Is there any difference between renting a condo or an apartment?
A lack of apartment building construction combined with a glut of new condo construction has given birth to a new kind of landlord who buys one or two condo units and rents them out, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
While rents may barely cover mortgage, tax and other expenses in certain markets, the hope is that the rental income evens things off bit until the unit increases in value.
Fair enough, but are you sure you want to be the one paying the rent? First off, rents for condominium apartments are anywhere from 30% to 40% more than traditional rental apartment buildings -- in the GTA, at least.
You’ll likely get a newer (albeit smaller) unit and, in many cities, you’ll have better access to the downtown core. But tenants who rent a unit in a condominium complex and are used to the standard leases of traditional apartment buildings, may be in for a few surprises.
Then there's the "sorry, my daughter is moving in" announcement. While condo tenants are protected like any other under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act and, in case of disputes, the Landlord and Tenant Board, it’s sometimes tricky to figure out what to do.
And there is always the potential ownership change. Commercial landlords tend to stay put. A jump in interest rates, however, could force local investor/landlords to bail, leaving tenants unexpectedly looking for new digs at the end of their lease.
What's your experience? Has being a condo tenant worked out? Was the premium in rent worthwhile?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: John | Jan 30, 2022 8:28:48 PM
I would rather live in a tent than rent a condo or apartment.
Posted by: Shelley Mathieu | Jan 31, 2022 4:56:36 AM
I have lived in both apartments and Condo's. First I might add, that apartments are bigger in size and less rent, but they are older, and you maybe using old stove and fridge, unless upgrades have taken place. Your rent only increases once per year and usually when something goes wrong, you will get it fixed right away. Then in older apartments you may have to deal with those pesty pests of silver fish. Not very pleasant when you want to cook and find them in your pots. The walls are thin and can hear things threw them. You do have the protection of staying there as long as you want as long as your a good, quiet tenant and do not break any of the rules or cause disturbances for other tenants. Not to mention you have to travel somewhere else in the building to use shared washers and dryers or go out to do laundry.
When you rent from a owner of a condo, you do not have that protection, of staying there as long as you want, you can still sign a contract for a year. when things go wrong, if its a good landlord, they will most likely get it fixed as soon as possible. You have new appliances as well as your own washer and dryer. You may have to pay a little more for rent and get a smaller unit, but in my mind it is much better. The conviences of having a nice place and all the essentials at your finger tips, is worth the extra rent in my mind. I might add, also the soaker tub, are to die for. Not to mention if you get in to a high rise the noise level is very low inbetween the floors as there is concrete. So to say, i will always take my chance in renting a condo and never will go back to an apartment. What ever one you decide, just make sure it is the right one for you.
Posted by: Syril | Jan 31, 2022 9:32:25 AM
Hey John....maybe your above living in a rental but its a reality for most people. And for poeple like myself I'd rather rent right now then pay a 25%+ premiuim to own a home just because interest rates are so low! When interest rates go up you will see a mass sell off of houses because everyone i know who has purchased a house in the last few years are totally extended. When interest rates go up (even just a few % points) you will see the sell off start. The only poeple who will not tell you this are Bankers and Real Estate agents.
Posted by: B | Jan 31, 2022 10:58:34 AM
Number 1, I HATE Condo FEE!!! Dirty Dirty!!! also I lost 60 thousnad because of low value... I can't sell it... Waste my money!!! House is the best than CONDO.....
Posted by: Trixie | Jan 31, 2022 12:02:10 PM
Thanks for the info Shelley. It has helped me decide, condo when I retire.
I wouldn't buy a condo though before retirement. Those condo fees are paying for things that you can physically do yourself when you buy a home. 200 a month (or more) really adds up at the end of the year. You have to rent when you are starting out in life and don't have a credit report yet, simply because you are still young and haven't lived enough yet. However, house is the way to go, until retirement, unless you want to help your landlord pay off HIS mortgage. Thanks again to Shelley.
Posted by: Lisa | Jan 31, 2022 12:52:30 PM
What I do not understand is , why isn't there any washers and dryers outlets in the apartments units? I have noticed that the apartments in Ontario (for example) are this way. Are you allowed to have portable ones? In Quebec, you can have apartments with their own washers and dryers in them.
Posted by: Karen | Jan 31, 2022 1:54:19 PM
You need to think like a landlord. Think of the extra cost that would be to have washers and dryers in each unit, where would you put them for one, what if there was a washing machine overflow? Dryers use a huge amount of electricity. Washing machines use a huge amount of water. Unless each unit had its own water supply, there would be a huge draw of water if everyone was washing at the same time. No hot showers. Landlords don't want to supply them because of these reasons, plus they cost a lot of money to buy and to repair. Sooo I guess that's why Ontario doesn't have washers and dryers in their apartments buildings. It all boils down to cost not convenience. Besides landlords make money on the coin operated washer and dryer machines in the basement, everyone needs clean clothes, and the convenience of going downstairs rather than to a laundrymat is better for the tenant.
Posted by: Karen | Jan 31, 2022 2:05:36 PM
As a landlord renting my condo out would not be wise, in many cases the tenant does not take as good of care of the unit, as I would. I would insist on at large deposit including last months rent, plus a damage deposit. I would put it into a TFSA so whenever the tenant moved out, it would be there to cover expenses, should the condo need it. I would hate condo fees too! A landlordtakes a huge financial risk renting out the condo, with covering their mortgage and condo fees the rent would need to be quite high to make anything on it, unless you got it for cheap and fixed it up and then rented it out to a two tenants, if it's a two bedroom. They do that here in Waterloo with students, but also once the student graduate and need a place to live, this is a good way for them to live in a nice condo and only pay $500 or $600 a month to share... it works for some people...not me thou. From a renters perspective, it would be very very good if the costs worked out in your favour. Nice place to live, only one bill a month (hydro/heat/water?), a lease stating the necessary 60 days notice to move out.....depends which side of the fence you are on....
Posted by: Lynn | Jan 31, 2022 3:17:58 PM
My husband and I rent by choice. He is not a handyman and repairs can sometimes be difficult and costly. Add a professional to repair his attempts and you are looking at even more money. Not everyone is good at repairing a fridge, stove, doors or whatever. We have the freedom to come and go as we please, not worrying about snow in the driveway or the grass not cut. We do have kids at home, they also live a lifestyle that allows them to swim in the summer, it's close to schools, stores, etc. It can be annoying having to load the groceries from the car to a bundle buggy and hauling them upstairs and down the hallway at times, but you do get used to it. We are lucky, all our utilities are included (including hydro), and our rent is actually very reasonable. We live in an older building, the suite is HUGE, square footage is larger than some older 2-bedroom homes even. Some people thumb their noses at those of us who rent, but sometimes there are circumstances or other reasons why we do...not because we don't think it's great owning a house, but because sometimes there are health reasons and in our case, it is easier to get someone to do the repairs for us. We are good people, clean, there are no uninvited roomates here (like bugs), we are actually excellent tenants, take care of our suite, we are quiet (even with teenagers, very quiet...no parties allowed in our unit because we respect other's rights too). If it got bad here and we couldn't handle it, or if we got the neighbours from hell we can move...without the hassle of real estate and hoping it sells. We are in our early 50's, have rented since we both moved out on our own and then after getting married. Any regrets...sure we don't own it but in our case, it's just fine...we have money left over at the end of the month to enjoy other things in life without worrying about the house, pipes breaking, fixing this and fixing that. It works for us...it may not be everyone's thing but it has many advantages. I just wish that apartment living wasn't frowned upon by those people who think they are better than us just because they have a house, a huge mortgage, rising taxes, hydro, water, heating costs that constantly rise and then have to repair the roof, replace the stove, put in new plumbing, etc. We just "call the guy"!!!!
Posted by: Chris | Jan 31, 2022 3:51:16 PM
I have been "a renter" since my second year of University (so the last 6 or 7 years). In that time I have lived in: A complete house - with 2 room mates, a 1 bedroom apartment - with my partner, a 1 bedroom condo - with my partner, and 2 different 2 bedroom ground level legal suites in houses. I have to say that I FAR prefer living in a house, even if it's in a secondary suite. For me, the people upstairs have always been the owners of the house. As a result, they take care of their property. It is really nice to know the people you live below, and have the type of relationship where you can talk to them if there is something in need of repair. In the houses my landlords have always been really good about telling us if they are going to have people over or if they are going to be working on something loud upstairs - that way we can plan to be out, and at least know what's going on. Looking back, I have lived in both awesome and awful places; and the awful ones were always multi tenant living situations.
Posted by: Peggy | Jan 31, 2022 4:23:37 PM
We have lived in both rented Condo and an apartment, there where both very nice, only in a rented condo after we ahd paid half of new carpeting and new window treatment the owner decided to sell. We are now renting an apartment and it is lovely, secure and anything that is needed is fixed immediately. We also ahve on suitee washer and dryer. The rent is also cheaper
Posted by: To Lynn: | Jan 31, 2022 4:30:28 PM
Lynn, it's not that being a renter is worse than owning, it's that you are putting your $$ into someone else's pocket. (Landlords DO make money or we wouldn't have so many of them.) They don't spend all their money on repairs, neither do homeowners. I understand your reasoning behind renting. However, for your sake, please be saving a substantial amount for retirement. For many couples, including myself, my house is going to paid for by the time I retire and THAT is going to help me buy my retirement "nest." Someone who rents does NOT have that unless you yourself put money aside. If you are putting savings away already for retirement, good for you.
Posted by: Gregg | Jan 31, 2022 6:59:35 PM
This is all because of municipal governments allowing condos to be built. i would put a moritorium on all new ocndo builds period. What we have is more expensive apartments that are smaller and they have strata coucils. I will never live under that kind of microscope. Governments have to promote rental buildings give the owners tax breaks and stop feeding real estate companies. They are making way too much, and stop non Canadians from buying here period. That will pop the real estate bubble quite easily. It will also allow average Canadians to afford a house or a condo. Foreigners are driving prices up so that they can make money and that to me is a crime.
Posted by: Andrew Henry | Jan 31, 2022 7:07:11 PM
So many questions which are easily answered.
When you're moving into a condo you must make sure that you have a Realtor involved, or at a minimum a few days to have a lawyer look over the Lease agreement.
Within the Lease agreement you will want to make sure that you are given a copy of the condominium documents which will indicate what the Condo Corporation is responsible for repairing and maintaining and what the Owners are responsible for. This will allow you to approach the right person for any repairs needed. Hint.. condo corp's are typically responsible for structure and exterior issues (doors/windows/halls/elevators/parking garage etc).
If you are currently under a lease that is not month to month you cannot be forced to leave a property due to a sale, so having a provision in the lease agreement to allow you to extend the lease for a term of 12 months by giving notice within 60 days of the lease expiring will keep you safe in your condo.
You can also put in a first right of refusal clause to match any offers to purchase the property if you feel that you would like to purchase the condo yourself.
Posted by: John | Jan 31, 2022 8:20:09 PM
@Syril... your points are well taken, but I own 4 homes, free and clear for several decades. I have no mortgages. I lived in an apartment when i was a student 30 years ago, earning only $35,000 per year. NEVER AGAIN!
Posted by: Greg | Jan 31, 2022 9:11:07 PM
We have owned a condo for over 20 years. I retire in 4 years about 10 years ahead of my pers. I will be in my early 50's. Why? I didn't put all my money into a huge house with a gigantic mortgage and high taxes. Instead, I bought something with a park, school for our kids, grocery stores and other covneences nearby that met our needs. Not as big as a stand alone bungalow, but still a privae entrance, backyard and a very small inexpensive motrgage. Our condo fees are less than $200 a month and if we had a home, we would pay triple the taxes plus all the costs of maintaining a yard, driveway home exterior, roof etc.
Condo living is not for everyone, but think of it like our health care. We all pay a little into it so we can all share the benefits. There are clear rules and responsibilities for owner and tenanat to follow to make the process work.
Here is another point to consider. When you get older and retire, you will have to move agan to a smaller place if you own a home. Taking care of some castle is just too much work and for what purpose. So you can have a 4 bedroom house with 3 washrooms of which you might see once a year except for all the cleaning, painting etc. When I retire, I get to stay in my home, enjoy my commnuity and my neighbours and have fun doing what I want and not all those annoying chores.
Renting is similar to havign a condo, except you do not have the equity accumulating over time. Be sure to do some calculations as to which is best for your situation. If your cost of living it too high, look at moving to a city that is less expensive. One example is Windsor, Ontario. This city and surrounding area is quickly becoming a great spot to live and more importantly to retire. It has low housing costs, all the major entertainment you would ever need (professionsal sports, theatre and concerts), international airports for travel and a very mild climate.
To sum up, look at your lifestyle both now and down the road. Consider the budget and what you really need as opposed to what you simply want. Balance the two and you'll see what works best for you.
Posted by: John N. Crook | Jan 31, 2022 10:06:30 PM
Condo tenants PROTECTED? You'll be defamed to The Minister of National Defence when you refuse to provide a second set of post-dated cheques.You'll be run through 13 months of hearings at LTB only to be indebted to the landlord who tried to have you banished to living in motels. You'll be denied a lawyer, you be denied the right to appeal, you'll be so maligned by the landlord. You'll be held prisoner by the property management when you want to move out, if you can afford to pay the elevator booking fee of $300. We were also subjected to a Carbon Monoxide Leak on Jan 13 2011, absolute nightmare!
Posted by: Darius Cartmell | Feb 27, 2022 6:25:58 PM
My answer is they have a huge difference. Condos give luxury, relaxation, and a homey ambiance while apartments are more temporary. I would still prefer apartments though, as they can be remodeled in to our own preference.