Co-ops, condos, apartments - Who cleans what?


In many major cities around the U.S. there are a number of different housing arrangements. Within a single block of buildings, you may have apartments, condominiums and co-op housing all next to one another. If you manage, live in or are a member of the managing board one of these buildings it’s critical to know what your responsibilities are and where the tenants need to take over.

Explore the differences between each of these housing situations and how each affects daily cleaning and scheduled maintenance.


A co-op, short for cooperative, is similar to a condominium, but it functions differently. With a condo, a person buys the apartment the same way they’d buy a house. They legally own the interior of the space, while still existing as part of a larger structure. In a co-op, every person who lives there buys into the building as a stockholder thus becoming their own landlords and building managers, Cooperator explained.

“In co-ops everybody are landlords together.”

Because the co-op is run by the people living in the building, co-ops are often able to create their own bylaws and rules. Cooperator explained that a typical New York co-op will take care of repairs and cleaning in common spaces, such as the stairs, while work inside a tenant’s apartment would be done by them. Some co-ops will conduct repairs to apartments and receive reimbursement afterward. Legal requirements for the responsibilities of a co-op board may vary based on municipality.

Usually co-op boards are responsible for roof and drainage repairs, exterior and window cleaning, HVAC repairs, and maintaining the lobby and grounds of the building. The board can create various rules to deal with regular cleaning and maintenance. Consider contacting Clean and Polish Building Solutions to make cleaning simple and keep each shareholder happy.

Keep your building clean and well-maintained. Keep your building clean and well-maintained.

Condos function similarly to co-ops, but instead of getting stock in the building, a person buys and owns their apartment, just like they would a house in the suburbs. Although they don’t own shares in the building, condo members are similarly interested in maintaining their building and keeping it clean. Not only will it enhance their quality of life, but it can help boost their apartment’s value and their investment.

Most condo buildings have associations that collect dues to pay for maintenance and other expenses, so that residents don’t have to worry about whether their common spaces will be clean. These condo associations or building management companies are responsible for maintaining everything outside of the interior of a condominium from the stairways, elevators and trash chutes to the roof and the pipes in the walls. The only aspects outside of these common areas that condo associations are usually required to clean are the windows.

Condo associations can hire Clean and Polish Building Solutions to maintain spotless windows, a clean exterior and the condo owners’ investment. Condos are typically governed by a document that people sign when they join the association. Make sure yours covers all the necessary cleaning and maintenance.

Apartments may be the simplest for tenants, but the most complex for landlords and building managers. Because the tenant doesn’t own the space they’re living in, all of the responsibilities fall onto the building owner, from the common areas to the interior of the apartments.

As a building manager, the two most important jobs are to keep tenants happy and to protect the building from damage. Make sure you invest in regular maintenance and cleaning to make sure everyone gets what they want. Laws typically govern how and where landlords need to take responsibility.