Finding a place to live comes with several decisions, and deciding on a property that suits your lifestyle is the most important one. If you are looking for a temporary residential option, i.e. A rental property, you might come across a lot of options including duplex houses and flats.
There is a high chance that you will consider both options. However, it is essential to understand the basic difference between them before you proceed to make a decision about living in a duplex or a flat for rent.
In this blog Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, discusses the topic of duplex vs. flats at length.
What is a Flat?
A flat is a rental residential unit part of a house or a residential building. Typically, all of the residential units belong to a single owner. There are different types of flats in Pakistan.
You must have seen that the rise in the population has resulted in the high demand for compact apartments in Pakistan. The rental lease can be pretty flexible, and the options can range from monthly to annually. All the renters of a flat, usually have access to standard parking, gym, pool, and trash disposal.
What is a Duplex?
A building with two separate housing units is known as a duplex. Both residential units have a shared wall, and the flooring design is also the same. The units can either be built side by side or on top of one another.
The units can be accessed only through their separate entrances, and they don’t have any internal connection between them. However, the outdoor space (if any) must be shared by the tenants living in both units.
Duplex Versus Flats
There are various significant differences between a duplex and a flat, and some of them are as follows.
- Size Difference
- Structure and Design Differences
- Cost Difference
- Difference of Neighbours
- Location Difference
- Difference of Amenities
- Differences between Shared Spaces
- Landlords vs. Property Management Companies
Duplexes are more significant than flats in general. The average size of a single unit in a duplex is slightly more than 1000 sqft, where a family can reside easily. At the same time, the average size of a flat is almost 941 sqft.
Structure and Design
A duplex comprises two separate residential units built inside the same building/ structure. They have private elevators and staircases. On the other hand, flats come in various designs, where some come with many rooms while others have a completely open layout.
Some flats have a hybrid of both, with some parts being open while others are divided into rooms.
Just like any other residential property, location is one of the most important factors in determining the cost of the rent. Another factor that might affect the cost of rent is the size of the units.
The rent of a duplex might be higher than that of a flat, simply because of the fact that they are spread over more area.
Living in a duplex, you will only have one other neighbour. However, if you decide to live in a flat, you will probably have neighbors on all sides of your flat.
For example, there are a lot of flats for sale in Karachi, known for their nice neighbourhood.
In general, duplexes are found in the suburbs of the city. Whereas a flat is more likely to be found within the city center.
If you want more house-like facilities, you should opt to live in a duplex. Amenities such as porches, in-unit laundry, garages, and driveways give it a more homey feel.
As the duplex comes with only two housing units, tenants will have to share the common area with only one neighbour. However, in flats, there are lots of people living in various residential units, and all of them will have to share common spaces.
Landlords vs. Property Management Companies
Duplex houses are mostly rented out by private landowners, who also sometimes opt to live in the same property.
On the other hand, an apartment is commonly rented out by a property management company. This company oversees all aspects of each residential unit in the apartment building.
Pros of Duplex
Following are some of the advantages of living in duplexes.
As it is spread over a larger area, tenants can enjoy a spacious residential unit, living in a duplex. They can maintain their spaces as per their own style. Moreover, they can have more rooms for their guests.
Additionally, duplexes often come with front lawns and backyards where tenants can enjoy and spend quality time with their families.
Freedom to Customise
People living in a duplex, usually enjoy more freedom to customise their rental. The reason is that duplexes are mostly owned by private landlords instead of property management companies, so you can easily negotiate with them to make minor modifications to the rental unit. For instance, painting walls, hanging photo frames, etc.
Also, the residential unit is generally more spacious than that in a flat, you get to enjoy more freedom to decorate the unit as per your unique style.
In comparison to a flat, living in a duplex is more beneficial for you in terms of privacy. As you only share a wall with your neighbours, there is less chance of your privacy being invaded.
There are different ways through which you can still enjoy your privacy even in the shared spaces like the driveway, lawn, backyard etc. of a duplex.
As you are only sharing the property with one neighbour, you will have the privilege to enjoy the common areas with one other unit only. This is quite liberating, as sharing a driveway, yard or lawn with multiple people can be quite the hassle.
Co-existing with one neighbour is much better and more comfortable in comparison to living with multiple neighbours.
You will most commonly find house-like facilities in a duplex rather than in a flat. They usually come with in-built laundry, driveway, garage, backyard, and lawns which are traditionally found in single unit houses.
Cons of Living in a Duplex
Let’s talk about some downsides of living in a duplex.
Not Easily Accessible
You can not easily find duplexes in cities or urban areas. If you are looking for a residential unit in an urban area, chances are that you will find flats more easily than a duplex.
The reason is that cities are more populated than rural areas, which is why there is a scarcity of land, hence increasing their price which makes it difficult for people to build houses like duplexes that occupy a larger area of land.
Maintenance of Residential Units
The building is generally owned privately, meaning you will have to take care of the maintenance work yourself, which might take a lot of time.
Sharing Space With Landlord
A lot of landlords choose to live in one of the residential units themselves. This can be quite an uncomfortable situation for the tenants, particularly when the landlord and tenant share a strictly business relationship.
One of the many perks of living in a flat is being able to enjoy various amenities, such as a dishwasher and a cooling/heating system. These are the commonly provided facilities in flats.
Pros of Living in a Flat
Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of living in a duplex, let’s talk about the advantages of living in a flat.
In urban areas, you can easily find flat. Flats are ideal for tenants who come from far-off places to live in the city for work or study-related purposes.
Generally, living in a flat is more affordable in comparison to a duplex. The reason is that they are usually smaller in size, resulting in a lower cost of the rent.
One big advantage of living in a flat is that you do not have to worry about things such as maintenance. It is mostly taken care of by the company that owns the building.
Cons of Living in a flat
Here are some of the disadvantages of living in a flat.
Small Size in General
The average size of a flat is generally smaller than that of a duplex. For those of you who are looking for a spacious residential unit, living in a flat might not be a good choice.
More Rules and Regulations
Most flats come with strict rules as compared to duplexes. Sometimes, the owners of flats forbid the tenants to paint walls, keep pets etc. This can hinder tenants from customising their units.
Living in a flat, you are surrounded by so many neighbours, which ultimately leads to more noise. Nobody enjoys living in noisy places, however, for those who are especially sensitive to noise, living in a flat can be quite tough.
As we know that a flat has multiple residential units, which are occupied by multiple tenants, and this feature leads to less privacy for everyone living there.
In the shared spaces outside your residential unit, you have to be mindful of your neighbours.
We have discussed the difference between both duplexes and flats, and their pros and cons separately at length. Now, whether you go for a flat for rent or a duplex is something you should decide after a thorough evaluation of all the above-mentioned factors.
For more blogs on related topics, visit Graana.com, Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace.
Q: Are there any differences in privacy between duplexes and flats?
Yes, there are differences in privacy between duplexes and flats. In a duplex, since each floor is a separate living space, there is generally more privacy between the two levels. Each floor may have its own rooms, living areas, and bathrooms, allowing occupants to have distinct private spaces.
Flats, however, are typically designed as single-level units and may share walls with neighboring flats. While efforts are made to ensure privacy in flats through soundproofing and well-designed layouts, the level of privacy can vary depending on the construction and design of the building.
Q: Which option typically offers more living space, a duplex or a flat?
In terms of living space, duplexes generally offer more square footage compared to flats. Since duplexes occupy two floors within a building, they provide the opportunity for larger living areas, multiple bedrooms, and potentially more bathrooms.
This additional space is advantageous for families or individuals who require more room or prefer a multi-level living arrangement. Flats, being single-level units, may have limited floor space, especially in buildings with multiple units where space needs to be divided among the individual flats.
Q: How do the costs of duplexes and flats compare?
The cost of a duplex versus a flat can vary depending on various factors such as location, size, amenities, and market conditions. In general, duplexes tend to be more expensive than flats due to their larger size and potential for more private space.
Additionally, duplexes may be perceived as offering more exclusivity and privacy, which can impact their pricing. Flats, being smaller and often part of a larger building complex, usually have a lower price range compared to duplexes. However, it’s important to note that real estate prices can vary significantly based on the local housing market.
Q: Can the terms “duplex” and “flat” be used interchangeably?
No, the terms “duplex” and “flat” cannot be used interchangeably as they refer to different types of residential units. A duplex specifically indicates a dwelling spread over two floors within a single building, while a flat refers to a self-contained housing unit within a larger building, typically occupying a single floor. It’s important to use these terms correctly to avoid confusion when describing or searching for specific types of properties.
Q: Can a duplex be converted into a flat or vice versa?
A: In some cases, it may be possible to convert a duplex into flats or vice versa, but it depends on the specific building structure and local regulations.