What is a condo house: Everything you need to know about condominiums

[] Somewhat similar to an apartment unit, albeit with a difference in the kind of ownership, condominiums are largely popular across the United States, Canada and even the United Kingdom, where they are called ‘commonhold’. In India, condominiums are an alternative to the co-operative housing society model which is common in Maharashtra

Even though this term is not commonly used in India, one will often hear the term ‘condominium’ during the mention of housing options, especially in the west. More commonly referred to as condos, condominiums are a popular housing option in the developed western markets.

You are reading: What is a condo house: Everything you need to know about condominiums

What is a condominium?

A large property, divided into single units for the purpose of sale, is a condominium. So how is it different from a regular property? Much of the difference springs up due to the kind of ownership. For example, in the case of an apartment, a single family purchases not just the unit but they also have a right of ownership on the land on which the structure is built. In the case of a condo, the ownership is slightly different. A condominium is inside a residential building or community but the unit is privately managed by the individual or landlord of the property. This landlord has no say in the functioning of the larger building or even the plot of land in which his/her property is built upon. A home owners’ association may, however, come together to help out with the property management. They may also be referred to as the condominium management, consisting of a group of owners that come together to oversee lawn maintenance, etc. For services such as these, condo owners will have to pay a certain amount.

What is a condominium

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Difference between condominiums and apartments

Condominium Apartment 
The individual condo owner is the landlord. The condo managed individually or with the help of a property management company. It is managed and services are provided by the corporation.
A condominium in India should have a minimum of five housing units. An apartment building is one which has the ability to house a minimum of 10 families.
More personal touch seen and better amenities are present. All units have the same basic amenities.
Extra charges will apply towards the property management company’s service providers. Property management services are usually not required.
Most maintenance and upkeep and maintenance charges depend on you. A housing society, through an RWA, will provide the services for you at nominal rates.

Condominium meaning

Why should a condo owner pay the property manager?

As already mentioned, a condo owner will be required to pay for the services rendered by a property management company. Such services include repairs, landscaping, maintenance and operation of gyms and swimming pools, etc.

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Condominium definition

Are condominiums common in India?

Condominiums are quite common in the United States. In India, although the concept of condominium ownership is more than 50 years old, they are less popular as compared to the cooperative housing society model, which is common in Maharashtra. Rules pertaining to cooperative societies in Maharashtra are governed by the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act of 1960. In 1970, an alternative to such a housing society was introduced by the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970, which provided for the formation of condominiums. These buyers are also called apartment owners who come together and form an association.


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Advantages of condominiums

The following are the advantages of condominiums:

  1. Flexible lifestyle: Condominiums are perfect for individuals who prefer to live a flexible life without restrictions. Remember, you are the owner of the unit and there are no restrictions on your lifestyle in a condominium.
  2. More affordable: Condominiums are also beneficial for individuals who want to lower the cost of owning a house. Condominiums are cheaper than independent houses and make a great purchase for first-time home owners.
  3. Good connectivity with business centres and several modes of entertainment: One of the most unique features of condominiums is that they are located close to business centres and popular hubs of a locality. Thus, the owners benefit from great connectivity and have access to the several forms of entertainment prevalent in the locality.
  4. Wide range of amenities: Most condominiums have a wide range of amenities that include a swimming pool, rooftops, and fitness centres. Thus, the residents need not move out of their complex in search of these amenities.
  5. Great security: Condominiums have great security and prevent the chances of theft or intruders barging into the property. Most condos have several security technologies to maintain the safety of the residents.

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Disadvantages of condominiums

The following are the disadvantages of condominiums:

  1. Lack of extra space: In condos, you do not get extra space like a backyard or a garden that you solely own. This is a disadvantage especially for families with children or pets who need to play in the backyard.
  2. Limited parking area: Condominiums have limited parking areas. This can be an issue if you have guests invited as their parking might be chargeable.
  3. Restrictions on pets: Most condos have restrictions on keeping pets. Even though certain condos allow pets within the premises, there might be restrictions on the number of pets you own and their breed.

Maintenance of condominiums

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Most individuals prefer condominiums, because of their low maintenance costs. The residents need to pay a specific sum annually or monthly for the overall maintenance of their condos. Thus, the residents need not fix any maintenance issue by themselves. They just need to inform the authorities in order to repair the problems. Some condos also have regular inspection facilities where repairs are immediately done if any issue is detected.

Condominium insurance

Condominium owners need to pay a lesser premium as compared to owners of individual houses, while they get their condos insured. This is because they only need to get their belonging within their house insured. The rest of the condo’s insurance is taken care of by the real owner of the property. Thus, getting home owners’ insurance for a condominium is cheaper and affordable.

Condominiums in India and mode of ownership, operation

Apartments in India Condominiums in India
At least 10 different families must have bought premises within a building, to term it as an apartment building. An individual can form a condominium, as long as there are five units.
Title of land is transferred to the society. The society is the owner and the home buyers are members of this society. The individual condo buyer is the owner of the property.
The society issues shares of the society to home buyers. Upon the member’s death, the society can nominate who can take over. No concept of society shares.
There is a cap on transfer fee. There may be no cap on transfer fee and it is more flexible too.
Bylaws are strictly followed and changes to them can rarely be made. While bylaws are followed, the rules can be changed, as long as they do not violate the laws.
Every society member is entitled to one vote. Number of votes is proportionate to the premises.
The society can expel a member in worst-case scenarios. No provision of tackling a worst-case scenario with expulsion, as there are no formal rules.
In case of a dispute, based on its seriousness, the cases are heard by either the cooperative court or the registrar under the Act. In case of dispute, the court under whose jurisdiction the condominium is located, will hear the case.

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Rules to let out a condominium in India

While apartment owners in a society need to obtain the consent of the managing committee to rent out the house, the owner of a condominium can give the house on lease or leave and license, without the approval from the board of managers. They are elected by the members of the apartment owners association. The board is responsible for overseeing the affairs of the condominium.

Factors to consider when buying a condominium

  • Location and proximity to transportation and social infrastructural facilities is a crucial factor when buying a house.
  • Besides key factors like budget and location, consider your lifestyle and decide on the kind of amenities you need for a comfortable living.
  • Find out about the regulations, homeowners’ association fees and the charges to be paid for various maintenance services.

We told you that in the case of a condominium, the owner owns the unit and not the land. If the owner owns the land as well, it becomes a landominium unit.

In case the condominium owner is allowed to rent out the unit like a proper hotel, such a hybrid property may be known as a condotel.


Are condominiums the same as apartments?

To an extent, yes, condos are much like apartments but differ in terms of the ownership.

What are the other names of condominiums?

Condominiums may also be called condo, condos or even commonhold. Depending on the ownership and use, condos could also be called landominiums and condotels.

Is a condominium expensive?

Condominiums are generally more expensive than apartment units.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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