THIS UWS APARTMENT IS SO SMALL, THE BROKER EVEN JOKES ABOUT IT

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As any Upper West Sider who has looked for an apartment knows, brokers have lots of words to make tiny apartments seem more appealing — Cozy! Quaint! Homey!

But one apartment at 114 West 71st street that just hit the market is so small — just 100 square feet — one broker just accepted it and had some fun. Frankly, it’s pretty amusing.

– This apartment is so small, you can’t have three friends over at the same time; one of you will have to wait outside in the hall.

– It’s so small you can’t gain weight once you move in.

– It’s so small there’s a bumper on the front door to keep it from hitting the back wall.

– It’s so small you have to move the bed just to open and close the front door.

(He notes that none of these things are literally true.) The apartment has no kitchen or stove, a shower in the bedroom and the bathroom is “separated” from the bedroom with a purple curtain. It’s a fourth-floor walkup too. For $1,100, it can be yours. The broker notes that it’s the lowest possible price you can pay to move into the West 70’s these days.

“And look at the bright sides of such an apartment: 4th floor walkup means you’ll stay in shape; no separate kitchen area or stove means no dishes to clean; and an apartment this cheap means the 15% broker fee is still under $2000. Where can you find THAT in this area? :)”

We last wrote about the apartment here. Judging from the rental history, not many people can seem to last there for very long.

For more on tiny UWS apartments, click here.

Hat-tip to Curbed.

100 feet3

    1. joe says:

      I’d be embarrassed to have company in this shole

    2. b47 says:

      Is this apartment even legal to rent? From the rent guidelines board:
      In a multiple dwelling erected prior to April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine and altered pursuant to plans filed on or after December ninth, nineteen hundred fifty-five:

      At least one living room in an apartment and any room used for single room occupancy shall have a minimum floor area of one hundred fifty square feet.

      I’m making the assumption that it was built before 1929 and altered after 1955.

      See the full text here:
      http://www.nycrgb.org/html/resources/hmc/sub3/art4.html

      • whatsupduck says:

        Thank you for posting your comment. I had the same thought!

        • RF says:

          WSR, I’m wondering about this as well. In your previous entry on this apartment, you state that it does not have a window–I thought all apartments were required to have at least one? Or does the skylight count?

          • West Sider says:

            Good question, one we should look into before answering though. WSR

            • RF says:

              Thanks! I’d love to read the follow-up on this one. I know that legal bedrooms are required to have a window (so you can’t, say, rent out your walk-in closet to a roommate) so it makes sense that the same would be true for a studio apartment, since the only room IS the bedroom. I’m curious about the answer to b47’s question about square footage, too.

    3. S. Louie says:

      This should be illegal for human consumption. I don’t know if this is even adequate space for an animal.

      This is why we need affordable housing…and this is why rent regulation MUST continue!!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        agreed!!!

      • bravo soldier says:

        So that generation after generation of tenants hoard the apartments, creating artificial shortage and by doing that inflating the market price rents. Great. Don’t you guys see the idiocy of this? Market price rents would DROP like a rock if there is a healthy supply of formerly hoarded apartments. The rent control is the best gift to landlords: it creates severe shortage and keeps the market underserved. Don’t you understand the math?

        • Cato says:

          And tell us, please, where the people — human beings, families — who currently live in the rent-stabilized and -controlled apartments will go the minute after you have made it impossible for them live in their homes any longer by doubling or tripling their rents?

          Where will they go? Answer that, please, before telling us how great it will be for everyone else. Where will those people go?

          • bravo soldier says:

            Nothing happens overnight, no night patrol breaking the door to throw people out. So your chest-beating does not apply. If rent control is abolished, the rents will come down and stabilize within 6 months. Plenty of apartments for everyone for an affordable median rent. Imagine that.
            It’s been done. Like, all over the world. Successfully…

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              these are pro-landlord fabrications.

              tenants have not “hoarded” apartments. a rent stabilized apartment MUST be your primary residence. the rules on this are very strict. and the landlords WILL bring you to court. they have superior legal resources.

              if rent stabilization is a “gift” to landlords, then why do they do everything possible to get apts out of the system? why do the landlord groups lobby so hard against rent stabilization?

              as for prices “dropping like a rock” — the experiment has been tried — right here on the UWS. a very large number of apts have come out of the system in the last 10 years. prices have skyrocketed.

            • Christina says:

              NYC is not like other cities around the world! So don’t think because it’s been done elsewhere it can be done here!

            • Christina says:

              Absolutely right Bruce!

            • maryjane says:

              ask the people in Boston or Frisco how they feel

            • NativeNYer says:

              Really? Landlords were given vacancy decontrol and the rents have gone through the roof.
              These insane rents all began with Mayor Ed Koch, who said: “You can’t expect to live and work here,” while he maintained a rent controlled apartment in the Village, and eventually gave it up. He received millions of dollars from landlords to finance his campaigns. So please, Bravo Soldier, you’re full of bravo sierra.

    4. Tom Falco says:

      It’s rent a closet. Like you rent a space to park your car? Well this place you rent to store your things. It’s a storage unit.

    5. your worst nightmare says:

      it’s so small…

      “how small is it…?”

      it’s so small, if you put the key in the front door, you break the back window.

    6. Bruce Bernstein says:

      we are going backwards to tenement-like conditions… only with outrageous price tags!!

      in Queens and Brooklyn and CHinatown, people are living 10 to a room, sleeping on bunk beds in shifts.

      and yet some want to give even more power to the landlords and developers.

    7. your worst nightmare says:

      it’s so small…

      “how small is it…?”

      it’s so small you have to go out in the hall to change your mind.

    8. Eddie says:

      It is also likely zoned for a very good elementary school (PS 199?) so a family in a bad school zone could use it as their home address to get into a much better school.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        … an upper-middle class (or upper-upper middle class) family… no working class or middle class family can spend $1,100 per month like that. plus utils.

        • Eddie says:

          I know many middle class families who would beg, borrow or steal $12k to rent this apartment for a year to guarantee their child a spot in a great elementary school for grades k-5 (and give a younger sibling a strong chance of getting in through sibling preference) when the alternative is a failing school or paying $40k a year for private.

    9. Off Duty says:

      And I thought my 800 sq. ft. apartment was small.

    10. C says:

      This is what you get when you combine a highly desirable neighborhood with very aggressive rent regulations. I wonder if the renter if this unit has a nice northerly view into the apartment of my neighbor, who pays $800 per month for a 1600 sq ft 2BR, but winters in the Caribbean and summers upstate.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        while cases like this exist, they are rarer and rarer, and I have to question this anecdote from an anonymous commenter. Rent stabilized apartments go up in rent year after year. Some rent stabilized and rent controlled apts do not rise, when they are occupied by seniors with under $50K annual household income. this also applies to disabled.

        so the commenter is describing a low income senior who somehow is vacationing in the Caribbean and “summers” upstate.

        also, i don’t know what my neighbors pay in rent or mortgage. How does this commenter know what his/her neighbor pays?

        the anecdote could be true but i have abundant skepticism. it sounds like more demonizing of people living under rent stabilization.

    11. Daniel says:

      This is totally absurd.

    12. Jane says:

      “Market rate” rents are high because landlords are greedy and want to squeeze as much profit from a building as they can. Luxury rental buildings have empty apartments for the same reason; landlords would rather have empty apartments than lower the rents. The solution is to adopt the methods of the union-sponsored Penn South buildings in Chelsea: people get apartments whose size is based on the number in the family, and the rent is based upon income. So the same size apartment will be rented to, say, two families with different incomes at two different rent prices. This is socialism at its best! Penn South also has a very vibrant community of singles, couples, and families of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. This ought to be a model for the rest of the city. For one thing, it really narrows the gap between the haves and have-nots. Socialism (not communism, folks, relax!) could be what saves our city!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Jane, thanks for pointing out the sensible solutions to affordable housing that have been used in this city in the past. Penn South is just one of many models, including public housing, a variety of sale-price limited co-ops like Penn South, and even private middle income developments like Stuy Town (before the private equity vultures started flipping it) and PArkchester. Mitchell -Lama is another model that worked but turned out to have too short a time frame.

      • anon says:

        that is an excellent way to incentivize people to work under the table and cheat the system…or to work and earn less.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          i suppose you could argue that any progressive income tax does that. Or any income tax, for that matter.

          hiding your income is against the law. there are always economic incentives to do so. that is why we have legal “incentives” to not do so.

    13. Jean says:

      It looks like a maid’s room in a typical pre war.

    14. SK says:

      I do enjoy that the listing includes information about the schools that are zoned for the apartment. Wouldn’t you want to make very sure that the two children you share this apartment with receive the best education Manhattan has to offer?

      Though much as we joke, having done pro bono legal work at a housing clinic in the City, I have actually seen much worse – imagine each room in a 2-bedroom apartment rented out (obviously completely illegally) to a separate family, a mother with a baby asking if we could help her sue to move out of the kitchen into the dining room because the fumes in the kitchen were giving her newborn a rash. There was another family already living in the dining room. And while her rent wasn’t quite $1000, she was paying a few hundred dollars a month.

      Granted, no cooking fumes in this stoveless UWS apartment, but it’s still painfully cynical to see this on a broker’s website.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        thank you for highlighting what the affordable housing crisis is doing to people in NYC with some stories “from the trenches.” we all have to continue to post here to combat the propaganda from the pro-landlord people, who want to do away with rent stabilization entirely and scoff at the entire concept of “affordable housing.” if not corrected, this crisis will certainly strangle New York.

      • DMH says:

        What are the legal responses to a landlord who rents an illegal apartment? Or to a broker who collects a brokers fee for one? The idea of a brokers fee for an apartment that isn’t legally habitable makes me madder than anything.

        • Jane says:

          Landlords who try to rent illegal
          apartments” like this one should be outed — as in this column — and publicly shamed. Same for the broker. Have some time to spare? Demonstrate outside the building in question and the broker’s office in order to alert potential customers. Greedheads need to see that their cynical and abusive practices are NOT profitable! Believe me, one day of public shaming and the bad publicity that will result will make these guys change their ways!

        • SK says:

          Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple when you are dealing with the people living in and dependent on this housing. As a lawyer, even if I am working under the “public interest” header, I am legally and ethically bound by my client’s interest.

          So in the particular story I shared, the last thing our client wanted was to be homeless, which is what would have happened if we had reported the situation. I am very proud of a lot of the work that particular organization did in keeping poor immigrant tenants in their apartments in the face of highly abusive tactics by landlords trying to get them out. The story of this client was a heartbreaking not-so-proud moment, but there was nothing we could do for her that would have left her better off. I think of her often.

          So to answer your question, I personally am actually more for a high-level policy fix to the housing crisis – before there aren’t more and suitable places for displaced tenants to go, advocates going landlord by landlord need to be very aware of the potential consequences for vulnerable tenants in each situation. Public and legal pressure on the landlord can make a building habitable again if it was infested by rodents or didn’t have properly working plumbing, I have seen protests work miracles in that area. But if the publicity ends up getting the building condemned or if the apartments are too small to be habitable or house too many people, we are suddenly dealing with displaced families. So in my opinion, these situations require a more comprehensive approach. But they do require it urgently.

    15. Liz says:

      Isn’t there a provision in the rent laws that says no apt. in NYC can be less than 450 sq. ft.?

      $1,200 for a space the size of a locker at a bus terminal — only in NYC. Right.

      My UWS apt. is about 250 sq. ft. with no kitchen and no corners with useable space. It seems every conceivable support beam in the bldg. goes thru my apt.

      Even my closet is cut in half with a support beam that goes right down the middle of it. I jokingly say that the closet in my apt is so small it makes the lavatory in coach on a 737 look spacious.

      Ah!!! the joys of living in NYC. Amazingly, the cells in Rikers Island are larger than many apts. in NYC.