NYC Building Types

NYC Buildings 2024

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Building Types

New York City has three basic types of apartment buildings. Some NYC neighborhoods are known more for a type of building. The Upper West Side is know for it's beautiful brownstone walk up buildings. The Upper East Side is known for it's full service doorman buildings.

The three main types of NYC apartment buildings are full service/doorman, elevator and walk up.

Full Service/Doorman

These are the biggest and the grandest of all the buildings in NYC. The apartments are modern and clean in finish. They offer the highest level of security and service therefore convenience and comfort are easily attained. The services range from full time doormen, roof deck, gym, laundry facilities to swimming pool and children's playroom. Not all services are available in each building although they all have doormen and laundry.


Elevator buildings do not have a doorman or the same services as a full service/doorman building. These buildings may have a laundry facility and tend to be a bit better quality than a walk up building. They cost less than a full service building but more than a walk up.

Walk Up

Walk Up buildings do not have doormen or elevators. You will take the stairs to "walk up" to your apartment. The advantage of these buildings is character and space for price.  The buildings can have 4 or 5 floors and offer the most affordable apartments in the city. There is a great variety in these building's apartments depending on how the landlord has maintained the building and renovated the apartments.

Building Owners

Although buildings may look the same from the outside the way they are owned and managed may be completely different. The time line for renting can vary from 1 day to over a month depending on the type of ownership structure..

There are 3 primary types of building ownership.

Rental Building

This is when a landlord owns the whole building. The rental process from application to signing a lease and moving in can take from one day to a week. The buildings can be walk ups or large full service buildings and the management can manage from one to twenty five buildings. There is a minimal processing charge, application fee, for applying for apartments.


A condo building is a building made up from individual owners and investors that may own more than one apartment in the building. The building is managed by a management company that handles rentals and sales. From application for an apartment rental to move the timeline may take two to four weeks. There are extra fees associated with an application and board package for consideration by the Board of Directors. Your board package will have more detailed personal information than an application package for an apartment in a rental building. The main difference between a condo and coop regarding a rental application is the management does not have the right to decline a qualified applicant the owner has approved.


A coop is a building comprised of individual owners,not investors, who may rent their apartments if the coop board allows them to, then only for a year or two. The coop board usually requires detailed paperork and a personal interview with prospective tenants. The coop board has the right to refuse an applicant even if the owner has approved them. The application process can take more than a month and after the coop board interview there is still a risk you might not get the apartment. There are additional fees associated with an application and board package.

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