A Renter’s Guide to Different Types of Apartments in NYC

By: Abdullah Haroon August 10, 2020

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New York real estate has the heavy work of living up to the demands of the market. To meet the growing requirements, developers do some experiments with the layout to make the best use of the available space as well as to make living better in the given space.

Therefore, it is far better to know some of the most common types of buildings before moving on to buy one.

  • Apartment types in term of ownership:


The word ‘condo’ is widely used instead of its full form “condominium”. It is a residence owned by an individual homeowner or family in a building or community with multiple units or townhouses. Condos share common areas such as yards, garages, tennis courts, swimming pools, hallways, and lobbies. The unit’s owner may accept the rental application which later reviewed by the condo board.


It is different from the condo in terms as when you buy a co-op, you don’t own your specific unit instead you own shares of a co-op corporation that owns the building. Shareholders are supposed to pay monthly fees against building expenses including property taxes, utilities, insurance, and staff salaries. The downside is that the process to purchase the co-op is very tough and it takes more time to finalize the deal.

  • Apartment types in terms of layout 

1-Classic six:

The typical layout for this type of apartment is a formal dining room, a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a maid’s suite. Most of the time, classic six apartments include at least two bathrooms.

The classic seven follows the same floor plan with an additional bedroom.

2Duplex apartment:

These apartments have two separate floors connected by a private, interior staircase. They are likely to be found in reconfigured townhouses where two units are combined in newer luxury developments.

3-Floor through:

This is a type of apartment that covers the entire floor of a building. Typically, a floor setting where it runs from the front of the building to the back is known as a floor-through apartment.

 4Garden apartment:

The layout for this type of apartment may vary but the presence of a garden area in the rear of the apartment is a must. It may be shared with other tenants or may be accessible only by those in garden-level units. They are found on the bottom floor of a townhouse


A studio is in vogue these days given the rising prices of real estate in NYC. It is an apartment with a one-room space and a separate bathroom. The kitchen is not separated in the majority of the studio apartments but sometimes, a studio with a separate kitchen can be found.

6-Junior one:

This is slightly larger than a studio or a one-bedroom apartment with a small room or alcove. It is not necessary to have a door separating it from the rest of the unit. A separate place can be used as a sleeping space.

7-Junior four:

This type of apartment has one bedroom but four separate rooms used as a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. The fourth room is commonly used as an office or sleeping area. As it is not likely to have a window that does not qualify it officially to be called a second bedroom.


It has a large, opening space with high ceilings. They have exposed pipes and beams. It used to be found in the industrial area but the style has become so popular that many new condos and co-ops are constructed with loft-style floor plans.

9-Micro apartments:

According to the law, all New York City apartments must be at least 400 square feet.

In 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg created an exception and micro apartments were introduced. They usually cover an area of 260- to 360-square-feet with big windows, ample storage, kitchenettes, and Juliet balconies.

10-One-bedroom apartment:

It simply is an apartment with one bedroom. The bedroom has to qualify the official standards set for the room. It has to have a window, a closet, and a door and enough room for a bed and dresser.


As the name indicates, the apartment has two bedrooms with a proper separation and each room fulfills the standard definition of a room. A bedroom has to have a window that opens to the street or the garden or courtyard. If the room does not have a window, it does not qualify to be called a bedroom in the legal term.


It is typically found near the top floor in luxury apartments in high-rise buildings. In the past, they were structures located on the roof of a building. But it no longer has the same definition. It is seen that some buildings now have multiple penthouses spanning their top two to three floors.


They were built before World War II. They are larger with an elevator in buildings. They can be frequently found on the Upper West and Upper East Sides.

The prewar apartment can be recognized from a distance because of its thick walls, crown moldings, and other architectural details.

14-Railroad Apartment:

As the name suggests, an apartment that has a layout with one room leading directly into another is known as a railroad apartment. You are supposed to walk through a bedroom to get to the kitchen, or through the kitchen to get to the bathroom as there are no separate hallways in the floor plan.


It’s a unit in a building with no elevator. In other words, you have to walk up and down through the stairs. The buildings less than six floors offer a walk-up apartment. By law, Buildings with more than six floors must have an elevator.

The bottom line:

It is not a big deal if you are buying a home somewhere else but if you wish to deal in NYC real estate, you need to get a good grasp of various types of properties. It would give you insight on whether a recipe is good, or not.