The Pros and Cons of Apartment Living

Rose Morrison

Apr 14, 2021

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Where do you want to hang your hat? If you’re considering moving into an apartment, you have several factors to weigh. 

Renting a pad offers considerable advantages for many. However, with any living arrangement, there are pros and cons of apartment living. Find out if it’s right for you with this checklist. 

The Pros 

When it comes to the pros versus cons of apartment living, there are many pluses. Here are four of the benefits of this lifestyle. 

1. Little Maintenance

When your toilet turns into a nightmare out of “The Amityville Horror” due to a tree root through a mainline, you’d have quite the messy and expensive problem as a homeowner. However, if the same scenario occurs while you rent, you call the super. Problem solved. 

2. Freedom to Move 

When you rent, you don’t have to list your house on the market and wait months for a qualified buyer. While your lease terms may forbid you from merely packing your bags, you enjoy the freedom to take a job offer across the country without risking tens of thousands in losses. 

A month-to-month lease requires a 30-day notice period before your next payment is due to avoid penalty. If you sign a long-term contract, check to see if there is a cancellation clause. If not, you may need to help your landlord find a new tenant or pay a fee. 

3. Lower Qualification Requirements 

To buy a home, you need a considerable down payment, a rock-solid credit score, and at least two years of tax returns showing sufficient income if you are self-employed. However, to rent, you must only pass a credit and background check. 

What if you have a criminal record or a history of eviction? For the former, it depends on your crime’s nature and your landlord’s discretion. Smaller property owners with only a few units will often grant leeway for minor offenses like cannabis possession. Never lie on your application — this omission can become ground for future legal action. 

If you have a past eviction, try to get it expunged if possible. If that isn’t in the cards, remain polite and professional. You may need to offer a hefty security deposit to show your landlord you intend to fulfill your financial obligations and protect their interest. 

4. A Sense of Community 

Some apartment complexes offer amenities such as fitness centers and pools, although these may be closed temporarily due to COVID-19. When open, such facilities provide the opportunity to meet your neighbors. Some communities organize barbecues and potlucks to create a spirit of friendship among residents. 

The Cons 

All of that sounds terrific — what are the cons versus the pros of apartment living? Each arrangement has potential pitfalls. Here are five you should consider. 

1. Lack of Permanence 

One of the cons of apartment living is the impermanence of your situation. You’ll have less trouble if you rent a unit in a large complex with a single owner who manages it as a career. With smaller private residences, your landlord may decide to sell at any time. If this scenario occurs when you are on a month-to-month arrangement, you have 30 days to pack your bags. 

If you have a lease for a specified period, like a year, you have more protection. Unless your landlord forecloses, your leasehold interest transfers to the new owner. However, if they get in financial trouble, you may still need to find an alternative place to live. In high rent demand areas, this scenario could result in paying hundreds more for a comparable property or doing considerable downsizing. 

2. Very Little Grace Period 

If you can’t pay your mortgage, your bank doesn’t come and take your home right away. Most leases, conversely, have a five-day grace period to pay your rent. If you miss that date, you could pay a considerable daily late fee. Your landlord can issue an eviction notice the first day after a missed payment — a lost job can have severe financial repercussions if it renders you unable to pay. 

3. No Equity Accumulation 

You have no ownership interest in a rental property. Your monthly housing allowance goes into your landlord’s pocket, and you never recover what you paid. When you buy a home, you pay down your mortgage balance each month and eventually eliminate it. 

4. Can’t Modify the Property 

Because the property doesn’t belong to you, you can’t paint an accent wall or remodel the kitchen without your landlord’s express written permission. You can make accessibility upgrades under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but your property manager doesn’t have to cover costs if it presents an undue hardship. 

5. Could Get Stuck with a Bad Landlord 

Your unit advertised a washer and dryer within, but you can’t use either due to insufficient maintenance. Despite repeated calls to the super, you still rack up laundromat fees every week. An absentee landlord can leave you with considerable headaches. 

What About Costs?

In many cases, deciding whether apartment living is right for you comes down to price. In the short term, renting saves you money. However, if you plan to remain in the residence for longer than four years, buying gets you the most bang for your buck. Plus, you eventually pay off a home where you can retire. 

Before Moving, Weigh the Pros and Cons of Apartment Living 

Is this lifestyle the right one for you? Before you move, weigh the pros versus cons of apartment living.

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