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What is a duplex?

A duplex is a term for a house with two units. Typically you’ll see this as one apartment on the first floor, and another apartment on the second floor. However you’ll sometimes see some duplexes side-by-side like townhomes would be, usually each having a first and second floor of their own.

Why is it called a duplex?

Taken from the Latin words duo and plex, meaning “two” and “having parts/units” respectively. Essentially, it means a house with two units, just as a triplex means a house with three units.

What are the advantages of renting in a duplex?

Duplexes often are smaller than single-family homes of the same neighborhood, however this typically means you pay less in rent to live there. Other advantages might exist if you know then tenants occupying the other unit. It’s not uncommon for groups of friends to approach a landlord with a vacant duplex to want to rent both at the same time so they can live close to their friends.

What are the disadvantages of renting in a duplex?

The biggest disadvantages of renting in a duplex have to do with sharing the same property. You’re more likely to hear your neighbors you share a wall with to the top/bottom/side of your apartment than in a single family, however it always depends on who the neighbors are and which floor you occupy.

For example, you’re much more likely to hear your neighbors (or their pets) walking around if you live on the first floor and they live on the second floor, just like in an apartment building. Other examples are loud music, arguments, cooking/cleaning, singing in the shower, dogs barking, etc.

Other disadvantages of sharing a duplex include shared spaces, such as yards, driveways, basements, laundry, etc. Sometimes a lease might specify which tenant(s) may occupy a driveway or garage space. If your landlord provides a washer/dryer in a shared basement, you have to be courteous and timely with your own use of the machines or risk the other tenants removing your clothes when the machine is done.

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