Helpful Tips If You’re Considering Renting a Condominium

May 27, 2022

Enjoy the lifestyle amenities without the responsibilities of ownership

For the fortunate, and perhaps relatively prosperous few, renting a condo is becoming an increasingly attractive option. A stepping-stone into downsizing and/or finding a long term residence to live in as they age, more and more prospective and actual retirees are looking at renting (rather than buying) a property like this.

And Who Can Blame Them?

It’s a rental option that allows you to enjoy the lifestyle amenities of what could be a luxury building without the responsibilities of ownership – such as managing and paying for, often relatively lavish, common areas.

An additional plus is that condo rentals are often located in recently constructed or renovated buildings boasting – among other things – superior soundproofing, higher quality maintenance services, and much else besides.

The downside is that condo living can often come with a high price tag; certainly higher than that associated with a regular rental apartment in a more modestly conceived building. In which case, you must be careful before taking the plunge.

Make Sure You Can Afford It

It’s easy to get beguiled by glitz. So be sure you can afford the price bump. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your income, the golden rule is that you should only assume rent that is 25% – 35% of your monthly income. It’s dangerous to move beyond that limit, especially if you’re on a fixed income. Do the math.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve heard that expression before and it’s true. A great unit in a beautiful building situated in the wrong location isn’t the way to go. Consider your lifestyle needs and select accordingly. For example, many people like to be near supermarkets and shops, restaurants and cafés and other lifestyle amenities. If that describes you and your new condo is in the middle of nowhere…then it’s not so great after all.

And what about pharmacies, hospitals and access to public transportation? Consider, if you’re still working, your commute time. Be sure to walk the neighbourhood thoroughly – take its pulse – before settling for a building that looks right but doesn’t fit your lifestyle needs.

The Building

Not all buildings are the same. Some people are turned off by residential towers, preferring the low-rise option instead. If the building offers indoor parking, be sure to investigate how easy it is to transport groceries from the trunk of your car to the elevator. Negotiating a maze of doors is not the way to go, especially if you’re an older retiree.

Fancy condo buildings typically offer a gym and a pool, and some even include concierge services. Be sure you’re really going to take full use of these amenities, or the money spent on providing them is wasted.

Confirm that the building is well maintained and that there are strict rules for common areas covering such issues as curfews and visitor management.

Common Areas

In some condominiums, access to common areas if you’re a renter can be problematic. Ensure that, as a renter, you have access to all the common areas and that your guests do too. Can your guests use the pool and gym? Are animals permitted? Can you use a barbecue? Check out the rules before signing on the dotted line. High-end condos can come with a lot of behavioural restrictions for residents, especially if the building is mixed occupancy: i.e. owners and renters. Be sure to check out what they are if you’re a renter.

The Unit

Aside from the obvious considerations – enough rooms, plenty of storage space, etc – be sure to ask if the rent covers/includes utilities such as water, heating, electricity, parking, are Wi-Fi and cable part of the deal, are the appliances included, what are the laundry options if there’s none in the unit?

We recommend that you take time to visit the condo during the daytime as well as in the evening to test sound proofing. You’ll also want to check out natural light and make sure you like the view from the balcony – if it comes with one.

Condo life can be a wonderful lifestyle choice, however it can also be not so wonderful if you end up in the wrong building or next door to the wrong neighbours, so do your homework as best you can before you sign a lease. Often you can get a copy of a condominium’s by-laws before you decide to rent so you know your rights as well as those of the other residents.

It’s only after all these criteria are satisfied that you should make your decision to rent a condo.

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