What Renting a Condominium Entails for a Tenant


Physically speaking, condominiums and apartments don’t share a lot of qualifying distinctions in terms of square feet, floor plan, number of rooms, etc. The big difference between the two is ownership. So, instead of a tenant reporting maintenance issues or writing a rent check to a property manager, he/she will likely direct these inquiries and payments to a landlord – most likely the owner of the unit.

Comprised of individually-owned homes, a condo varies drastically from an apartment community. What do we mean by this? Meaning, condos widely consist of a Board of Directors or HOA and apartments do not. A third-party management firm may be hired by the condo's executive team to oversee accounting, resident requests and hiring contractors, among other tasks.

The Board or HOA typically holds counsel sessions throughout the year to relay announcements to residents. Tenants may be allowed to attend since they reside in the building. However, they’re not entitled to vote within the meetings – unless appointed a power of attorney by the owner. But just because you don’t have ownership of the condo, doesn’t mean you should not attend if it’s open to all. These meetings go over everything from lobby and common area renovations and upkeep to parking and more.

When you rent a condominium, familiarize yourself with CC&Rs. A CC&R – which is an acronym for covenants, conditions and restrictions – enforces the architectural standards set in place by the building’s governing head.  Basically, it regulates and restricts everything from the type of patio equipment you can have on your balcony to the seasonal display on your front door. This is a legally binding contract in which the resident and tenant must adhere. Ask your landlord for an explicit copy of the building’s CC&R, so it’s abundantly clear what you can and cannot do.

In dealing with any rental, be sure to look over your lease agreement and ask questions. If water is leaking into the home below and your neighbors want it fixed right away, do you know who pays? Also, keep up with your landlord regarding dues. Residents or tenants that do not keep up with association fees may end up losing their rights to use amenities or worse.

As mentioned before, it’s extremely beneficial as a tenant to stay in constant communication with your landlord. A condominium is an excellent apartment alternative, but it also comes with more legal parameters that may not be as transparent.

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