Multi-family house

What is a Multi-Family House?

Multi-family housing is a kind of housing that has more than one unit for people to live in. These units could be in one building or in many buildings in the same community. Units could be subsequent to each other (side-by-side units) or on top of each other (top and bottom units). 

Rather than owners, tenants often occupy these buildings, sometimes living in different configurations than single-family houses. They usually have common walls, floors, utilities, and parking with their neighbors. Sharing common areas like yards is also prevalent among multiple dwellings.

What is the difference between a condo and a multi-family?

Condos, an abbreviation for “condominium,” are apartments owned separately from the structure in which they are located. Individual homeowners own their condo units inside a bigger building or community. Condominium owners own their apartments while managing and maintaining communal facilities like lobbies, pools, and gyms. Condominium owners also pay monthly or annual dues to the homeowners association (HOA) or condominium corporation (Condo Corp.) for the upkeep and administration of common spaces.

Multi-family properties, on the other hand, are those that have multiple homes created for individual families. These homes may be owned by private parties or made public for rent. Apartment complexes may include dozens or also hundreds of units, although multi-family homes can be as small as a duplex. In a multi-family building, every apartment or unit is basically its own house, with its front door, bunch of utilities, and, in many cases, its lease.

Distinctive features of condominiums and apartment buildings:

1. Administration and Governance

The condo organization or HOA sets a condo’s rules and regulations. The condo association is in charge of the upkeep of the shared facilities, enforcing laws and regulations, collecting condo fees, and making any major decisions that impact the whole building. However, the owner or a property management firm is usually responsible for overseeing the operations of a multi-family building. The owner or management company handles leasing, maintenance, repairs, and tenant relations.

2. Facilities and Neighborhood

Condominium associations often own and care for communal amenities, including swimming pools, fitness centers, party rooms, and outdoor areas. All condo residents and their visitors are welcome to utilize these facilities. It is up to the individual property owner to decide what amenities to provide in their multi-family dwelling. Some multi-family buildings may include shared facilities like laundry rooms and common spaces, while others won’t.

3. Living Experiences

Condominiums are popular because of the sense of community they foster. Condominium associations often provide social activities and common areas where residents may get to know one another. The emphasis on individual apartments and rental agreements may result in a more diversified mix of tenants and a less shared living experience in bigger multi-family homes.

How many multifamily house units are there in the US?

Approximately 21.2 million apartment buildings existed in the United States as of the 2019 ACS. It’s important to remember that this number incorporates single-family homes and duplexes, triplexes, and larger multifamily complexes.