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9 Disadvantages of a Top-Floor Apartment

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More and more people are living in condos and apartments because they offer more affordability and flexibility. If you’re in an apartment building with multiple floors, you’re likely living in a city setting.

Every year, thousands upon thousands of people move from the suburbs into the city in search of better restaurants, more cultural events, and just the feeling of something constantly going on.

Apartment living works great for most people. You don’t have a yard to take care of, for example, and there is generally less upkeep.

Condominium building against blue sky

If you’re in an apartment building, odds are there is some sort of management to take care of public areas, handle maintenance requests, and other tasks. Hey, you may even have a pool or a tennis court.

There are a lot of reasons to love living in an apartment, but what about where the actual unit is located? Does that matter? What about what floor you’re on?

Choosing the floor you’re going to be living on will have a big impact on your quality of life. You shouldn’t just sign on for any available apartment.

Today we’re exploring some of the disadvantages of living in a top-floor apartment. A lot of people think that the top floor is the place to be. After all, it’s probably got better views.

However, there are a lot of concerns that come up living on the top floor, and there are things you need to know before you buy or sign a lease. Here are 9 disadvantages of living in a top-floor apartment.

1. Temps Can Swing More Widely in a Top-Floor Apartment

While you’re out looking at places to live, you’ll love the view that high apartments have to offer. The top floor indeed comes with some prestige. Many apartment buildings even make top-floor apartments into penthouses with bigger square footage than other units.

What you should know, though, is that living on the upmost floor also brings some temperature issues with it. In many apartment buildings, the top floor has a lot of sun exposure.

With no levels above it, the amount of heat that gets transferred into your apartment will depend on the quality of insulation on the roof or in the attic.

What usually ends up happening is your apartment will run hot through the year, especially when there is strong sunlight beating down on the roof and your windows.

2. Top Level Apartments Usually Have Higher Utility Bills

When the temps in your apartment are higher than you’d like, what are you going to do? You’re probably going to run the AC more often. That translates into a rent premium that you’re paying in the form of higher monthly utility costs.

Your air conditioning bill could add hundreds of dollars to your monthly rental or ownership costs, so it’s something you should consider before you move into a top-floor apartment.

3. Having Pets Is a Pain in the Penthouse

Beagle dog on a balcony at sunny day. Sea view terrace

If you’re in a building with elevators, and you’ve got a dog that needs to go on daily walks, sometimes multiple times a day, your life can be miserable. Walking your dog is going to add hours to your daily routine instead of the minutes it would take if you lived on a lower level where you could use the stairs.

In addition to having to wait longer for an elevator, many apartment complexes and management companies have specific rules about dogs and elevator use. Some buildings designate that dogs can only go in a service elevator, limiting your options and making you wait longer.

4. Elevators Can Be a Pain in General, But Especially on the Top Floor

Living in a busy building with lots of tenants can make using elevators a challenge. If you live on the top floor, you could be waiting a long time to get the elevator to go to work or to go to the gym.

Imagine coming back from the grocery store and having to stop at four or five floors on your way up to the top level. It’s stress-inducing just thinking about it.

Don’t even mention life in a large building with tenants moving in and out all of the time. They book an elevator for the day for their movers and suddenly you’re down to fewer elevators to use in moving around and getting what you need.

5. Top Apartments Often Cost More

A stack of ascending coins with house model and glowing white arrow on grey background.

We get it, you’re a sucker for a good view. Imagine the sunsets you’ll soak in after a long day of work from up there. Yes, there are some benefits to living on the top floor in an apartment building, but you’re going to pay for those benefits.

Most buildings and complexes add a premium onto top-floor apartments because they know people love a good view. There’s also an unspoken perception of prestige when you occupy the top level. That also costs money.

6. What Happens When the Elevators Break Down? Or There’s a Fire?

Right, think about that. It happens more often than you’d think.

Apartment buildings have service maintenance issues all of the time with elevators, especially if they’re older units. That means you’re going to walk up and down the stairs. That’s a nightmare if you’re living in a taller building with a lot of levels.

7. You Could Be Targeted By Criminals

While this isn’t a huge risk, one of the disadvantages of living in a top level apartment is that other people will think you’re affluent. That could mean people are monitoring when packages are in the mailroom with your name on them or if they find another way to grab some of your mail and steal your identity.

Would-be thieves will think you’re more likely to spend big bucks on shopping and other items, and you could end up with a lot of missing packages throughout the year just because you live higher up.

8. You’re Going to Pay for Renovations

If you’re on the top floor, contractors and other people who will work in your apartment will know what that means.

They’ll understand that you’re paying higher rents, may have more cash laying around, and they’ll know what a pain it will be to move people and supplies from the ground floor to the top floor for days, weeks, and even months.

That will likely translate into higher quotes for maintenance and any renovations you want to be done to your place.

9. Top Level Apartment Fatigue Is Real

A stack of ascending coins with house model and glowing white arrow on grey background.

When you live on the top floor, you’re going to get worn down by how much is involved in everything you do. The elevator waits, the dog walks, the higher prices, etc. will eventually take their toll.

As a result, you could find that you’re staying home more and not being as active because going out is just too much trouble.