Building Terminology For Manhattan Apartments

Below is a list of some typical building terminology for the Manhattan area apartments. It can be complex process. However Lee is quite knowledgeable and will be able to guide you through it.


Rent Stabilized Building - Rent Stabilization was established in New York City in the late 1960's to set limits on the amount building owners could raise rents and to set performance guidelines for both the landlord and tenant.

  • Manhattan Rent increases for one and two year leases and are determined annually by the New York City Real Estate Advisory Board.
  • Over the past five years, annual rent increases have been in the 3-7% range.
  • Tenants are guaranteed renewal rights to stabilized leases provided they have fulfilled the terms of the lease.

Introduced in 1993, luxury destabilization provides for lease-end destabilization of apartments that rent for over $2,000 per month when occupied by a tenant earning more than $150,000 per year.

Non-Stabilized Building

  • Landlords set a market-value rent based upon current supply and demand.
  • A landlord may, but is not required to, follow rent stabilized guidelines.
  • Renewals are not guaranteed unless so stated in the lease.
  • Rental buildings with fewer than six units are non-stabilized.


All of the following buildings can be either a Rent Stabilized Building or a Non-Stabilized Building...

Brownstone
One to five floors. No doorman. Built in the late 1800s and early 1900s as single-family homes. Many were converted during World War II to create multiple apartments (3-10 units per building). Brownstones have "charm", high ceilings, architectural details, and often wood-burning fireplaces. Typically, square footage is generally less than a similar room count would provide in a doorman building. Closet space and storage is usually sparse.

Condo
A condominium is one of a group of housing units where each homeowner owns their individual unit space, and all the dwellings share ownership of areas of common use. The individual Manhattan units normally share a wall or two. But that is not a requirement to be called a condo. The difference between condos nd single family home is there is no ownership of a plot of land. All the land in the condo community is owned by all the homeowners. 

Condops The term condops refers to real estate mixed use condominium building where at least one of the units is owned by a cooperative corporation and sub-divided into many "Co-Op" apartments.

Elevator Building
Usually six to nine stories; and many are found on side streets. Non-doorman building; many with intercom security and live-in superintendents.

Loft Apartment
Four to eleven or twelve story buildings. Former commercial buildings converted to apartments. Large open space. Usually an elevator (sometimes a freight elevator) but no doorman service. Most are found in SoHoTribeca, or Chelsea. Some have restrictions regarding tenancy such as a status as a certified artist.

Luxury Doorman
Twenty to forty or more floors, and a twenty-four hour doorman. These tend to be postwar buildings. The more luxurious buildings also have a concierge who provides services such as receiving laundry and packages. Some of these buildings have a health club and/or swimming pool and a parking garage.

Preware Building
Typically nine to sixteen floors. Doorman and non-doorman. Built 1900's to 1940's. Exterior and interior architectural detailing. Common features include high ceilings, hardwood floors, arched doorways, or fireplaces. 
Postwar Building
Since 1946 there have been more than five decades of new construction in Manhattan. Exteriors are usually white, red, or brown brick. Usually less expensive than pre-wars. Long corridors with many apartments per landing. Eight foot ceilings, big closets and small kitchens. Laundry facilities are usually in the basement.

Walk-Up Building
Up to six floors. No elevator or doorman. Originally built as multi-family housing, this is one of the cheapest apartment options. Sometimes called "railroad flats," these apartments can also be very charming compared to newer buildings.
Lee Presser
Lee Presser
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker