Apartment Community or Apartment Complex: What’s the Difference?

An apartment complex is a building full of apartment homes. It is simply the physical structure. Apartment complexes are more than simply homes though. They contain many important rooms and features that are essential to running the complex.

The complex will provide you with a place to live but the apartment community will make it feel like home.  The apartment community is alive. It is the residents, pets, guests, and staff that live and work in the complex. They are the friends you’ll make from down the hall and the property manager who maintains your apartment unit.

What are the features of an apartment complex?

When you move to a new apartment, you’ll have get to know your neighbors and the apartment community you are joining but here’s what you can expect to see at the apartment complex:

Leasing office – The leasing office is where the administrative tasks happen. It is the office that your property manager works in. This is where you can find leases, maintenance requests, and other important documents.

Stairwell – if your complex has more than one floor you 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.

Curbs – The curbs 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 are parking, be sure the look at the color of the curb. 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.

Parking spaces – Apartment complexes will usually have designated parking for tenants 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.

Patios – Patios are attached to bottom floor apartment homes. Usually, a concrete slab which you can put outdoor furniture and plants on.

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

Dog waste bag – 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. These bags can be put in the dumpster when you are finished.

Key card – your key card is an electronic card that will unlock many of the common rooms and entrances of the complex. Examples include the security gate and fitness center. These are only issued to residents and staff.

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 complex can enter.

Clubhouse – This is a common room in the complex. It will likely have a TV, small kitchen, tables, chairs and possibly some game tables like pool. Often, the manager will allow residents to rent this room out for events.

Handicap parking – All apartment complexes will have a few handicap parking spaces near the building. Parking in these spots requires a handicap parking plaque or license plate. These spots are reserved for people who have mobility difficulties.

Fitness center – many complexes will include a fitness center as an amenity. They are for residents only and require a key card to get in. They include things like free weights, treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bicycles.

Community lounge – this may be the same thing as the clubhouse at the complex. It is a common area for you to meet with your neighbors and relax.


Apartment Security Deposits Explained

The Ultimate Guide to Renting Your First Apartment

Setting Up Utilities in a New Apartment


This article fits under the following categories:

Bekah SteenbockBekah Steenbock is a freelance writer with a background in real estate and business growth. She is a native Austinite, but has called Seattle, Mankato,Milwaukee, Las Vegas and Atlanta home. Bekah, her husband and their three children love exploring the outdoors in their spare time.

Recent Articles

All of Chicago is perfect for pictures, but there are some spots that reign above the others.

Worried about making rent due to the coronavirus? A rent deferral agreement can help.