I've been looking for a place to stay for a longer period in Bangkok and am currently renting through Airbnb. I have a had a look at some property websites and contacted a few property companies.

One thing that's bugging me is that I can't really get a clear answer as to what the difference between a condo and an apartment is. I'm from a non-English speaking European country, so I guess that adds to the confusion a bit since I'm used to having just one word for this kind of thing :)

One popular explanation I've gotten is you buy a condo, but you rent an apartment but obviously it's not correct since there are condos out there for rent. The other day I got the explanation you can buy a condo or rent it from someone who has bought it, but an apartment you always rent directly from the property. This one makes a little bit more sense. Until I heard from a friend of mine that sometimes properties rent some of their "rooms" (whatever they're called) directly to consumers, but still call them condos.

What is a clear explanation of the difference?

While we're on the subject - how do rents, fees and other costs work?

I've seen some properties have a "building maintenance fee" that you're supposed to pay in addition to your monthly rent, while others don't.

And suppose one buys a condo, what would need to be paid on an ongoing basis?

Is there like a "rent" even if you bought the place (other than the obvious electricity, water, wifi, cable etc.)?

2 Answers 2


From the perspective of a tourist there is virtually no difference. You rent both and the price will be fixed by the renter. You will either pay the renter directly or a third-party which handles the exchange for a fee.

In the case of a condo, you would normally rent it from the owner since a condo is usually bought as you mention. This can make the terms of rental more flexible since you would be negotiation with the owner with some limitations provided by local law. It is possible though with a website like AirBnB that someone renting a condo could be renting part of their rent to you, in which case it would be just like an apartment for renting purposes.

For an apartment, you are usually renting from someone who has a rental agreement with the owner of the property who may impose restrictions on potential rental agreement. Some localities impose restrictions which may force you do deal with the owner and even pass a credit-check of interview with that person or entity.

These are not the only possibilities, one can rent part of a condo from an owner, part of an apartment from a renter or even an apartment from a building owner. In the end, it should really not matter much to you unless you have unusual use for what you are renting such as using it for business or to film a movie, etc.

In any case you should get the rules from the renter with regards to anything which concerns you such as rules about noise, additional guests, pets, food, etc.

The rest of you sub-questions have little to do with traveling. Rental feels can be structured any way, from one price per time slice to - as you mention - price per time plus additional fees (maintenance, facility, access, internet, security are the most common). People who buy condos usually pay a fee per month which goes into a fund which is used to take care of the exterior and parts shared by all properties such as doorways, elevators, pools, common areas, garden (and snow removal in places like Montreal where it snows regularly, you shouldn't see this one in Bangkok but thought I would list it for completeness).


From a Thailand perspective of condo versus apartment rentals, a condo will be a privately owned unit being rented out by the owner either directly or through a company which provides rental management services. An apartment will be units within an apartment complex which are being rented out by the apartment management.

As a general practice in Thailand rental apartments are not allowed to be sub-leased. So any "apartments" for rent are almost always from the apartment building manager.

Thai apartments as a general rule are quite spartan in terms of decor, furnishings and appliances. Condos tend to be more western oriented with nicer decor, kitchen appliances, better furnishings. And these differences are usually reflected in the costs.

Most Thai type apartments come primarily with monthly fees for utilities (power, water, internet, TV) but not much in terms of community fees (those fixed costs are usually figured into the rent already). Condo buildings often have community fees which cover things like security, grounds cleaning & landscaping, pool maintenance, garbage. Community fees in condos are ongoing for as long as the services are provided.

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