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Public-images-osm logo.svg building = apartments
1170 Sacramento Street, San Francisco (December 2007).jpg
A building arranged into individual dwellings, often on separate floors. May also have retail outlets on the ground floor. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Buildings
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: de facto


A building constructed to provide residential accommodation arranged into individual dwellings/apartments/flats, often on separate floors. The tag can be used for both buildings where apartments are sold (often called condominiums, condos, or stratas in North America and Thailand) and where apartments are rented.

Do not use this tag when the building was constructed for a different original use. Instead the tags building:use=apartments or building:use=residential can be applied. Throughout Europe and North America many older, often 19th century, buildings have been converted to apartments. Typical examples include: old warehouses, factories (mills), redundant pubs and churches. Separating the current use from the original designed use allows more sophisticated searches, but also gives much more information about what to expect of the building form.

Some apartment blocks may also have retail outlets on the ground floor.

Examples of Purpose-built Apartments

This is an attempt to show some of the variety of buildings which can be tagged as apartments.

Ideally this section would also include examples of associated tags, such as those for Simple 3D Buildings.

Original Use Image Comment
Residential tower The Quadrangle, Norfolk Crescent (geograph 2681087).jpg A fairly typical tower block of apartments.
Residential tower HK Tai Koo Shing Horizon Gardens.jpg The Taikoo Shing development on Hong Kong Island involved placing a large number of tower apartment blocks above a large shopping mall.
Modern Complex St. George's Wharf.jpg This complex of luxury apartments on the South side of the Thames provides a challenge if one wanted to tag it in detail. See building:part=* for one of needed tools.
Mansion Block Du Cane Court, SW17 - geograph.org.uk - 285412.jpg Probably a type largely restricted to London, and built between Victorian times & WWII.
Viennese Tenement Block Karl-Marx-Hof 2009.jpg Karl Marx Hof, an enormous development of social housing built between WWI & WWI
Glasgow Tenements Partick - geograph.org.uk - 299107.jpg During the 19th & early 20th centuries much urban housing for all social classes in Scotland was built as tenements. Usually two to each floor sharing a common stair. These in Partick may have originally been small 2 room tenements without private toilet facilities.

Converted Buildings used as Apartments

It is not uncommon for buildings to be converted into apartments. These have been included to provide further examples of places used for apartments and to show the difference in tagging. Some examples:

Original Use Image Comment
Church Christ Church Flats, Kew Road - geograph.org.uk - 219419.jpg Original building a church. Converted into apartments 1996.way 158513353.
In this case use building:use=apartments and building=church for the building itself that is still clearly a church building.
Maltings Student Accommodation - geograph.org.uk - 127088.jpg Original building a maltings. Converted into studio apartments for students by the university (a hall of residence). Choice of using a generic tag building=industrial or a specific one building=maltings.
Pub The Gregory, a pub converted to student flats (geograph 3746272).jpg A former pub, also converted into studio apartments for students by a private landlord.
In this case use building:use=apartments and building=pub.


Apartments present specific issues when mapping addresses. In the absence of indoor mapping of the blocks the current widely accepted method is to assign addresses to the main entrance for each group of flats or in a less refined approach to the building object as a whole. The main entrance is mapped with entrance=main, and one of the following combinations of addresses applied (depending on whether apartments numbers are part of the street sequence or not):

Additional Building Attributes

Given the wide range of different apartment blocks, it is useful to add some additional building tags, such as:

  • building:flats=* : the number of residential units (flats, apartments) in the building
  • building:levels=* : the number of floors (including the ground floor) in the building
  • building:material=* : the outer surface (facade) material of the building (brick, concrete, wood etc.)

See Also

building=terrace for what is commonly referred to as "row houses", "townhouses", or "townhomes"

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!