People often refer to all buildings as either apartments or condos. When you look at a building from the outside apartments and condominium buildings are indistinguishable. Take for example the comparison on the left. Both The Madison and Grand 39 Tower are located in the same area, have similar unit types, pricing and quality yet the Madison is a condo and Grand 39 is an apartment. While the terms can be interchangeable in most instances there is one big difference. Apartment buildings are owned by a single person or often a corporation while condominium buildings are made up of any number of individually owned units (condos).
What are the Differences between Bangkok Condos & Apartments?
For the most part, living in a quality condo unit and a quality apartment in Bangkok will give you the exact same quality of life. The primary difference is that with condominium units there is a huge variety of the level of furniture, decoration, maintenance and design. Since every unit is owned by a different individual, it depends on how much money the owner put into the unit to make it stand out from the other 100s of units in the building. The available units in Apartments on the other hand are more consistent. Since the entire apartment building is owned by a single entity, most of the time all the rooms in the building will be of the same quality, style and furnished similarly. The common grounds are usually maintained better in apartments as well.
Condominiums from major real estate developers such as Raimon Land, Sansiri, Noble and Major Development to name a few are more likely to be well maintained as they tend to spend the money on quality management companies, made more money selling the project and have their good reputation to keep up. Property developers from smaller, lesser prolific developers have a reputation for not doing the best job of maintaining common areas of condominiums. The reason for this is because once the buildings are sold out, the condominium must fund the maintenance with the common fees paid by the condo owners. When larger and/or expensive problems arise, it is up to the pool individual owners to pay for the maintenance/improvements of the building. As time goes by the small developers in addition to the condo owners become more and more removed from the project and less willing to put money into it as other new projects become available.
This cycle causes many older condominium buildings to become run down quite quickly. Apartments seldom have this problem as usually the family or corporation running them has incentive to keep everything about their building well maintained and up-to-date so they can keep the occupancy full and continue to generate the rental income. Because of these issues apartments are less likely to become rundown and less desirable.
Renting a Condo vs. Renting an Apartment
Although the process is almost exactly the same, there are subtle differences when you rent an apartment or a condo in Bangkok. The first thing you will notice is apartments usually require payment for utilities directly to the building. This includes electricity, water, internet and cable television. While electricity is based on usage, apartment buildings in Bangkok often charge a set fee for water which is around 1000 baht per month or more which equals about 10 times greater than the usage rates you pay while living in a condo. Paying bills in a condo most often involves a little more difficulty as you are usually responsible for setting up the utilities in your own name. You will have to pay monthly rent to your landlord directly and pay each utility company individually. Fortunately technology has made this very convenient and easy as you can pay most bills at any 7-eleven convenient store. One advantage to living in an apartment is the maintenance. If something goes wrong with your rental and you live in a condo, you will need to contact your owner who in turn will need to contact repair repair men which may or not be in your building while in apartments maintance is usually internally so any problems will be fixed quicker in apartments.
Condominium vs. Apartments on Thailand PLS
Since many people refer to any building which people live as condos and apartments, we grouped all of them together as condo/apartment on the website. Since renting a condominium or apartment involves generally the same process, it does not make a difference to renters. Conversely, by law (permits obtained before building) apartment buildings cannot sell individual units. If they are to be sold, the entire building must be sold, therefore all sales units you see in condos/apartments on the site are condominium buildings.