Condo vs. Apartment: What’s the Difference?

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When driving around Victoria, you will see many multi-unit buildings where people reside — especially in specific neighbourhoods. That's because Victoria's rental market is in extremely high demand, and the housing market is hot for buying in multi-unit buildings. Some of these buildings are condominiums (commonly referred to as condos), and others are apartments. But what's the difference between the two? There are a few you may not even know about.



Ownership is the main difference between condos and apartments and the one you likely already know about. Condominiums are individually owned, while apartment buildings are owned by a corporation or an individual and rented out by the unit.


Strata Fees

When you live in a condominium, you must contribute monthly strata fees towards maintaining the entire property. You'll be part of an ownership association and get a say in where some of these funds go. New gym equipment, couches in the lobby, re-painting the building, improved patio spaces — these are some of the things your strata group may decide to spend the strata fees. Strata fees also go towards garbage and recycling pick-ups and other regular maintenance of the property.

However, it's not just amenities that an owner may have to pay for. If the building's roof starts to leak, or there's a flood, and there's not enough money in the strata fund, each owner in the building must come up with funds to contribute towards fixing the problem.

On the other side, when you live in an apartment, you contribute no fees to building maintenance. And if anything goes wrong — even within your unit — you're not responsible.


What You Can Do With Your Unit

When you live in a condominium, there are generally no rules for what you can do to the inside of your unit, though you should read your strata agreement to be sure. However, usually, you can change the floor, doors, curtains, appliances, lights — you get the idea.

An apartment is a different story, however. Most renters aren't allowed to even paint (or if you do, you risk losing your damage deposit or paint it back before you leave) or change anything else within the unit. So, you're stuck with that ugly carpet!



Although some fancy apartment buildings do offer more features, you'll likely have more amenities with a condo: 

  • in-suite laundry
  • gym
  • pool
  • community rooms
  • extra suites to rent for guests
  • upscale fixtures — both inside your unit as well as throughout the building



While you have to put out an initial cost and potentially carry a mortgage, you'll have something to show for your money if you own a condo. And if and when you sell it, you'll regain that value — and with the way Victoria's real estate market is going, you'll likely come ahead! If you rent an apartment, you'll get nothing back for that investment.

If you're planning on staying somewhere for at least a few years, you can see how buying is preferable in most cases to renting. For help finding a condo — or house — for sale, let us help! At the Garman Group, we know what to look for, so there are no strata surprises and will find you the best fit for you and your family. Contact us today!