apartment building vs. apartment community

Apartment Building or Apartment Community? 5 Key Differentiators.

It’s not uncommon to hear the words “apartment building” and “apartment community” used interchangeably for this type of dwelling unit. In this article, we’ll look at the difference and explore the features that make up an apartment complex.

What is an apartment building?

An apartment building is a complex full of apartment residences. It’s simply the physical structure built by property developers.

Apartment buildings are more than simply homes, though. They contain many important rooms and features that are essential to running the complex.

two apartment house buildings with various condominiums

What are the features of an apartment building?

When you move to a new apartment, you’ll have to get to know your neighbors and the apartment community you’re joining. Here’s what you can expect to see at a typical apartment complex or building.

Leasing office

The leasing office is where the administrative tasks happen. It’s the office that your property manager works in and where you can find leases, maintenance requests and other important documents. The leasing office is also where a resident can go if they have any issues with rent or are in need of other services surrounding living units.


If your apartment building has more than one floor, the building will have a stairwell to get to the ground level. These stairwells are typically located along the edge of the building, at the end of the hall. Buildings will also have elevators as an accommodation for those who cannot use the stairwells in apartments.


The curbs surrounding apartment buildings should be well maintained and not coming apart. These will create space between the sidewalk and the road, so you can walk safely.

When you’re parking, be sure to look at the color of the curb. Concrete curbs painted red or yellow are often no-parking zones.

Street lights

Apartment complexes contain many street lamps that come on at night. This way, you can safely walk from your car to your apartment building.

Parking spaces

Apartment buildings usually have designated parking for residents and guests. If you are assigned a parking spot, it will likely have a number painted on the space so it’s easy for you to find. Apartments in major cities or urban areas usually charge an additional fee for parking.

Every apartment building will also have a few handicapped parking spaces near the complex. Parking in these spots requires a handicapped parking plaque or license plate. These spots are reserved for people who have mobility difficulties.

Patios and balconies

Patios are attached to ground-floor apartment buildings. Usually, they’re a concrete slab on which you can put outdoor furniture and plants.

If you live on an upper level, you might have a balcony which gives you some outdoor space. Even if your patio or balcony is very small, there are ways to decorate it so that you can relax and enjoy some fresh air on a nice evening.


The dumpster is where people who live in the apartment buildings can drop off their bagged garbage.

Dog waste bags

If your apartment allows for pets, they may provide dog waste bags. These bags are for your pet’s waste when you take them outside and put the trash in the dumpster when you’re finished.

only residents and their guests are allowed in the apartment building

Key card

Your key card is an electronic card that will unlock many of the common rooms and entrances of the apartment building. Examples include the security gate and fitness center. These are only issued to residents and staff and are a part of the building design to keep residents safe.

Electronic gate

The electronic gate is located at the entrance of the parking lot. These are in place for your security so only people allowed to come to the apartment can enter.

no social problems here as residents spend time in shops and common areas

What is an apartment community?

While an apartment building provides you with a place to live, an apartment community makes it feel like home. A community is alive. It’s the residents, pets, guests and staff that live and work in the complex. They’re the friends you’ll make from down the hall and the property manager who maintains your apartment building and unit. They’re the reason you’re glad you rented there instead of somewhere else.

What are the features of an apartment community?

Apartment amenities, in a residential property that encourage people to interact, will make it easier for you to get to know your neighbors and feel like part of the community. If you’re looking to live in a socially active neighborhood, look for an apartment that has some of the following features and amenities that add value to resident life.

Swimming pool

An apartment building’s swimming pool often becomes a community gathering space. In warmer climates, it can be an especially great place to hang out on a warm day.

Fitness center

Many apartment buildings include a fitness center as an amenity, although some charge a monthly fee to use the equipment. The fitness room is for residents only and requires a key card to get in. They include things like free weights, treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bicycles.

Instead of paying for a monthly gym membership and spending time driving to the gym, you can exercise in your apartment building and perhaps get to know some of your neighbors.


This is a common room in upscale apartment complexes. It will likely have a TV, a small kitchen, tables, chairs and possibly some game tables like pool or darts. Often, the property manager will allow a tenant to rent this room out for parties or special events.

Community lounge

This may be the same thing as the clubhouse. It’s a common area that’s large enough for a group to meet and relax. Some lounges have Wi-Fi and workspaces.

Pet-friendly spaces

Some apartments have designated lawn spaces for dogs and their owners to play. Apartments that offer pet-friendly housing tend to attract pet owners.

It’s easy to find some common ground with other dog lovers, so if you have a playful dog, look for a pet-friendly apartment. Some apartments will even host pet-friendly events in these designated areas, making it a great social activity for tenants (and their furry friends)!

Find an apartment building and community to suit your personality

All apartment buildings have different amenities and newer apartment listings are adding some cool modern spaces to woo new tenants and enhance resident life.

While modern features are great, to make new friends and become a part of the community, it’s important to spend some time talking to the residents before signing a lease.

high rise apartment building or office buildings in unknown location

Find your next apartment community here!

No matter where you’re looking to live, the perfect place awaits, where you can find a community to live, work and play as one of the perks that come with apartment living. Start with our extensive listing of apartment buildings and communities here.


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