated responsibility to follow the law and help keep tenants happy (see above).

Nicer Stuff

The condo lifestyle can be generalized as “nicer.”

There is often a concierge and many units are upgraded with better materials because they were once lived in by the owner him or herself and/or installed to see a greater ROI over time.

More Economical

When you consider all living expenses, condos can be much more economical.

Some utilities – if not all utilities – are often included, as are parking fees, pet fees, etc.

Whatever expenses are covered by the building’s condo fees are passed on to the tenant when the landlord pays them.


Renting a Condo – Cons

Chance for Bad Landlord

The condo’s owner is your landlord.

If you happen to get a non-responsive owner, it may be more difficult to get an issue addressed, even if they are legally obligated to do.

Harder Qualification

Because the unit is privately held, the owner is taking on personal financial risk by letting you live there.

Thus, it can be harder to financially qualify for a condo than an apartment (it all depends on the owner’s level of comfort).

More Upfront Costs

It’s more expensive to move into a condo.

Most condo owners require the first month’s rent, as well as another full month’s rent as a security deposit.

Condo rules may also call for move-in fees (usually between $150 and $300), there’s a $30 to $50 application fee, and the owner is likely to require renter’s insurance.

Possibility the Unit Gets Sold

Although he or she must honor the lease that was signed, private owners may decide to sell their unit once your lease is up – you may not be able to renew even if you’d prefer to do so.

Landlord Can Make Certain Rules

A condo owner can make rules for his or her own unit that are not necessarily in-line with the condo’s rules.

For example, the condo building may allow pets, but the individual unit owner may not.

Renting an Apartment – Pros

Easier to Land

Because an apartment building has hundreds of units, it’s not a “one-off” situation.

If a unit isn’t available that fits your needs, one is likely to become available shortly.

You rarely hear of folks “losing out” on an apartment.

Cheaper Security Deposits

The security deposit required is typically only a few hundred dollars.

As a corporation, the management has likely built in a certain number of past due payment to its bottom line and may be more likely to accept a tenant with less-than-perfect credit, provided he/she can show good income.

Won’t Sell on You

Unless something crazy happens, you don’t have to worry about an apartment complex selling the unit you’re living in to someone else.

Renting an Apartment – Cons

Transient Populations

Transient populations equal folks who don’t have an extended stake in a property.

There is not as much incentive for folks to take care of things and be good neighbors.

Nickel and Diming

Apartments will typically charge you a monthly fee for every utility, pets, garage parking, and almost any other thing you can think of.

In addition, they tend to offer a teaser rate that will go up tremendously at the end of the lease.

Run by Corporations

Corporations run apartment complexes and thus, tend to be much more impersonal and rigid when it comes to rules and obscure requests.

It’s likely harder to build a relationship with an apartment complex than it is with an individual condo owner.


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