What is a Duplex and Should You Rent One?

by | i-Stories, Property Trend, Rental Trend

Real estate terminology can be a real headache. Even if you’ve decided to look for an apartment, there are still variations like single apartments, studios, high-rise, duplexes and so on. In all the confusion, you might be wondering if a duplex is right for you, which begs the question – What exactly is a duplex, and should you rent one? 

Read on to find out what qualifies as this specific apartment type, and the pros and cons of renting one. 

What is a Duplex?

What is a Duplex

Often listed under “multi-family dwelling”, a duplex is a two-family home with two units in one building. The configuration could be stacked vertically or side by side. Both units in a duplex will have separate entrances and sometimes their own outdoor spaces and garages, the two living areas share a common wall. 

Duplex apartments are becoming more popular among close and extended families. Then there are triplexes and quadplexes, which are about the same, only with more units.

How is it different from other apartments?

The primary difference between a duplex and an apartment, condo or townhouse is its ownership. Most of the time, duplex apartments are owned by a landlord who rents out one or both units while they live elsewhere. This can be useful to landlords in saving monthly mortgage expenses. 

Condos and townhouses often share walls as well, but only the interior of a unit belongs to the owner. On the other hand, the exterior and outdoor amenities are usually owned by the homeowner’s association (HOA) and require maintenance fees from unit owners.

As for regular apartments, these are known as multi-family buildings consisting of many units owned by one person, a corporation or a group of investors. 

Should you rent a duplex?

Should you rent a duplex

There are many benefits to renting in a duplex, as it is often more affordable than single-family homes. Although you may be living next to another family, you will still have the same privacy as a typical residential home. 

Pros of renting a duplex:

  • Live in a higher-value location

Since renting a duplex may be more affordable than an apartment, this allows you to rent in a more desirable location. If both units are available, you may even search for your own neighbours to live with.

  • Lower living expenses

With neighbours come shared costs, such as an in-unit washer and dryer. You can also save money on maintenance for yard work, clean-ups, shared space upkeep and other necessary expenses.

  • Living with only one unit 

Renting a duplex means you only have to share common spaces with one other unit. If you’re lucky and your neighbours are relatives or people that you know, it’s a plus to be living close to them.

Cons of renting a duplex:

  • Terrible neighbours

You may be unlucky and end up with neighbours you don’t get along with; it can lead to issues while sharing communal space. For example, if your neighbour does not clean up after themselves or neglect their yard, it becomes a mess and eyesore for everyone involved.

  • Increased responsibilities 

Since duplex apartments are often privately owned, most of the maintenance work is left to you. You may have to do your own yard work, gardening and tidying up, or add expenses by hiring someone to do it for you. 

Now that we’ve gone over the pros and cons of renting a duplex, it’s up to you to further explore your options and decide if a duplex is the right fit. Ask yourself if you’re the kind of person who can live harmoniously with neighbours in such close quarters. 

After all, finding the right place to build a home is a huge milestone in anyone’s life.

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