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Condos Vs Apartment Rentals: Who Wins?
by Admin June 23, 2022

Condos Vs Apartment Rentals: Who Wins?

Let's just say you are house hunting. You seek out top realtors, go on guided property tours, and tick just about all the boxes before the conversation swings around 'condo' or 'condominium'. You could be familiar with the term already but how do you fare when it comes to condo vs apartment rentals? Do you know what separates the two, and important enough, what is a better rental choice?

Condos and apartments are barely distinguishable in India, unlike in the US or Canada. However, a grasp of the subtle differences can go a long way in making a better-informed rental choice. Let's begin with what separates the two structurally - practically nothing! Condos can mirror apartments; apartments can mirror condos, thereby leaving very little to write home about.

A fine distinction, however, is that apartments replicate design narratives all across. So, a 1BHK shall imitate another 1 BHK apartment unit within the same building in a way that one is spitting image of the other. Things are a little different with condos which offer scope for greater customisation. So, if one size fits all is not your thing, consider condos.

That said, the key to condo vs apartment lies in ownership. An apartment typically is a living space in a wholly-owned building--typically by a corporation or individual. Apartment dwellers engage either with the owner (corporation or individual) or a representative of the owner (association or management company) for everyday matters. Bear in mind this is ownership in its entirety wherein the entity owns the entire building estate.

The ownership model for a condo revolves around unit proprietorship. Each condo unit within a building structure has its own unique owner with shared spaces like alleyways, concierge etc. managed collaboratively.

Unique ownership offers condo dwellers a certain degree of flexibility. In the event of falling out with the owner, for example, the tenant can shift base to a different unit within the same building. Such transitions have low execution barriers relative to apartments, where moving out means complete relocation. It also supports rich living experiences wherein a condo unit could offer bespoke flooring, countertops and other solutions remarkably different from other units within the same building.

Let’s now deconstruct condos vs apartments from a management perspective, where apartments seem to hold a slight but decisive edge. The management (and maintenance) of an apartment revolves around the building estate owner (or their representative) who is your first point of contact for any repair unless a dedicated maintenance unit is available. Irrespective of whether it’s the owner or maintenance team, apartment repairs get executed swiftly, more so if the issue could trickle down to other building apartments.

The flip side is that you may have to toe the line on repairs guarded by strict apartment policies. For example, there could be a policy that forbids custom-fit kitchenware or front door customisation to uphold design consistency throughout. Similarly, repairs involving major changes to a key structural framework –like beams- are prohibited.

In condo dwellings, maintenance responsibilities rest squarely with the respective condo owners. Therefore, the first response is always quick since a condo owner is responsible for one unit alone; not the entire building. It may, however, take longer for repairs to be actually conducted especially if vendor services are to be sought out. Common area maintenance in condos is generally regulated by the owners' association that upholds and executes maintenance protocols for such spaces.

Another bone of contention is the rental structure. The rental breakdown for an apartment is pretty straightforward. It includes a predetermined amount that goes in the form of an advance, which is typically the equivalent of one- or two months' rental, with a security deposit on top. You pay your utility bills & parking charges (if any) and that's that. Some owners may have a pet-fee add-on, though that is often negotiable (and hence avoidable). The instrument to be kept an eye on is the agreement of lease.  Typically, that fee is split between the leaser and lessee but it’s always better to have your apartment owner spell it out before you sign on.

Condo rentals allow for a bit more flexibility. The thing to remember is it cuts both ways with condos – the rentals could be slightly higher or slightly lower-- relative to an apartment equivalent in all aspects. Condo rentals follow a general rule of thumb which is a security deposit tagged along with a month's rent in advance. The catch lies in whether or not any association fees are incorporated within your rental structure. These could add up substantially in time and are absolutely important to be understood upfront.


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