Why Americans Don’t Call Apartments ‘Flats’

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Whether you’re American or British, you’ll understand the term ‘home’. Everyone uses it to refer to where you live no matter what type of property you are in. But specific homes may have different terms. Ever wondered about the term ‘flats’ and why it’s used in UK and rarely in the USA.

What are Flats and Apartments?

Why Americans Don't Call Apartments Flats | Apartment Hallway | www.phillyaptrentals.com

First, when the British refer to flats it’s really synonymous with our use of the term ‘apartments’ groups of multi-family housing units within a larger building. The only difference is the word flat is commonly used in British English and the word apartment is more popular in American English. The exact etymology is debatable, but over time, local dialects generate specific language. It’s sort of like Football and Soccer.

Want to know some other differences between housing terms used in American and British English? Here are some examples:

  • In American English, an ‘apartment building’ is common, whereas it is referred to as a ‘block of flats’ in British English.
  • A ‘Condo’ in American English is often referred to as an ‘owner-occupied flat’ in British English.
  • A ‘duplex’ in America is a ‘semi-detached house’ in the UK.
  • A ‘row house’ in America is a ‘terraced house’ in the UK.

Is the Term ‘Apartment’ Used in the UK?

While the terms essentially mean the same, the term ‘apartment’ in the UK is often used to refer to a posh or upscale flat. It is generally regarded as more luxurious than a regular flat with any number of rooms inside.

Upscale Apartment Building in Kensington, London UK | www.phillyaptrentals.com

In both cases where a flat or apartment is rented, a rental fee is charged monthly. This is usually separate from additional costs like the Internet, utilities, fixed phone lines, and cable packages.

How to Find Flats or Apartments for Rent?

Depending on which country you are living in, start your research online, and use the right terms to help you find exactly what you are looking for. If you are in America, try searching for ‘apartments’ or ‘condos for rent in your neighborhood. You can find additional, helpful apartment hunting tips and suggestions here.

With people moving around the world for work or to make a new life, it pays to understand the difference in housing terminology used in different countries.


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