Manhattan Rental Apartment Categories

RENTAL BUILDINGS – These are buildings totally owned by landlords and devoted strictly to rental apartments. You can expect to fill out an application, pay for a credit check, and your approval should come through as quickly as the same day, or no later than a week. One month’s rent is usually all that is needed for a security deposit, refundable.

CONDOMINIUMS – In condominium buildings, the apartments are owned by individuals, not a single landlord. Apartments are occupied by residents who either live there full-time or part-time or apartments that have been purchased as investment properties, which are rented out for as long as the owner wishes. The owner has the right to decide the amount of rent and security, as well as the length of the lease. Expect that the security deposit could be more and that you may have to pay “move-in/move-out fees,” which cover costs relative to your physical move in and out of the building.

COOPERATIVES (CO-OPS) – In cooperative buildings, individuals own shares in an overall corporation, the number of shares being based on the size and worth of their apartments. Since the building is technically owned by the corporation, there are likely to be many restrictions governing the usage of the apartments by the individual residents. It is unusual to find a cooperative that will allow rentals, (called “sublets”) and if it does, then it requires a prospective tenant to apply to the co-op board agreeing to provide detailed financial information and a personal interview, before the sublet is approved. Obviously, the approval process will take longer than the normal condo or apartment, “move-in/move-out” fees still stand and the security deposit could be higher as well. It is extremely difficult for a new-hire or an expatriate to rent a co-op without some credit history.

FURNISHED APARTMENTS (SHORT AND LONG TERM) – Manhattan has furnished apartments available for as little as a few months up to a year. The shorter the lease period, the fewer to choose from. They are usually furnished very tastefully, but will be priced in the middle to luxury range. These apartments come with televisions, phones, linens and kitchen equipment, and are designed especially for corporate clients. If you need a furnished apartment for a year and your budget does not allow a furnished apartment, consider an unfurnished apartment and rent furniture yourself.


ALCOVE – An area adjoining the living room space which can be used for a dining area or be separated or closed off to make a bedroom, den or office.

CONVERTIBLE OR FLEXAn apartment with a larger alcove off the living room which can be converted to another bedroom or which can be used as a dining area. A “convertible two-bedroom” or “flex two” is a one bedroom with a large alcove and 1 or 2 bathrooms.

FURNISHED – Apartments which are fully equipped with furniture and amenities. Available for long and short term use.

JUNIOR – An apartment with a small alcove off the living room which can be converted to a small bedroom or used as a dining area. A “junior 4” would be a potential 4-room apartment: living room, bedroom, kitchen, and alcove area (bathroom is not counted as a room.)

LOFT AREA – Sometimes found in apartments with high ceilings. An upper area which has been built for storage or as an extra sleeping area or living area.

STUDIO – A studio is a two-room apartment (the kitchen is considered one room). An “alcove studio” is a studio with an alcove for dining or sleeping. A studio with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom can be referred to as a “junior one-bedroom” or “junior 3” (three rooms).

ONE-BEDROOM – A one-bedroom is a three-room apartment (kitchen, living room, bedroom). A one-bedroom with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom is called a “junior 4” (4 rooms), “flex 2” or “convertible 2” (convertible to two bedrooms).

TWO-BEDROOMS – A two-bedroom is a four-room apartment (kitchen, living room, two bedrooms). A “flex 3” or “convertible 3” is a two-bedroom apartment with space for an additional room (third bedroom, dining room, den, maid’s room, etc.).

CLASSIC – A classic is an apartment in a pre-war building which has a formal dining room, 1 or 2 baths and in a larger apartment, 1 or 2 maid’s rooms. A “classic 6” for example, is a 6-room apartment in a pre-war building that has a living room, formal dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, maid’s room and 1 or 2 bathrooms. In the larger classics, it is common to find the smaller maids rooms combined into one larger room. Frequently, pre-war buildings have been gutted and renovated, but room counts and layouts will usually be listed according to their original configuration.


BROWNSTONE – One to six floors. No doorman. Built in the early 1900s as single family homes and many were converted during World War II to create multiple apartments (3-10 units per building.) Brownstones have “charm.” Square footage is generally less than a similar room count would provide in a doorman building.

ELEVATOR BUILDING – Located mostly in the mid blocks. Six to twenty stories: many are found on side streets and are nine stories tall and have a laundry. Some pre-wars have an elevator attendant.

LOFT APARTMENT – Four to eleven or twelve story buildings. Former commercial buildings converted to apartments. Large open space. Usually elevator but no doorman service. Most are found in lower Manhattan in Soho, Tribeca or Chelsea. Most lofts are coo-ops. Some have restrictions regarding tenancy such as status as a certified artist.

LUXURY DOORMAN – Twenty to forty or more floors. Full or part-time doorman. The more luxurious buildings also have a concierge that provides services such as receiving laundry and packages. Some of these buildings have a health club and/or swimming pool.

PREWAR BUILDING – Ten to thirty floors. Doorman or non-doorman. Built in the late 1800s to 1940s. Exterior and interior architectural detailing. Common features include high-ceilings, hardwood floors, arched doorways or fireplaces. Most are co-ops.

POSTWAR BUILDING – Built from 1946 through today. Exteriors are usually white, red or brown brick. Most are cheaper than prewar. Laundry facilities are usually in the basement.

WALK-UP BUILDING – Up to five floors. No elevator or doorman. Originally built as multi-family housing. There are usually more apartments in this type of housing than in a brownstone. This is one of the cheapest apartment options. Originally built as tenements.

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