Glossary

 

Abatement

Free or reduced rent for a certain period of time.

 

Alcove Studio Apartments

Alcove studio apartments have a layout that offers more privacy/segmentation with the inclusion of a separate area or nook that can be used for sleeping or dining. This is most often achieved through an L-shape room. Alternately, an archway may simply separate the two areas.

 

Amenities

Desirable or useful features that can add to the appeal of a property. The following list identifies amenities commonly advertised in apartment listings. Luxury apartments in NYC typically have extensive amenities, with many offering creative, non-traditional features to attract tenants to their properties. Close to mass transit, dishwasher, doorman, elevator, fireplace, fitness center, garage on-site, outdoor space, new appliances, pet friendly, playground, pool, security, spacious closets, storage facilities, washer/dryer.

 

Anchor Tenant

Also known as the prime tenant, an anchor tenant serves to attract other smaller tenants to adjacent space. Anchor tenants are strategically placed to maximize business for all tenants and are generally a department store or a major retail chain.

 

As-Is Condition

Tenant acceptance of the existing condition of the property at the time the lease is signed, including any defects.

 

Assignment

Transfer by the original tenant (the assignor) of his or her rights to a sub-tenant (the assignee) to use the leased property.

 

Attended Lobby Building

When there is no building employee to assist residents and guests at the door, but there is a building employee at the concierge.

 

Base Rent

The amount specified as minimum rent in a lease with provisions for increasing the rent over the term of the lease.

 

Broker

A broker is an individual who buys and sells (or manages the rental process) for another for a commission. In real estate, a broker must be properly licensed to perform certain activities specified in the real estate license laws and collect compensation.

 

Brownstone

A variety of brown to red-brown sandstone very popular as a building material in New York City. Many of the early stonemasons found the soft stone easy to work with and enabled them to add charming details with relative ease and at low cost.

 

Building Code

Building code laws are set forth by a ruling municipality to dictate the end use of a specified piece of property and the design, materials, and type of improvements allowed.

 

Certificate of Occupancy

A document issued by a municipality that authorizes the use of a building for a particular purpose.

 

Classic Six/Seven Apartments

Classic 6/7 apartments are traditionally found in luxury, pre-war buildings. In New York, this is especially true for the Upper West Side. The classic 6 has three bedrooms, a living room, a full dining room and a separate kitchen. Classic 7 apartments are the same, with the addition of a separate room originally designed as the maid’s quarters. Classic 6/7 apartments typically have 2 - 3 baths.

 

Concessions

Cash or cash equivalents expended by the landlord. Generally in the form of rental abatement, moving expenses, owner paid broker's commissions, or other monies expended to influence or persuade the tenant to sign a lease.

 

Condominium (condo)

A building or complex in which units of property, such as apartments, are owned by individuals, while the common areas of the property, such as the grounds and building structure, are owned jointly by the unit owners.

 

Co-operative (co-op)

A legal entity, usually a corporation that owns real estate. All apartment "owners" own shares in the corporation and are referred to as "proprietary lessees".

 

DHCR

An acronym for the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The New York State agency responsible for formulating, monitoring, and enforcing New York State’s residential rent regulation laws.

 

Doorman Building

When there is a building employee (generally a uniformed attendant) stationed at the door or in the lobby of the building to assist residents and guests the building is referred to as a Doorman Building. Doorman buildings can also offer a part time doorman.

 

Double Net Lease

The tenant agrees to pay a monthly sum base rent as well as property taxes and property insurance. The landlord is responsible for all other operating expenses.

 

Duplex Apartments

A duplex apartment is one unit with a two-floor layout connected by an inner staircase. The unit could be an open space with high ceilings to accommodate a loft or it could be separated into mezzanine areas.

 

Easement

The right to a real property interest in another’s real property, but legal title to the underlying land remains with the original owner. A typical easement is for access to another property (“access and egress”). Easements are often used for roads, utility companies, and landlocked homeowners.

 

Easement By Prescription

An easement that is acquired by continuous, hostile, open, and notorious use of real property for a statutorily prescribed number of years.

 

Effective Rent

The actual monthly rental rate to be received by the landlord after deducting the value of concessions from the base rental rate paid by a tenant. This is generally expressed as an average rate over the term of the lease.

 

Efficiency Factor

Also known as a core factor, it is calculated by dividing the rentable square footage by the usable square footage.

 

EIK

Abbreviation for Eat In Kitchen.

 

Eminent Domain        

The legal right of a government to seize private property for public use in return for just compensation.

 

Employment Letter

Most landlords and property managers require an employment letter as part of the rental application process. This letter is a signed note on your employer's letterhead that states your current salary, current length of employment, and job description. It is best to have this letter notarized.

 

Encumbrance

Any right to, or interest in, real property held by someone other than the owner, but which will not prevent the transfer of fee title. For example a claim or lien attached to real property.

 

Exclusive Agency Listing

An agreement between a property owner and real estate broker in which the owner guarantees a fee or commission to the broker if a specified property is leased during the listing period. The broker does not have to be the procuring cause of the lease to receive the fee.

 

FAR

An acronym for floor-area-ratio. The ratio of gross square footage of a building to the land on which it sits. FAR is calculated by dividing the total square footage in the building by the square footage of land area. The FAR can be used in zoning to limit the amount of construction in certain areas or certain classes of buildings.

 

Force Majeure

A force that cannot be controlled by the parties to a contract and prevents said parties from complying with the provisions of the contract. For example, acts of God (a flood or a hurricane) or acts of man (a fire or a war).

 

Full Service Building

When there is both a doorman and a concierge service.

 

Garden Apartments

Garden apartments are named for their access to a landscaped lawn or garden area. These units are typically in low-rise apartment complexes on the ground floor or in the basement. The outdoor area may be semiprivate or shared and the number of bedrooms can vary.

 

Green Building

A 'green' building is one that is LEED-certified (gold, silver, or platinum). LEED certifications take into account how the property is designed, constructed, and maintained. Factors include: the use of energy, water, and other resources, waste reduction, air circulation, the use of sustainable and recycled materials, and the well-being of the building's occupants.

 

GRM

An acronym that stands for gross rent multiplier. GRM is used as a method of estimating the value of an income producing rental. It is calculated by dividing the sales price of a property by the gross rental income of that property.

 

Gross Building Area

The total floor area of the building measuring from the outer surface of exterior walls and windows and including all vertical penetrations (e.g. elevator shafts, etc.) and basement space.

 

Gross Lease

A lease in which the tenant pays a flat sum for rent and the landlord pays all expenses such as taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities. Since many of these costs increase over time, most gross leases contain escalation clauses that increase rents over time in order to offset these cost increases.

 

Guarantor

One who makes a guaranty or promises to pay a third party’s obligations. Guarantors are often required for New York City apartment rentals. This is especially true for first-time apartment hunters, who may not meet the landlord’s income requirements.

 

Holdover Tenant

A tenant retaining possession of the leased premises after the expiration of a lease.

 

HVAC

An acronym that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

 

Junior 1 Bedroom Apartments

Also known as a “conversion apartment,” a junior 1-bedroom apartment is a converted studio or small loft with space for a separate sleeping area, sometimes divided with a wall. Some have a combined living/bedroom area with a separate eat-in kitchen.

 

Junior 4 Apartments

A junior 4 apartment is essentially a large one-bedroom, usually with a separate kitchen and a sizeable alcove that can be converted into an additional room or serve as a dining area.

 

Loft Apartments

Loft apartments offer a spacious living area with few to no internal walls, often accompanied by very high ceilings and extra-large windows. Generally, lofts were former industrial buildings converted for residential use, although the popularity of this unit style has prompted many new developments to be created as lofts.

 

Multiple Dwelling

A dwelling which is either rented, leased, let or hired out, to be occupied, or is occupied, as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other.

 

No Fee Apartment

The renter does not have to pay a fee to a broker to obtain a no fee apartment. Typically, a no fee apartment is offered directly to the renter by the property’s owner, although there are other arrangements that result in an apartment being no fee.

 

Non-Doorman Building

There are two types of non-doorman buildings, elevator buildings and walk-ups.

 

Normal Wear & Tear

The deterioration or loss in value caused by a tenant’s normal and reasonable use. In many leases the tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear.

 

One Bedroom Apartments

The bedroom and living room in a one-bedroom apartment are separate rooms. The actual bedroom may vary greatly in size from accommodating only a small bed to fitting a king-size bed with additional space. Kitchens also vary and can be part of the living room in an open format or can be a full separate area.

 

OP

An acronym for owner paid, which refers to the broker's commissions.

 

Penthouse Apartments

The penthouse is a single dwelling unit occupying one of the entire highest floors of an apartment building or condominium. If more than one apartment is on the floor, even if it is the highest floor, then those apartments would not be considered penthouse apartments. Oftentimes, penthouses also have luxury features that distinguish them from other units in the building.

 

Percentage Lease

Most commonly found in retail leases, a percentage lease refers to a provision of the lease that calls for the tenant to pay the landlord a percentage of gross sales in addition to paying a base rent.

 

PITI

An acronym for the four components of a mortgage payment. PITI is the sum of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

 

Post-war Building

Any building constructed from World War II through to the 1970s is considered to be post-war. While post-war buildings may lack some of the "charm" of their pre-war counterparts, they make up for it in perks such as: elevators, laundry rooms, fitness centers, doormen, and other amenities.

 

Pre-war Building

Buildings constructed before World War II are deemed prewar. They are renowned for their quality of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and architectural splendor. Generally you will find nine to ten foot high ceilings, hardwood floors, crown moldings, thick plaster walls that provide good sound insulation, fireplaces, and other old world charms.

 

Railroad Apartments

Like a railway car, the rooms in a railroad apartment lead one directly into the other. Outside each room, a hallway runs from the front door to the back door. Many brownstones converted into apartment units contain railroad apartments. Usually this type of apartment is found in New York City or San Francisco and their surrounding areas.

 

Renewal Option

A clause giving a tenant the right to extend the term of a lease, usually for a stated period of time and at a rent amount as provided for in the option language.

 

Security Deposit

A payment by a tenant held by the landlord during the lease term, to ensure that the tenant abides by the lease agreement and does no damage to the property above normal wear and tear.

 

Service Building

A building that employs a doorman and a concierge. At some luxury apartments in New York City, both of these positions are staffed 24 hours. Service buildings often include other amenities such as: fitness centers, swimming pools, valet services, and parking garages.

 

Single Net Lease

The tenant agrees to pay a monthly sum base rent as well as property taxes. The landlord is responsible for all other operating expenses.

 

Studio Apartments

Studio apartments are most often the smallest and least expensive units, sized anywhere from 300 to 600 square feet with comparable rents. A studio combines the living room, bedroom and kitchen/kitchenette into a one-room living space with a separate full bathroom. Kitchens in studio apartments are either open to the room or may be separate from the living area.

 

Sublet

The temporary transfer of a tenant's legal interest in an apartment to another person. A tenant who sublets an apartment to another person is the prime tenant. The person to whom the apartment is sublet is the subtenant/sublessee.

 

Superintendent

Most large residential properties in New York City have live-in or on-site superintendents, otherwise known as supers. Supers are generally the first point of contact for tenants in need of maintenance or repairs in either the building's common areas or their individual apartment. These 'handymen' help ensure that building operations run smoothly.

 

Three Bedroom Apartments

Three bedroom apartments feature multiple sleeping areas separated into three bedrooms. Each apartment will have its own unique configuration and sizing of the living room, kitchen, and each separate bedroom.

 

Townhouse

Generally a single family dwelling of three to four stories, the townhouse more closely resembles a house than an apartment. Many townhouses retain their original details and old world charm. Townhouses often include: secluded backyards, high ceilings with crown molding, fireplaces, large eat-in kitchens, and private street entrances.

 

Triple Net Lease

Tenant agrees to pay a monthly sum base rent as well as property taxes, property insurance, and maintenance.

 

Triplex Apartments

A triplex apartment is the same as a duplex, instead divided into three levels.

 

Two Bedroom Apartments

Two bedroom apartments have two bedrooms and a living room. Each bedroom may be sized equally or vary dramatically from the other. The kitchen may be open to the living room or a separate space.

 

Walk-Up Building

A building that has no elevator, with more than one floor. These buildings are predominantly pre-war types and have up to six floors.