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Apartment VS Flat VS Condo: What’s The Difference?

apartments vs condo vs flat Apartment VS Flat VS Condo: What’s The Difference?

Many people often wonder what the difference is between an apartment, flat, and condo. It can be confusing to some but to put it simply, there is not much of a difference. All three of these structures are basically the same type of residence, but with slight differences. One big difference is where you would say which term. In the United States, it’s more common to refer to these self-contained residences as either an “apartment” or “condo”. Whereas in Europe and other parts of the world the word, “flat” is more commonly used. We’re going to break down a few more differences between these three words.

What is an Apartment?

The term “apartment” is an all-encompassing word for a private residence that is self-contained within a building complex or community. More often than not, they will also have a management office on-site where a property manager works. Any issues that tenants have related to repairs, rental agreements, and other questions are first run by the property manager. From there, they assign jobs to the maintenance team for general repairs and property upkeep.

Within the apartment complex, there are several community features that are only meant for those who live there. This includes swimming pools, gyms, and laundry room. Depending on the type of complex, the number of rooms and layouts can vary. One bedroom apartments are the most common and from there they can go up to three or four bedrooms. Other options for apartments can include spacious sunrooms or working fireplaces.


Apartments are generally rented units and have a flexible contract. This can range from a month-to-month lease, a 3- to 9-month agreement, or a yearly contract. For those who want a short or longer lease, these types of contracts allow for such flexibility.

What is Considered a Flat?

Flats share many similarities to apartments. Both are individual residential units and can vary in the number of rooms that they have. Like apartments, flats are normally individually rented out. However, one key difference is that a flat is within a single, larger structure such as a house or commercial building. These structures have been converted to create new housing within them.


It is becoming more popular to turn these buildings into trendy, luxurious flats that go for a premium price. Large cities where a younger population tends to thrive are optimal places for them to grab these highly sought after homes.

When it comes to renting a flat, you can either deal with a management company or directly with the owner of the house. Sometimes a single owner will own the home and manage any issues that come up with the tenant. Keep in mind though that in some countries, the tenant is responsible for any minor repairs in the flat. The owner would only be responsible for major structural repairs or plumbing issues.

How are Condos Different from Apartments and Flats?

Condos are not much different from an apartment or flat. The structure itself is a private residence but the key difference between them is who owns it. A condo is a unit that is owned by a single individual. This means that you can buy a two-bedroom condo and treat it as you would a stand-alone house—with the exception of doing yard work. Your costs would also include any Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fees and repair costs. With an apartment or flat, these costs are wrapped within your monthly rental payment. When it comes to HOA fees, these can end up taking a large chunk out of your month’s costs.


The HOA is responsible for helping to maintain the exterior of the building and common areas such as parks, gardens, and pools. They also create the rules and requirements that the owners need to follow. Rules such as what type of furniture owners can have on their balconies or what percentage of condos can be rented out at any given time are all decided by the HOA. The penalty for not following the rules set by the HOA can be steep. They can include everything from paying fines to having a lien placed on the condo itself.

If the condo is rented out, then the tenant would deal directly with the owner. Here is where it gets tricky though. The owner of the condo needs to make sure that the tenant abides by the rules that the HOA has set in place. They also need to protect their own investment and choose responsible, reliable tenants who won’t make them regret renting out their condo.


While the differences between apartments versus flats and condos are not that great, there are definitely a few to keep in mind. If you prefer renting a home or know that you are going to be on the go for the next few years, then an apartment or flat is going to be the best option. However, if you want to have a more longterm investment then a condo might work well for you. Whatever you decife, you now have more information to arm yourself with while searching for your next home.