condos toronto

What Is The Difference Between A Condo And An Apartment ?

Saturday Feb 12th, 2022


Condos Toronto

Are you a newcomer to a major city in Canada or a young student working part-time looking for an affordable residential space? Are you a fast-paced professional looking to live somewhere comfortably near your office, or are you a settled pensioner interested in investing in real estate?

Everybody looks to the real estate sector and market at some point in their lives for different reasons. You have numerous options when it comes to living in a house. Apartments are available to rent or purchase downright. Or you could live in a condo unit – a popular term for a condominium. There are townhouses, independent bungalows and ranch-style homes too. The latter is more expensive, comparatively. However, we often find people confuse apartments and condominiums. They use it interchangeably. However, there are numerous differences between the two. 

Learning the Differences Between Condos and Apartments
In Canada, structurally, apartments and condos are not much different. However, apartments are usually smaller and are typically located in the suburbs of any big city. Also, their amenities, if any, are more basic. But, their main advantage is that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to rent out.

On the other hand, luxury condos in Toronto are more on the upmarket side, posher, and with better, fancier facilities. They are usually more modern, recently constructed and more prominent in size. But they are costlier in comparison with apartments.

Ownership Ownership means who the property ultimately belongs to, which is a significant difference between apartments and condominiums. More often than not, a leasing or property company owns apartment units. It then leases these out to individuals who offer to pay rent or interest in the apartment unit as tenants. But in the case of condos, you have condo owners who might want to give their property up for rent. In this case, the condo owner becomes the authority of the person with whom a prospective condo tenant will contact and interact with.

Lastly, by and large, the rules and procedures of renting an apartment don't change much. Usually, there is more predictability and uniformity in the policies of a leasing company, whereas, with a condo owner, you don't know what to expect. But if you wish to rent a condo, you will have to follow the rules mandated by its owner. This will change from condo to condo as different individuals own it.

The facilities and amenities included are different when renting an apartment or condo. Most of you must have noticed that the amenities offered as part of living in an apartment are more fundamental – essential facilities like a gym, maybe an open area with ornamental plants and parking. Some rare apartments might come with a swimming pool. But that's it.

Amenities offered as part of condominium complexes are more extensive and luxurious in nature. Potential condo owners can find facilities such as a party room for hosting, a sauna, a separate movie room, an exclusive meeting centre, a barbecue and other similar perks in condominiums. 

While not every condo complex in Canada boasts, the amenities that condos offer are usually more extensive than those provided as part of apartments. It is not uncommon to expect a party room for hosting, a sauna, a separate movie room, an exclusive meeting centre, a barbecue and other similar perks. These undoubtedly make a living in the condo fancier, more fashionable and luxurious.

Cost and What You Get for Your Money
There is the question of the overall cost to live in apartments and condominiums. When comparing the two, apartments are logically more affordable and manageable for your finances. Then again, living in an apartment is simple, basic and free of frills.

Condos undoubtedly offer you a more affluent and enviable lifestyle. You live in relative luxury with an upmarket address. Condos are more frequently available in areas close to city centres and the heart of big cities. As a result, living in condos comes at a higher cost, with rent higher when compared to rent for apartments.

However, as condominium complexes are typically located in city centres and close to commercial complexes, residents save on transportation and other expenses such as gym memberships. So, the rent increase is somewhat leveraged.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for. In condominiums, you get better amenities at a higher cost for rent, and in apartments, you get basic living at lower rent rates. 

Management of Property
When comparing apartments and condos, there is also a critical difference between who manages the property. Traditionally, a professional real estate organization is responsible for managing apartments. However, rental leasing organizations also manage apartments and all aspects of their maintenance. So, you can rest assured these experienced professionals will be there for you if needed. More frequently than not, these individuals have been in the leasing business for quite a few years and can help solve your problems and address your concerns.

In the case of condos, you have two authorities. One is the owner, and the other is the Homeowners' Association (HOA). The HOA is a group of condo owners who manage a particular condo complex. If you rent out a condo within the complex, you need to be in touch with these two important entities. They are primarily private individuals and citizens who might enforce any rule, not requiring anyone's approval to do so. Also, some condo owners make it a habit to check in on their property from time to time. This can get annoying for the tenant.

Risk of Uncertainty
Living on rent in a condo comes with significantly more risk and uncertainty than living on rent in an apartment. Property managers and professional leasing organizations usually manage apartments, and the rules and procedures are fixed, known to all and uniform. They are less likely to change with time, too. In Canada, the resale of an apartment on lease is not very likely. As a result, living in apartments is predictable, hassle-free, and comfortable as these organizations usually offer good support.

But an individual renting a condo in Toronto is at the mercy of his landlord or the condo owner. There is a greater possibility that the owner will sell the property to someone else, making condos quite uncertain to live in. Not all owners inform their tenants about their decision to sell, which can make things eventually difficult for their tenants. However, if you make an agreement or get yourself into a legal deal with the condo owner, these problems will be myths and not to be believed.

Handling Unexpected Repairs
Usually, in the case of apartments, the leasing or property management company is responsible for undertaking repairs like fixing burst pipes, taking care of leakages and maintaining elevators. This relatively increases the ease of convenience of living in an apartment.

The condo corporation's insurance takes care of urgent or unforeseeable expenses and repairs. But sometimes, the insurance can't cover all expenses. In condos, owners create a reserve fund from the condo fees to cover such repairs. If the condo owner personally undertakes any repairs, they are more likely to pass the expenditure to the tenant by increasing the rent. But this depends upon the agreement that you make with the owner. If adequately put, you cross out this problem too from the list of enjoying living in a condo.

Location and Age of the Property
There is a decided difference between a condo and an apartment in terms of the age of residential units.

In Canada, the construction of new condos has begun more recently in lively neighbourhoods, upmarket areas and large city centres. Condos will also connect you better to public transport systems. So, their age is lesser in comparison. Alternatively, you can find more long-standing apartments in suburban areas or scattered across big cities. Their neighbourhoods need not be the more hip and popular ones but are home to residents from all walks of life.

The above pointers were some elements of the difference between an apartment unit and a condo complex. We believe these will help you make a more informed decision. Both condominiums and apartments have their advantages and disadvantages. Of course, ultimately, it is your priorities, requirements and unique lifestyle that will determine what you choose to live in. We wish you success in your journey of finding the perfect house! If you cannot choose between an apartment and a condo, get in touch with the Toronto Condo Team for expert advice.

At Toronto Condo Team, our dedicated real estate brokers provide excellent services and bridge the gap between prospective clients and their dream condo for sale. Whether you are shopping for your first condo or interested in learning more about transitioning to condo living, our team works with you throughout the entire process.