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Amenities: Any and all of the conveniences offered by a landlord to a tenant, such as an elevator, laundry facilities in the building, or live-in super (superintendent of the building). If you have special requirements, such as a pet, be sure to let your real estate broker know in advance, so they can pre-screen apartments that do allow pets and not waste your time.
Bank check: A check that is purchased from a bank with cash. Often a bank check is required by the landlord (building owner) to pay your first month’s rent and security deposit.
Broker’s fee: Realtors usually charge a commission or finder’s fee when they locate an apartment for a tenant. They can only charge a broker’s fee if they are licensed and if they successfully find an apartment for the tenant.
Co-signer or co-signee: A co-signer agrees to share responsibility for the lease. A co-signer might be the person you’re sharing the apartment with or a family member who agrees to co-sign to help your rental application win approval from a prospective landlord. If you have bad credit or no rental history, you may be required to have a co-signer or guarantor.
Credit check: Most landlords will conduct a credit check to get a sense of your ability to pay the rent. You will be required to fill out forms to authorize a credit check. Any personal information you are asked to provide will be kept confidential.
Down payment: A portion of the fees given to a realtor or landlord before signing a lease to secure an apartment.
Duplex: A house divided into two apartments.
Efficiency or studio: An efficiency or studio apartment has a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, but all in one room. The kitchen in an efficiency is usually smaller than the kitchen in a studio.
Furnished/unfurnished: Furnished means that the room or apartment available to rent contains some furniture, which remains there when you move out. Unfurnished means that the apartment does not contain any furniture.
Guarantor: A guarantor agrees to share responsibility for the lease, and guarantees that the rent will be paid. A guarantor might be a family member who agrees to co-sign to help your rental application win approval from a prospective landlord. If you have bad credit or no rental history, you may be required to have a guarantor. Where your guarantor lives and works is important to disclose to your broker immediately as Landlords have varying parameters on where a guarantor must live to perform as guarantor. Owners may require that the guarantor live in New York or other near states.
HVAC: Heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning.
Landlord: The person/company who owns the apartment for rent.
Lead paint: New York law states that housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Before renting pre-1978 housing, Owners must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling. Renters must also receive a federally approved pamphlet on lead poisoning prevention.
Lease: A legal contract stating the dates, price, rules, and other stipulations of the rental agreement between an individual and a management company or landlord. A lease must be in writing to be valid.
Manager: A person or management company hired by the landlord (property owner) to manage apartment rentals.
Normal wear and tear: This refers to the reasonable degree of damage that is expected during the course of a lease, such as minor carpet wear, faded paint, or a leaky faucet. A security deposit cannot be withheld to cover repairs and improvements for “normal wear and tear.”
Roommates: Individuals who live together in a house or apartment to share expenses. Each roommate typically has a private bedroom or sleeping area.
Security deposit: A security deposit, often equal to one month’s rent, is money paid to the landlord before you move in. It covers any damages that might occur while you are renting the apartment. When your lease ends, the security deposit should be returned to you minus any amount needed to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear.
Studio or efficiency apartment: A one-room apartment with a bedroom, enclosed bathroom, and kitchen all in one space. The kitchen in an efficiency apartment is usually smaller than the kitchen in a studio. Some efficiency apartments may have shared bathroom facilities on each floor of the building, rather than private bathrooms inside the apartments.
Sublease or sublet: Sometimes renters find, for whatever reason, that they cannot stay in the apartment for the full term of the lease. They often try to sublet the apartment to another qualified tenant for the remainder of the lease term. Landlords are required to cooperate by approving a qualified tenant to sublet when the original tenant needs to vacate the apartment before the end of the lease, if a qualified replacement tenant is available. The individual landlord’s terms regarding subletting the apartment will be included in your lease. If the current tenant tries to sublet an apartment to you, be sure to verify with the landlord or manager that a sublease is legal, or you may end up with a problem on your hands after moving in.
Tenant: A tenant is a person who rents an apartment from a landlord.
Unfurnished/furnished: Unfurnished means that the apartment does not contain any furniture. Furnished means that the room or apartment available to rent contains some furniture, which remains there when you move out.
Utilities: A general term that refers to such basic services as water, heat, gas and electricity.
When you’re searching for an apartment or housing in New York City, you may come across abbreviations in the apartment listings or descriptions. This list is meant to help you navigate the listings so you understand what you are reading, but please note that common abbreviations often vary. For instance, “bedroom” might be abbreviated as “br” or “bd”.
Here are some of the most common real estate abbreviations you might come across while apartment hunting:
|½ bath||toilet and sink only|
|¾ bath||toilet, sink, and shower OR bath|
|bb||baseboard heat (electric)|
|bd or br||bedroom|
|bsmt||basement or cellar|
|cac||central air conditioning|
|cent h/a||central heat and air conditioning|
|fa or fha||forced air heat|
|fp or fpl||fireplace|
|full bath||toilet, sink, shower, bathtub|
|gmt kit||gourmet kitchen|
|g-rng||gas range or stove|
|hb||half bath (toilet, sink, shower)|
|hdwd||hardwood (usually meaning the floors)|
|ofc||office or study|
|pqt||parquet (a type of wood floor)|
|prv or pvt||private|
|rdr||radiator (in-room heating unit)|
|scrnd prch||screened porch|
|sq ft||square feet|
|w/d||clothes washer and dryer|
|wkg||working, as in working fireplace|
|w/w crpt||wall-to-wall carpeting|
Resources: Wikipedia; College housing departments