The Difference Between Leasing an Apartment or a Condominium

I often get calls from people looking to rent a home in Los Angeles, especially on the Wilshire Corridor. They start the conversation with “I saw a listing for an apartment at……”

The majority of buildings on the Wilshire Corridor are not apartment buildings, they are condominiums.  So what’s the difference?

An apartment building is generally owned by one entity which leases out the individual units to individual tenants.  A condominium building consists of units which are individually owned.

Condominium buildings do not have property  managers who rent out the units as an apartment building will. You cannot walk into one of those condo buildings and ask about rentals. The way to find a lease in one of those buildings is to contact a real estate agent. Most often in the higher price ranges owners will seek help when renting their units.

When you rent a unit in an apartment building you will be dealing with the management company and everything is pretty standardized. When you rent a unit in a condo building, you will be dealing directly with the owner or his or her agent. Each owner has different expectations from their prospective tenants, and the vetting process is often more cumbersome. Also condo buildings often require a move-in-move out fee which is generally paid by the tenant. It can be anything from $100 to $300 and is non-refundable. They may even require that a deposit be held to ensure that no damage is done, refundable in the event that none is.

As a tenant leasing from a private owner you are entitled to all the amenities paid for by, and granted to the owner through the association – use of gym, pool, guest parking, etc. and you will be required to read the association rules and strictly abide by them. Sometimes, if the association dues paid by the owner include utilities, these will be included in the rent. If the utilities are not included then whether you are renting an apartment or a condo you will be responsible for transferring the utilities into your own name.

Bottom line, leasing a condo is more of a personal transaction, after all you are going to be living in someone’s home and the majority of your neighbors are going to be homeowners in the building and will not be as tolerant of any infractions as fellow tenants in an apartment complex might.

Condos for Lease in Los Angeles

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