Apartment complex vs apartment house vs tenement house etc.

< Previous | Next >

MettP

New Member
Czech
Hello, I would like to ask what is the right expression to say that someone owns a whole apartment building, where he rents apartments (the building was built especially for this purpose).

I know "apartment complex" is often used, but it sounds strange to me, I imagine a complex of more buildings when I hear "complex". Would a tenement house fit better? Or is apartment building all right? Maybe there is also difference between British and American English...

Some languages have special expressions for this type of houses, for example in German it is "Zinshaus" or "Miethaus", but I just can't figure out how it is in English...
 
  • MettP

    New Member
    Czech
    Thank you, in my case apartment building should be right. But still, I feel like it is not exactly the expression I'm looking for, it doesn't stress that the building was build for the purpose of renting the flats, not selling them. Is it possible that an expression for this simply doesn't exist in English? It might be difference in culture, in Central Europe it was very common in the 19th and first half of the 20th century to build such houses, but still it is surprising to me...
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In England and Wales (but not Scotland) many blocks of flats were built in the 19th century which were leased by the owner to a leaseholder on a long-term basis, often for decades. The leaseholder can sell the lease, but does not own the flat. The leasehold system still exists and is controversial.

    They might be referred to as a block of leasehold flats, if the form of tenure was important, but otherwise there is no special word for them.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    In North American English, the expression "apartment building" does not necessarily indicate whether the apartments were meant to be rented or to be sold. It could be either one.

    Other words, such as "a condo" (for "condominium") are sometimes used for an apartment that is owned by the residents. So it is often - but not always - true that in what is called an "apartment building" the individual units are rented.
     
    Last edited:

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Here in my part of Canada we would not use tenement; that word suggests 19th century slum housing (look up the Tenement Museum in New York).

    We would call this an apartment building if it was rentals

    If the exact same building was individually owned suites then we would call it a condominium. Many condo buildings in our city were built as rental apartments in the 1960s and 1970s, then sold as condos in the 1990s. There is no structural or visual way of distinguishing them other than looking to see if they have a "suite for sale" versus a "suite for rent" sign on the front lawn
     
    I would refer to the person who owns a multiple dwelling that has rental apartments as the landlord.

    My landlord sent me a letter saying that the elevator will be out of service on Tuesday afternoon to allow repair work to be done.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... If the exact same building was individually owned suites then we would call it a condominium. Many condo buildings in our city were built as ...
    The word "condominium" causes a lot of misunderstandings. It describes a form of legal ownership, not a type of building.

    The problem arises because, in some regions, all or nearly all units that are owned this way are in the same type of building. For example, in New York City - and perhaps in Ponyprof's part of Canada - virtually all condominiums are in the form of apartments. Many New Yorkers make the (erroneous) assumption that a condominium must be an apartment. In suburban Boston, by contrast, virtually all condominiums are built as what might be called townhouses - individual units with separate entrances and common side walls. Many people from that area make the equally erroneous assumption that a condominium must be a townhouse. I overheard one conversation a few years ago that nearly became a serious argument because both people had different regional understandings of what a condominium is.

    The fact is that any kind of building, or group of buildings, that contains more than one dwelling unit can be owned as condominiums. It would be best not to use this word to describe a type of structure.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Normal use where I live for what you describe is an apartment building. It's built to be rented out. It's a single building.

    Two or more apartment buildings in the same place run by the same company (usually a company) that are operated as a single business entity would be an apartment complex. It frequently has some sort of fencing around it limiting access to outsiders. An apartment building wouldn't generally have that. It would just be on a normal street.
     

    Jektor

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    If apartment buildings are being discussed, you could say "it's a rental block" or a "rental property", or "rental complex", meaning that the building consists of apartments (flats) intended to be rented out, not sold.
    google.as - q=rental+block
    .
     

    Gryphonisle

    New Member
    English
    Hello, I would like to ask what is the right expression to say that someone owns a whole apartment building, where he rents apartments (the building was built especially for this purpose).

    I know "apartment complex" is often used, but it sounds strange to me, I imagine a complex of more buildings when I hear "complex". Would a tenement house fit better? Or is apartment building all right? Maybe there is also difference between British and American English...

    Some languages have special expressions for this type of houses, for example in German it is "Zinshaus" or "Miethaus", but I just can't figure out how it is in English...
    Apartment (house, building, complex, American usage): An apartment is a rented residential unit of several rooms, with a bath (although not always counting the bath in the number of rooms, a 3 room apartment is kitchen, living room, bedroom, with a bath not counted). It can be grouped into a variety of buildings in both urban and suburban settings; size determines what you call it. And, the purpose can change from the as built designation, apartments can be sold as condos, tenancies in common, co-ops; local rules and tax law being the deciding factor in which one.

    Apartment houses tend to be small, even a large house or mansion cut up and rented by the room or groups of rooms; or built as a small number of apartments, perhaps one per floor (flats). Apartment buildings are larger structures, think the Dakota in NYC, a classic large apartment building. Some of these were also apartment hotels—-separate and full residential units, but once offering hotel services such as linens and dining. And, as you suggest, a complex is a group of buildings. An apartment complex can be a small group of low slung buildings in Suburbia, or a huge group of buildings both low slung and mid-rise, in suburbia; in urban areas, a group of tall towers, all renting apartments.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top