All About Rental Building Types in NYC

As a renter in NYC, you’ve probably come across various types of buildings during your search, and you may have asked yourself, “What’s the difference?” Or, it may not have even occurred to you that there actually was a difference between them. But there are some key distinctions and, as a renter, you should be aware of them.

Below is an overview to give you the scoop on each rental type so you can know what to expect.

Rental Buildings

Some buildings are exclusively for rentals – they are owned and managed by one individual or company. You have the ability to rent the apartment indefinitely, as long as you can pay the increases (and, of course, as long as the building remains a rental).

Typical rental building application fees run anywhere from $75 to $200 per applicant, and approval can be obtained anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for most places, with some buildings having the ability to give same day approvals. Increases in your rent are determined by market forces, unless it is rent regulated.

Condo Buildings

With a condo rental, an individual (or possibly a company) owns the particular unit you are renting. It might have an individual property manager or it may be self managed. It’s possible to rent a condo unit for multiple years, but the exact length of time will depend upon the needs and desires of the owner (for example, they may want to move back in or they may decide to sell it eventually).

Condo applications tend to request more information than your standard rental application, and processing fees have a very wide range – some may be as low as $200 and some may be as high as $1500. But sometimes a portion of the fees is refundable after move-in and once you move-out. The approval process could take 2 to 3 weeks, or longer, but if you’re willing to deal with the longer approval process and the higher application fees, they can potentially be a great deal versus a standard rental.

Co-op Buildings

Similar to a condo rental, an individual usually owns the particular co-op unit you are renting. It also might have an individual property manager or it may be self managed. However, unlike condo rentals, the length of lease is determined by co-op sublet rules – you may only be able to rent for 1 to 2 years, or you might be able to rent for several years in a row. It’s important to have your agent ask about the maximum number of renewals before proceeding with an application. And of course, there is the chance that the owner may want to move back or sell the unit.

Like condo applications, co-op applications tend to require more information and documentation than standard rental application but many co-op boards also require you to do an in person interview. Processing fees also have a wide range, a portion of which may be refundable after you move in and after you move out. The approval process can take at least 4 to 6 weeks. But again, if you’re willing to deal with a longer process and higher application fees, you may get better pricing than a comparable standard rental or condo rental.

So – which one of these should you go for? It all depends on your circumstances. If you don’t have the time (or patience) to wait for an answer on approval, then you’re probably better off going with a standard rental. But if you have the time to spare, condo and co-op rentals can be great options.

Still have questions about renting? Feel free to reach out to me via the contact form below. I’m always happy to help!




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