For foreigners the concept of distinguishing between apartments and Condos must seem odd; as overseas these words are simply synonyms and mean exactly the same thing.
NOT IN BANGKOK!
There is a big distinction between what expats/locals/property agents call “condos” and “apartments”. Without getting into legal mumbo jumbo about title deeds and ownership, to put it simply:
-Condos are owned by private landlords.
-Apartments are run by companies who usually own the whole building.
This makes a big difference in the rental experience and expenses.
Since this is an article about apartments, let’s dive straight in and explore the general advantages of living in one:
1. Short-term Leases/ Flexible Leases
Bangkok is a transient and cosmopolitan city, with working professional from all over the world, staying for various time-frames (3 Months, 6 Months, 1 Year, 5 Years…). Despite this, Bangkok Landlords are surprisingly rigid, preferring minimum 1 Year Leases.
Apartments tend to provide flexible lease periods, from everything from month-by-month to 1 Year. This makes them an ideal solution for working professionals that are posted in the city for periods less than 1 Year or professionals who are unsure about their stay in Bangkok.
Apartments are also generally more open to negotiating “Diplomatic/Break Clauses” and inserting them into lease agreements; this is essentially a clause that allows a Tenant to break their lease early due to unforeseen circumstances (That can be negotiated).
2. All Inclusive Living
Since companies run apartment buildings, they are essentially providing a hotel-like living environment. In many cases facilities such as Internet, Cable TV and Laundry Service are available. This makes moving into a new apartment a hassle free experience as things like “internet installation” are already done!
On top of this, in some cases cutlery, pots/pans and linen is provided making it like living in a hotel long-term!
3. Maintenance and On-going Rental Issues
This requires minimum explanation, since apartments are run by companies they tend to be more professional and efficient when handling maintenance issues. This may not always be the case with private landlords of condos that are busy professionals and can only attend to issues during weekends.
4. General Living Experience
While this is a generalization, since apartments have to compete against condos they tend to put more attention into the living experience of the guest/tenant. Fixtures and furniture are of higher-quality and have better interior design. Also some apartments offer more spacious floor plans and common areas are better maintained.
However everything is relative and this article would be incomplete without a general comparison with condo living.
Apartments tend to have potential disadvantages that may not be attractive for some tenants:
1. Higher Utility and Extra Bills
It is important not to forget that apartments are companies with a profit maximization motives. Very often Utilities (Electricity and Water) are charged at a premium above the standard government rate. Even extras such as Cable TV and Internet may be more expensive than if you were to get it installed yourself in a private condo.
While these extra charges vary from apartment to apartment they do contribute to larger monthly expenses.
2. General higher rental rates
Providing a hotel-like living environment always comes at a slight premium. Unlike Condos whose rental rates are dictated by the open rental market, apartment rental pricing is arbitrarily set by the management of that company. Comparatively private condos are cheaper in the long-run.
There a definite clear advantages and disadvantages between Condos and Apartments, and as a tenant a lot will depend on personal circumstances and budget. As a Property Agency, we tend to stick to a simple rule of thumb:
– If you want to save money or you are on a tight rental budget stick to private condos.
– However, if you are looking at a rental period less than 1 Year or want a hassle free experience apartments are great options!