Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter

All of these do fall under the umbrella of being ‘one of multiple, self-contained dwellings in a single building’. However, each has its own definition:

Flat – a flat consists of one level (flat) storey, accessed via a communal entrance. You may have also come across the term ‘purpose-built’ flat – this is a flat in a building that was built purposely as flats, whereas a ‘converted’ flat is the opposite – it sits in a building not originally intended as flats but converted at a later date.

Apartment – stemming from American English, an apartment is also accessed via a communal entrance but unlike a flat, can be split over two floors. They’re usually better appointed and considered more luxurious than a standard flat.

Maisonette – these are set over two floors and have their own access from the street, either directly or via a private outdoor staircase. Maisonettes don’t usually share communal areas and are often, but not always, larger than flats.

There are other variants too:

Bedsit – this is a single unit which typically shares a bathroom and sometimes a kitchen, with others who live within the building.

Studio flat – a studio flat is a self-contained, multi-purpose room in which the living, kitchen and bedroom areas occupy one space, with a separate bathroom.

Duplex apartment – another American English term describing what is essentially a maisonette with two floors, although generally used for more modern buildings.

Penthouse – the top floor of a building, often the most luxurious and the most expensive apartment/flat in the building.

There are some variations, for example, some single-level ‘flats’ are distinguished as maisonettes by having their own separate door to the outside, and in Scotland, a maisonette may also refer to a two-storey apartment with a common entrance – we would describe this as a split-level/duplex apartment.

If we can help any further, give us a call on 01392 204800, and good luck in finding your new home!

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