A Glossary of Real Estate Terminology

Apartment Sizes

• Studio
One room with combined living room and sleeping area, separate or "Pullman" kitchen, bath.
• Alcove Studio
L-shaped living room with alcove used for sleeping or dining (or enclosed to become a small separate room), kitchen, bath.
• Loft Area
An area created (especially where high ceilings exist) by dividing the space floor-to-ceiling.
• One Bedroom (3 or 3 1/2 rooms)
(3 rooms) Living room, separate bedroom, kitchen, and bath.
(3 1/2 rooms) Living room with dining area or alcove, separate bedroom, kitchen, bath.
• Junior 4
One bedroom apartment with separate small dining room or den, kitchen, and bath.
• Two Bedrooms (4 to 6 rooms)
(4 rooms) Living room, two bedrooms, one or two baths, kitchen.
(4 1/2 rooms) Living room with extra dining alcove or foyer, two bedrooms, one or two baths.
(5 rooms) Living room, separate dining room often convertible to third bedroom, two bedrooms, and two baths.
(6 rooms) Living room, separate dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths, one maid's room with bath.
• Three Bedrooms (7 or 8 rooms)
(7 rooms) Living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, two or three baths, one maid's room with bath (alternate layout: two bedrooms with two maids' rooms).
(8 rooms) Living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, two or three baths, two maids' rooms with bath.
• Four or more bedrooms (9 rooms plus)
(9 rooms) Living room, dining room, kitchen, three or four bedrooms plus library, baths, one or two maids' rooms with bath.
(10+ rooms) Living room, dining room, kitchen, four or more bedrooms, baths, library, two or more maids' rooms with bath(s).

Building Types

• Post War Buildings
Built after World War II, between the late 1940's and the 1970's; high rise construction, most often with white, red, or brown brick facades, doorman service, live-in superintendent, spacious units, good closets, laundry facilities in basement, many with parking garages.
• Pre-War Buildings
Built prior to World War II, may or may not have doorman but have live-in superintendent, spacious layouts, many working fireplaces, high ceilings, parquet flooring, laundry facilities in basement.
• Full Service High Rise Buildings
Built within the last 15 years with 24-hour doorman and/or concierge; many have health club and/or swimming pool, maid and valet service, full laundry facilities, parking garage.
• Brownstones and Townhouses
Built from the 1800's through early 1900's mostly as private residences; many converted to small apartment units over the years; four to five story buildings, 16 to 35 foot widths, some with gardens and terraces, fireplaces throughout, exposed brick walls, no doorman or live-in superintendent.
• Elevator Buildings
Six to twenty story pre- or post-war buildings without a doorman, usually has intercom security system and laundry facilities, often has exterior fire escape.
• Walk-Up Buildings
Least expensive type of apartment building with four to five stories, no elevator, doorman, or laundry facilities, most often has exterior fire escape; quality varies.
• Lofts
Commercial buildings that have been converted into living space; apartments have large open spaces with high ceilings; no building amenities, often intercom security system, usually found in previously commercial locations such as SoHo and Tribeca.

Lease Types

• Rent Stabilized Lease
Rent Stabilization was established in New York City in the late 1960's to set limits on the amount that building owners can raise rents for vacant apartments or renewal leases. Rent guidelines are established on a yearly basis and become effective every October. Leases in rent stabilized buildings are made directly with landlords, with the tenant having the right to renew the lease every time it expires.
• Non-Stabilized Lease
This type of lease provides a landlord with the right to set market value rent pursuant to supply and demand. A landlord may follow rent stabilization guidelines, but is under no obligation to do so. The newest form of this type of lease is called "luxury destabilization." This law, enacted in 1993, provides for lease-end destabilization of apartments renting for over $2000 per month occupied by tenants earning over $250,000 per year. Non-stabilized leases also apply to those buildings with fewer than six rental units.
• Cooperative Sublease
Cooperative ownership, in which a corporation owns the building and the tenants own shares of stock in the corporation together with a lease for their specific apartment, is especially prevalent in Manhattan. These co-op buildings are governed by boards of directors, which generally institute rules concerning the subleasing of the apartments. Generally, a sublease will be for a specific time period (often only one to three years) with no right to renew. Some buildings are less strict. Prospective subtenants are required to provide financial and social information about themselves to the board, and they are interviewed by a committee of board members. The board then votes to approve or reject the sublease. An approved co-op subtenant is required to abide by all rules and regulations of the building. There is usually a "sublease fee" for subleasing in co-op buildings, which varies from building to building.
• Condominium Lease
In condominium ownership, which accounts for approximately 20% of all rental units in Manhattan, the real estate is actually owned by the tenant. Leasing a unit in a condo is done directly with the apartment owner, and the rules governing such leases are less strict than in co-op buildings. A condo's board of managers may require a prospective tenant to provide some financial and social information and often requires an interview. Approval is generally easier to obtain in a condo than in a co-op. There may also be fees levies by the condo association on prospective tenants.