An apartment is set of rooms in a larger structure that make up one residence. Apartments can be anything from a few rooms like a "mother-in-law" or secondary suite within a larger house to a multi-story high rise building with thousands of apartments. In general, apartments are rented rather than owned, but they can be condos.
In general apartments are smaller than houses, but of course, some apartments are larger than some homes. Most apartments are on a single level or floor, although they are often within in a multistory building.
Many apartments have a minimum time lease (often a year). There's generally a higher rate or a penalty for shorter times. In some municipalities and some complexes, these minimums are waived for renewals.
The advantages (and disadvantages) listed below) are generalizations, so they won't be true of all apartments.
- usually includes a maintenance staff
- lots of close neighbors (can make it easier to find friendly neighbors)
- don't require as much of a financial investment
- less responsibility (don't need to sell or arrange for care, when you want to move)
- since they share walls, apartments, like other attached homes may have lower heating or cooling needs than a similarly sized stand-alone home
- less space between neighbors can be a problem when they have different hours, music preferences...
- you don't get to select who works on your apartment (the maintenance or office staff)
- complete strangers may have (or have access to) the keys to your home
- less flexibility about how you decorate or renovate
When moving inEdit
Before you move in, document the state of the apartment. Make a list, and if possible, take time stamped pictures of any damage or trouble spots. It's best if you can inspect the apartment (and when appropriate the grounds) together with a representative of the apartment who can sign and date the list. Some apartments have a formal process and may even have a checklist, but others may not. Any damage that is found soon after the move-in, should be documented as soon as possible. (Some damage such as appliances that do not work correctly may not be obvious on initial inspection.)
Changes or improvementsEdit
If you make "permanent" or significant change or improvements (for example, painting, replacing the flooring, installing hardware fixtures or appliances), you usually need to get permission first from the management, in writing, first.
When moving outEdit
When you move out of an apartment, arrange for an inspection before you leave. Document (and have a representative of the apartments sign) the condition of the apartment. This way you are less likely to be blamed for any damage that occurs after you leave.
Different kinds of apartmentsEdit
Apartments can vary from a suite of rooms within a larger home, such as a secondary suite for in-laws, to large high-rise buildings with hundreds of apartments. They can be smaller than 200 square feet or larger than 2,000 square feet. Some buildings will have a common lobby while other apartment buildings are built so that each apartment has its own entry (sometimes called garden apartments).