General Question

mcbealer's avatar

If you've ever rented a condo, what was your experience like?

Asked by mcbealer (10152 points ) May 16th, 2010

I’m interested in hearing about what your first-hand personal experience was, not hearsay or what your friends or family members have dealt with. Also please state what city/state it was located in.

I’m considering renting a condo in the Seattle area and would appreciate any tips/advice you might have. It is in a gated community, in a building that is known to be pet-friendly. I have a large dog and it is a first floor unit.

Again, this for rental of a condo (with a lease), I’m not actually purchasing one.

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8 Answers

Draconess25's avatar

In Branson. I was 8. It was cramped, & I had to share a bed with my brother.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

cfrydj's avatar

I rented a brand-new condo in Edmonton, Alberta last year. It was fine, but a terrible location, so we moved. I guess you need to be more specific in your question. What exactly do you want to know?

It’s not that different from renting an apartment, really. The only difference is that your landlord likely won’t also manage the building. In our case, we were renting from an older couple who bought the condo as a rental property. So if something needed fixing, it was a longer process, because we would tell them, and they would tell the condo board. Our landlords were great, though, and we had no problems.

kelly's avatar

several times, SteamBoat Springs CO on the slope, great walk in, cook, do a load of dishes in washer, maid service, leave, pay bill.
Myrtle Beach, SC with 7 other golfers in two adjacent condos, great experience. Convenient and best if you have several people. Be sure to inquire about how many parking spots come with rental and how many separate bedrooms ( as opposed to pull out couch) there are and how many bathrooms, showers/tubs/toilets, some owner fudge the number and it can get crowned

MissAusten's avatar

My best friend and I rented a condo for several months after we graduated. It suited our needs just fine. We didn’t have problems with any of our neighbors, and it was nice to not have to maintain a lawn or deal with repairs on our own. Our landlord was pretty good about fixing things when they needed to be fixed.

The only time we had a problem was shortly after we first moved in. The dishwasher had been removed, and was supposed to be replaced before our moving date. After calling the landlord a few times to ask for an update on the dishwasher, we sent him a letter stating that since the condo was listed as including a dishwasher, but didn’t, we would be paying $100 less per month for rent. He sent the new dishwasher the day after he got our letter.

mcbealer's avatar

@cfrydj ~ I have been living in a mostly rural small town for a while, and I know this will be a big change overall. I have rented single-family houses for the past decade, and am ready for the maintenance-free aspect of a condo, as well as having everything on one level.

Living within such close proximity to neighbors is bound to present special challenges. Especially when most own pets. Seattle is very dog friendly overall so it’s really a good place to be a dog owner.

I’m wondering about stuff like any neighbor experiences you’ve had, use of community pools and what that’s been like, what it’s like living in an all-inclusive unit side by side with others, and if you’ve lived in a gated community – what that’s like.

Primobabe's avatar

You could be writing my own story. I was adopting a dog, and I needed an appropriate, dog-friendly place to live with her, so I rented a ground-level condo with its own entryway. My experience was terrific. After renting for a while, I bought the condo from my landlord.

It really depends on the condo itself, the neighborhood, and the landlord. I’m sure that every experience is different.

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve never rented a condo unless the non-code-compliant dorm room I stayed in during college counts. I have worked in the building industry for AOAO’s though and have been involved in the design process of new condo buildings, some of them high end luxury.

From a renter’s perspective, the procedure for maintenance is probably not all that different. You still go through the owner. The owner may have to go through the AOAO to get an approval before doing work, but that probably depends on what the condo rules say and may not be required for all work.

You won’t have a yard to take care of, and big repairs (roof, exterior, landscaping, parking, lobby, etc) will all be managed by the AOAO. As a renter, you probably won’t have any say in this stuff, but then you probably didn’t have much say in house repairs as a renter either (I don’t, anyway).

If the building was designed with noise in mind, it will not be much of a problem. Also newer buildings tend to have a tighter envelope, meaning less cracks and better seals to keep noise and water out and treated air in. I am just going to assume that you’ll have heating at least. If there are openable windows, any noise from the street or air will be heard from within. If there are no openable windows, you have less control over ventilation and you should find out how often window cleaning is done.

I would take a good look at common areas. Are they neatly maintained? Do they smell like dog poo? You can probably tell a bit about the neighbors and standard of living for the building by looking at these areas. Hallway that smells like piss and beer – lots of college parties, loud music, bad maintenance. Hallway that is clean enough to sleep in and has the ambiance of a hotel – maintenance that works and/or neighbors that are conscientious.

If you’re looking at a walk up, imagine doing the stair everyday with a pile of groceries. If you’re looking at a high-rise, make sure they have more than one elevator and that one of them can be used for moving large objects like furniture. If you like to change up decor often, find out how easy it is to move furniture in and out of the building (some people make you set up and take down protective cloths in the elevator each time) and how big the elevator is for doing this (will all of your stuff fit?).

Find out where the laundry machines are if they aren’t in your unit, if there is a trash chute or you have to carry it out to a dumpster. How many parking stalls. Weigh building security vs convenience.

If I were living in a condo, I’d like everything I need to be within walking distance. Are there restaurants, coffee shops, library, grocers that meet my high standards, nice places to walk your dog, etc near-by. What is the night life like and can you live with it.

Community swimming pools can be nice. For me (I may be different from you), it depends if it is totally concrete or nicely landscaped, if the pool is large enough to do laps or more for relaxation, if there is a jacuzzi or not, and if it is cleaned regularly or neglected.

Gated communities? Can’t stand them. I just assume that everyone that lives in there is paranoid and fearful for their lives. Gated communities are conservative, elitist, paranoid, perpetuating ignorance, fear-mongering, unnecessary, and destructive to “community” and “sense of place”.

Aster's avatar

Wow, @lilikoi . The only reason we live in a gated community is because it has a golf course. If it had not be gated we would have moved here anyway just to be so close to the golfcourse. The gates are actually slightly inconvenient.

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