September 1, 2009

Apartment Rentals: Decoding the Terms

This is a typical NYC apartment ad:
"Cozy 5th floor walk up alcove studio. Recently gut renovated, with kitchenette. Super on premise. I also have a Jr. 1-bdrm and a floor through railroad. Contact if interested. Must make 40x the rent, guarantors accepted. This is a broker fee apt."
Did you get any of that? Don't despair, after a few minutes and a few apartment terms, you will:
Cozy: Tiny. Teeny tiny.
Floor through: Apartment goes from the front of the building to the back
Walk up: No elevator, only the stairs and your legs
Kitchenette: Very small. What kitchens look like when they're born.
Gut renovated: Entire apartment was redone: floors, appliances, cabinets, etc.
Studio: No bedroom, usually one big room
Converted 1-bdrm: A bedroom wall has been put up (usually using living room space)
Alcove: Small area of the main room, usually in studios, used for sleeping or dining
Jr 1-bdrm: Alcove that has been walled-off to make a very tiny bedroom
Railroad: Series of rooms (usually without doors) you can walk though in a straight line
Broker: Person licensed to mediate deals between property owner and renter
Guarantor: A person who signs the lease (in addition to you) when you don't make the often required 40x the monthly rent (yearly salary must be at least 40 x one month's rent)
Management company: Larger company that owns the building, sometimes use brokers to rent the individual apartments
Landlord: Individual owner of a property, can also use brokers
Super(intendent): Maintains the building. Can usually call 24/7 with building problems, lives on or close to the premise.

So there are some terms to get you started. There are more to know, once you start looking to buy. Like co-op, co-op board, pre-war, brownstone, townhouse, classic 6 - and the list goes on. But for now, I'll just leave you with this cozy, kitchenette-sized glossary.

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