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Glossary


Alcove - An L-shaped area that adjoins the main living space in an apartment and can be used for either a sleeping or dining area. They can sometimes be walled off to create a separate bedroom.

Assignment - The right to transfer a contract or a lease from one party to another. The term is often used to describe the process of assigning one's primary lease to that of a second party until the end of the term.

Attended Elevator - Manual elevators operated by an elevator operator on a full-time basis. In some pre-war buildings, these operators also serve as a form of full-time security for residents.

Balcony - An outdoor space that protrudes from a building. Usually balconies are private for each apartment, although some are shared by neighbors.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) - Each building in New York City possesses a Certificate of Occupancy which outlines the legal uses of that piece of property. The Certificate of Occupancy may allow a building owner to enjoy certain uses not allowed by the zoning laws in that particular neighborhood.

Classic 6, 7, or 8 - This term refers to the number of rooms in an apartment, most often in a pre-war apartment. For example, a classic-six would normally be configured as a two bedroom with a living room, dining room, kitchen and maid’s room or office.

Co-Broke - When a broker sends out his or her listings to the brokerage community at large, they do so on a co-broke basis. This means that the brokerage firm representing the owner of the property will receive half of the commission and the brokerage firm that brings the buyer to the property and is able to close the transaction will receive the other half.

Co-operative - A building in which each apartment owner also owns shares in the building as a whole. Co-operatives are known for extensive interviewing processes and strict occupancy rules.

Collect Your Own Fee - A rental listing distributed by a brokerage firm where a cooperating broker collects the entire fee. A broker might do this because he or she feels that the apartment is overpriced or because he or she has offered the brokerage community at large an inducement to rent the property quickly.

Combined Apartment - An apartment created by taking two adjoining apartments and combining them into one.

Commission - A payment for brokers when a property is sold or rented. In a sale, the commission rate is set by the owner and is typically 6% of the sales price. In rental, the commission rate is usually set by the broker is typically 15% of the annual rent. If the property is of great value, the owner and the broker(s) may agree to cut the commission to a lower percentage of the sales price. If the property for sale is a particularly difficult property to sell, the owner may increase the commission rate to a higher percentage of the purchase price.

Common Area - The area in a building that is shared by all of the tenants and owners of that building. This could include the lobby, courtyard, roof garden, hallways, etc.

Complimentary - A rental or sale listing sent out to the brokerage community at large by a brokerage firm on the apartment owner’s behalf.

Concierge - An staff-member stationed in the lobby who acts as a clerk and security for the lobby. A concierge is not situated at the door and does not open the door for tenants. The concierge's duties can include accepting packages, informing tenants of visitors, etc.

Condominium - An apartment that is owned rather than rented. Condominiums are a very liberal type of ownership compared to co-operative apartments and are often favored by foreigners looking to buy in Manhattan. Condominiums usually allow owners to finance upwards to 90% of the purchase price; subletting rules and pet policies are more open than in co-operatives; and individual owners are responsible for monthly Common Charges and Real Estate Taxes.

Contact Person - An individual hired to show and promote a property. They are usually hired by the owner of a building or the developer.

Conversion - A term used to describe a change in usage of a building. A classic example is when an older commercial space is converted into a residential space. It can also refer to a scenario such as when a rental building switches to a co-operative type of ownership.

Convertible - A large one or two bedroom with an alcove that is converted into another bedroom by means of the construction of a wall.

Courtyard - The interior outdoor grounds of a building.

Dual Sinks/Dual Vanity - Two separate sinks in one bathroom, usually his and hers.

Duplex Apartment - An apartment with two levels.

Exclusive Agency Listing - A listing contract under which the owner appoints a real estate broker as the exclusive agent to sell or rent the property for a commission, on the owner's stated terms, for a designated period of time. Under this type of listing, the owner has reserved the right to sell the property on his or her own without paying anyone a commission. An exclusive right to sell (or rent) is a term that refers to a similar situation where the only difference is that the broker must receive a commission from either the owner or another broker.

Escrow - Money placed in an account where neither the buyer (or renter) nor the seller (or landlord) can access the money in the account without the consent of an escrow agent.

En Suite Bathroom - A bathroom that is part of the adjoining bedroom, so that one does not have to leave the bedroom in order to go to the bathroom. This type of setup is most common with Master Bedrooms. This French term literally means 'together.’

EIK - An acronym for Eat-In Kitchen.

Facade
- The front of a building. The facade can consist of any number of building elements, such as limestone, brownstone, cement, glass, granite, marble, or any combination thereof.

Full Service Building - A building which employs both a concierge and a full-time doorman.

Guarantor - A person who assumes financial responsibility of a lease on behalf of a tenant or tenants who otherwise would not meet the landlord’s financial qualifications. For example, a student who may not have an income may need a guarantor. The guarantor guarantees payment of the rent in the event of non-payment by the tenants. Guarantors generally need to make 80 times the monthly rent in annual income to qualify. This person is often a family member but does not have to be.

High Ceilings - Ceilings with a height of nine feet or more. Most pre-war apartments, loft spaces, and newer, more expensive condominiums have high ceilings.

Half-Bath - A bathroom with no bath or shower. Also referred to as a powder room.

Junior Four - A 1-bedroom apartment with a separate alcove area. The alcove can be used as a dining area, office, or, if the building allows, a walled off sleeping area.

Keyed Elevator - An elevator that opens directly into an apartment. One must use a key to operate the elevator. This feature is found in buildings with full-floor apartments and/or penthouses.

Lease - A legal document which determines the duration of a tenancy and details the responsibilities and parameters between a landlord and a tenant.

Lease Assignment - When a lessee (tenant) leaves his or her apartment prior to the end of their lease yet still remains responsible for fulfilling its responsibilities and obligations. In such cases, the lessor (owner) will allow the lessee to assign the remainder of their lease to a new tenant. In most instances, an owner/landlord will keep the name of the original tenant on the lease, thus making them responsible for the remainder of the term. The lessor has sole discretion on whether or not to allow the new tenant to remain in the apartment after the lease expires.

Listing(s) - Brokers refer to available apartments as listings. These can be either sale or rental availabilities.

Loft Area - An additional space created in apartments with very high ceilings. The loft area is often constructed above the living area, accessed via a staircase or ladder, and used for extra storage, sleeping or living space.

Loft Space - A commercial space, such as office space, factory space or warehouse space, converted for residential usage. Common attributes of loft spaces include high ceilings, open space, and large windows.

Lot - Each New York City parcel of land is divided into lots for identification purposes.

Maisonette - A ground floor apartment with a separate street entrance from the rest of the building, usually with a second entrance inside the building's lobby. Maisonettes enjoy the same building amenities as other apartments. They provide the owners with a more private existence within a co-op and a townhouse. Typically these apartments are located in Park Avenue or Fifth Avenue co-operative apartment buildings.

Managing Agent - Most co-operative and condominium buildings will hire an independent company to manage the property. These firms are responsible for the daily maintenance of a property, the collection of rents or monthly maintenance charges, enforcing building policies, etc.

Murphy Bed - A bed built into a wall or attached to a wall that can be pulled down when needed. One often finds Murphy Beds in smaller apartments. These beds save space and often resemble wall units, so when they are not exposed they are hardly noticeable.

No Board Approval - A term referring to a situation where a prospective purchaser of a co-operative apartment does not have to go through a board approval process. This also applies when a prospective renter does not have to go through the board approval process when renting a co-operative apartment from its owner.

No-Fee Apartment - A type of apartment that doesn’t require the prospective renter to pay the brokerage fee because the owner offers to pay it himself or herself.

Oblique Views - Views from an apartment when one has a rather 'turn of your head' view of Central Park or either of the two rivers.

On-Site Broker or Contact Person - A person, often the developer, hired by the owner of a rental building to sit at the building to field questions about the property, show vacant apartments and follow-through with any transactions at the building. This is usually the person who the listing manager of a real estate firm contacts for updates.

Open House - An event intended to promote a property. The listing broker or the owner of the property may hold an open house in order to get a large number of people and/or brokers to see the property in a short period of time. Often you will see Open Houses advertised in the Sunday New York Times Real Estate Section.

Open Kitchen - A kitchen which is not separated from the living space of an apartment. These types of kitchens are most often found in loft spaces.

Open Listing - A listing distributed throughout the brokerage community by an apartment owner, a developer or a building management firm. These listings are not exclusive to any broker and are available to all brokers for rental or sale.

Original Room Count - The amount of rooms pre-war apartment buildings were designed to accommodate. Many were built with one or two apartments per floor, and sometimes these apartments encompassed 10 - 16 rooms. It is common today for owners to subdivide the original apartments into smaller apartments.

Owner Pays (OP)
- An inducement to a prospective tenant or to a broker where the owner offers to pay part or all of the broker’s commission for the rental of an apartment. In hot rental market, it will be less likely that an owner will pay any portion of a rental commission. When an owner pays the full commission, this is also known as a ‘No-Fee’ apartment.

Ownership - The different types of residential ownership in Manhattan are Condominiums, Co-operatives, and Condops.

Partial Views - Apartment views of partial vistas of Central Park, the Hudson River, or the East River.

Parlor Floor
- The second floor in a townhouse. Originally, the building's front steps accessed the parlor floor. The parlor is traditionally the grandest floor in the townhouse and almost always has the building's highest ceilings.

Pass-through Kitchen - This term refers to a kitchen with an opening into another room in the apartment, usually a Dining Area or Living Room.

Pet Policy - Each building has it’s own pet policy. This can vary from a strict no pet policy to a more liberal pet policy in which a tenant or owner can harbor as many pets as he/she desires. Some variations in pet policies may include the following: No dogs, weight limits on dogs, no pets on sublets, board interviews of pets or pets allowed only by written permission of the board.

Possession - The month and day that a new purchaser or a new tenant can actually take possession of an apartment.

Pre-War - Buildings built prior to World War II. Common elements include hardwood floors, moldings, high ceilings and fireplaces.

Pullman Kitchen - Kitchens that are about the size of a closet and consist of a refrigerator (full or half), an oven and a sink. This type of kitchen is most often situated against a single wall in small apartments. These kitchens do not count as rooms when counting apartment rooms. Many of these kitchens are found in pre-war buildings that were originally constructed as hotels. They are also referred to as kitchenettes.

Quadruplex - An apartment with four levels.

Recessed Lighting - Lighting located above the ceiling that lacks hanging fixtures. This type of lighting creates a clean and contemporary look.

Rent Control - A New York State program that froze the price of rent in New York City apartments with long-term tenants. For an apartment to be under rent control, the tenant (or their lawful successor such as a family member, spouse, or adult lifetime partner) must have been living in that apartment continuously since before July 1, 1971. When a rent controlled apartment becomes vacant, it either becomes rent stabilized, or, if it is in a building with fewer than six units, it is generally removed from regulation.

Rent Stabilization - Limits on the monthly rental increases building owners can charge for vacant apartments and renewal leases. Established in New York City in the late 1960s, it also sets guidelines of performance for both landlord and tenant. In rent stabilized buildings, rent increases are set yearly by a NYC board but have historically ranged from 3%-7%. Tenants are guaranteed the automatic right to renew their leases provided they have fulfilled the terms and conditions of the lease.

Rental Building
- A building owned by an individual or a company whose apartments are available on a rental basis only.

Rental Commission - A commission earned by a broker following the rental of an apartment. Commissions range from ten to fifteen percent of a year's aggregate rent and are typically paid by the prospective tenant.

Room Count - Every apartment has a room count, but the way in which rooms are counted is important to illustrate through examples. Straight Studio, Kitchenette: One room. Straight Studio, Full Kitchen: Two rooms. Alcove Studio, Full Kitchen: 2.5 Rooms. Junior-One, Full Kitchen, No Wall: 2.5 Rooms. Junior-One, Full Kitchen, Wall: 3.0 Rooms. One Bedroom, Living Room, Kitchen: 3 Rooms. Junior-Four, Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Alcove: 3.5 Rooms. Convertible-2, Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Alcove, No Wall: 3.5 Rooms.

Security Deposit - A payment that a renter puts down on an apartment so that the owner has security against any damages incurred during the term of tenancy. Security deposits are separate from rent payments, although they are usually equal to the first month’s rent. At the end of the lease, they can not be used to pay the last month’s rent.

Service Level - The building level where front-door service is available.

Short-Term - A lease for an apartment lasting 1-6 months. These apartments are typically furnished and offer tenants an alternative to weekly hotel bills. Short-term apartments are usually far less expensive than hotels on a per diem basis.

Showing - An owner-led display of an available apartment which allows potential renters to view that apartment for themselves. Showings may either be public or arranged through brokers for specific clients.

Square Footage
- Approximate measurements of apartment size most often calculated by a broker or apartment owner. When describing the square footage of an apartment in Manhattan, there are often marked discrepancies between the advertised square footage and the actual square footage. In the sale of condominium units, square footage measurements are fairly accurate because by law these measurements need to be accurate.

Studio - A one or two room apartment with a combined living and sleeping area. Studio kitchens are either separate rooms or a part of the living area. The latter type of kitchen is usually referred to as a kitchenette.

Sublet - the leasing of part or all of a property held by a tenant, as opposed to a landlord, during a portion of his or her term of occupancy. Sublets are typically furnished and last less than a year in duration.

Terrace - A roof or portion of a roof on a building, or a private outdoor space on an apartment. The terms terrace and balcony are often used interchangeably.

Townhouse - A narrow, tall building between four and five stories tall. Townhouses are usually owned and occupied by a single family, and typically they are grouped next to each other in rows, which is why they are commonly referred to as row houses. They were built predominantly during the 1930s.

Triple-Mint - A term meaning that the living room, bathroom, and kitchen in an apartment are all in mint condition.

Triplex - An apartment with three levels.

Utilities Included - Incorporation of electric, gas, and sometimes Internet or Cable TV into the monthly maintenance charges or the rent

Walk-Through Kitchen - A Kitchen that connects two rooms by means of two points of entry, allowing one to enter through one room and exit into another.

Walk-Up Building - A building without an elevator. Walk-ups are typically pre-war buildings between 4 and 6 stories tall. Very few newer buildings are built without elevators.

WBFP - A short term for Wood Burning Fireplace.

WEIK - An acronym for Windowed Eat-In Kitchen.

Window Treatments
- The treatments one can use on a window, such as shades or blinds.