Types of Housing - University of Houston
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Types of Housing


A freestanding unit with no shared walls. It usually with a yard and a driveway, and often has a garage. Houses are usually owned by the person who lives there. There may be some houses available to be rented.


An apartment is a rented individual dwelling unit within a building consisting of a room or set of rooms. Most apartments are part of complexes, although one occasionally finds an individual apartment over a garage or a separate part of a house for rent. Most apartments are unfurnished, although furnished apartments are available. Apartments range in a number of bedrooms from efficiencies, which are basically a combined living room and bedroom with a kitchen area and a bathroom, to one-, two-, and three-bedrooms. Sizes range from just over 300 square feet to well over 2,000 square feet, with 650-700 square feet being average. An apartment may have a porch or balcony, but usually, that is the only “private” “outdoor” space. Most apartment complexes in Houston are two or three stories high, and the apartments have a door that opens directly to the outside. There will usually be shared grounds around the complex, and there may be amenities on the grounds such as a pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. Apartments usually have one-year leases, although some complexes offer six- or nine-month leases. A few will allow tenants to go month-to-month, but there is usually an extra charge for this, and sometimes, it is only available as an extension on a lease.

High-rise apartment

This is an apartment located in a complex that has more than three stories, and the apartments usually open onto a hallway. There usually are no grounds around the complex, although there may be an indoor atrium or gym. Some high-rise apartments have balconies; others do not. High-rises are often more expensive than other apartments and may have added security and/or a concierge or other added services.


An apartment that is owned by an individual, rather than rented. In Texas, in order for an apartment unit to be eligible to be sold as a condominium, it must meet special building codes, such as the presence and thickness of firewalls, etc.


This is usually a two- or three-story unit that shares at least one wall with a similar unit. It may have a very small yard, or there may only be a porch or patio. Townhouses may be owned by an individual (like a condominium) or rented from an apartment complex (like an apartment). In Texas, to be called a townhouse, a unit must meet special building codes.


Two housing units that share a common wall, but are freestanding otherwise (like two houses joined). Each unit has a separate entrance. They may be one- or two-story. Often, there is at least a small shared yard. Often, the landlord lives in one unit and rents the other.


Four housing units that share common walls, but are freestanding otherwise. Usually, there are two units on the first story and two on the second story.

Corporate Apartment or Suite

This is a fully furnished (including dishes and cooking utensils) apartment that can be rented for a short time, usually by the week or month. The cost is usually higher than renting an apartment, but lower than renting a hotel or motel room. Unlike a hotel or motel room, corporate apartments usually have a kitchen and a living room. They are usually in separate complexes of their own, but some standard apartment complexes also rent corporate apartments. If you are only going to be here a few weeks or months, you may wish to consider this option.

Hotel or Motel

If you are only going to stay for a few days or one or two weeks, you may wish to stay at a hotel or motel. They usually charge by the night, but some offer weekly rates. Per-night charges vary considerably from place to place, and also by the time of year. At a minimum, they will offer maid service; some also have room service. The University has a hotel on campus, which can be accessed through their website at HRM. If you are staying longer than two weeks, you would probably find another option cheaper.