Difference Between Flat and Apartment (Flat vs Apartment)

January 5th, 2024


Living in high rises in the middle of a fast-paced city is enticing to most people. When it comes to living amidst an array of amenities crafted for all age groups, the unanimous choice is an apartment or a flat. Is there a difference between an apartment and a flat or do people just use it interchangeably? Read on to find out how these two terms came about and what they mean.

What is a Flat?

The word ‘flat’ is derived from the Scottish word ‘flet’, which implies a storey of a house, and from the Old English word known as ‘flett’, meaning dwelling/hall.

What is an Apartment?

The word apartment comes from a mix of French, Italian, and Latin. The French word, ‘appartement’ means private rooms within a house, that can be used by an individual or a family. The Italian word ‘appartamento’ means separate place, whereas ‘partem’ in Latin is essentially a piece or division. All of these together makes the word apartment.

What is the Difference Between a Flat and An Apartment?

The difference between a flat and an apartment is thin, and the usage is largely dependent on the region. For example, ‘apartment’ is a term more common among Americans while the British prefer to call it a ‘flat’.

Flat vs Apartment – by Definition

Flat, as per British English, means a set of rooms forming an individual residence, typically on one floor and within a larger building. Together they are also called a block of flats.

The term apartment is preferred by Americans since it often gives an impression of luxury. It means a set of rooms designed as a residence generally in a building that is occupied by more than one household and could even be spread across two floors. The British usually use the word apartment more commonly in real estate and architectural circles.

Flat vs Apartment – by Language

Flat: Used prominently in British English
Apartment: Used mainly in American English

Flat vs Apartment – by Target Group

Sometimes, a flat can be associated with middle-class living, depending on the geography.
An apartment has a more luxurious connotation and caters to a more indulgent audience.

Flat vs Apartment – by Features

Flats generally have all the basic amenities in place to allow the residents to live comfortably.
Apartments, however, come with luxury living as well as numerous amenities.

Flat vs Apartment – by Storeys

Flats: generally, on one level.
Apartments: generally, on two levels. A duplex automatically is considered an apartment.

Difference between a Flat and an Apartment

By the definitions detailed above, a flat is a term that is often used to address affordable housing which is at a lower price point. Apartments are regarded as the more luxurious variant that could be available to various classes of income and can extend beyond one storey. However, in the Indian context, we often use these terms interchangeably.

What should you buy?

Understanding your requirements is of utmost importance before you set out to buy your very own home. Whether it is for your use or an investment option etc., are valuable points for consideration.

Difference between an Apartment and a Condo

The main difference between an apartment and a condo lies in the ownership of the property, although they may have the same look and feel. The apartment is usually rented while a condo is owned. The owner of the condo is then expected to make regular payments to the Homeowner’s Association.

In India, apartment owners/tenants also pay maintenance charges to the Resident Welfare Associations, towards the smooth functioning of their society.

Pros and Cons of Buying an Apartment or a Flat in India

Apartments/Flats come with a bouquet of benefits, and they are:

  • Security

    You have nothing to worry about the safety and security of you and your family members at all times. The round-the-clock security through guards as well as CCTV ensure that your little ones are safe in the play area and the corridor. All in all, gated communities are excellent for people of all age groups.

  • Host of Amenities

    From the swimming pool to the gym, apartments come with many amenities, making it easy for you to access them within. Your children have an excellent playground while their grandparents have a lush park or reflexology trail to keep them engaged.

  • Advanced Interpersonal Skills

    With so many people living around, your children grow up with excellent interpersonal skills. You too can choose to catch up with your friends at the park or enjoy your own company, all at your convenience.

  • Tax Benefits

    Owning a property and availing a home loan translates to huge tax benefits. This is one of the right kinds of investments that help you save big while reaping the benefits.

The only disadvantage of an apartment is that you cannot customise it as you would, an individual house. You are limited to customising the look of your home with the help of home furnishings or home décor items, but you cannot change the size of your living room. You may have been able to do this if you were constructing your house on a plot of land you own.

Read More- Top 5 Advantages of Buying a House Than Leasing

Tips for Buying a Flat or an Apartment

  • Decide on a budget and stick to it. Your knowledge of how much you’d like to spend on your perfect home is essential to make the whole process smoother. At the end of it, you will not be biting more than you can chew. Hence, this is the most important step in your journey of buying your home.
  • Ask questions regarding the carpet area, super built-up area, etc. For an in-depth understanding of these terms, click here.
  • Check with the banks for loan approvals.
  • Do a legal check and ask for all the right papers about approvals from the concerned authorities.
  • Make an agreement with the builder once you’ve paid the token amount.






1. Is an apartment and a flat the same?

An apartment is a more commonly used American term for a cluster of rooms that could be over one floor. A flat is a British term for a set of rooms that forms a residence within one floor.

2. Is a flat the same as an apartment?

While most people use these two terms interchangeably, flat is a British term and apartment is an American term.

3. Why is an apartment called a flat?

In India, we use these two terms interchangeably because they both essentially have the same meaning. However, a flat leans towards British English and an apartment leans towards American English.

4. Is a flat better than an apartment?

To decide if one is better than the other, you must first consider many aspects – the main one being the budget. You can find your ideal property when you have decided on the budget, locality, amenities you’d prefer having etc.

5. Why is it called a flat and not apartment?

In British English, a flat is spread over one floor and has a set of rooms. The word flat is derived from the Old English word called ‘flet’, making it a more preferred and common term in the UK.

6. What is considered a flat?

A flat is a set of rooms within a larger building that forms a society.

7. What is the difference between a flat and a condo?

Flat and condo are the same thing – a set of rooms that is on one floor.

8. What is the difference between a condo and an apartment?

A condo is often on one floor while an apartment could have multiple storeys.

You might also like