Open Phones: Rental Ad Glossary

Friday, May 10, 2013

Furnished Apartment for Rent (Turkey Chik/flickr)

When a rental ad says "cozy apartment with laid back roommates" does that actually mean “closet for rent in apartment full of potheads?” Help us create a glossary to decipher rental ad language. In your search for decent affordable housing in New York, what have you learned about what certain language in the ads really means? We want your definitions based on your horror stories of misleading rental ads for all those people scouring Craigslist for decent place to live. Call 212-433-9692 or comment here. (h/t: We were inspired to talk about the world of misleading ads by the viral tumblr page "The Worst Room" - if you haven't seen it, you should!)

When "Cozy" Means Small: An NYC Apartment Ad Glossary

Here are some of our favorite submissions that came in on-air, online, and though social media. Keep posting yours in the comments section!

  • "Old-world" = Old.
  • "Cozy" = Small.
  • "Prefer someone who works during the day" = You should never be home. (caller Mary)
  • "Into community living" = I will drink your milk. (caller Mary)
  • "Clean and Quiet" = Control Freak. (usually) (caller Mary)
  • "Please provide pay-stubs" = No artists. (caller Mary)
  • "Much much more!" = There's nothing else. (Jenny on FB)
  • "Classic" = Old and uncomfortable in snotty neighborhood. (Rose on FB)
  • "Courtyard View" = View of the back of another building with small concrete enclosure below. (Tristan on FB)
  • "Loft Room Share" = You better be okay with hipster partying
  • "Luxurious Heating and Air Conditioning" = Working heat and a/c
  • "420 Friendly" = We smoke pot.
  • "I am a 32yr old professional, very clean and neat, very respectful of you and your space and extremely easy going. I cook great if you don't mind doing the dishes! I have a very friendly personality and get along with anyone. The place comes with: Free wi-fi, HDTV w/HBO, Landline and use of the place like it's yours (within reason of course)!" = "I'm a serial killer." (Sean on FB)

Comments [19]


'close to..." = less than 1/2 hour walk, and NO room to store your bike

May. 10 2013 01:19 PM
clark from america

businesses take crap lie about what it is or redefine the vocabulary and are permitted by law and standard practice to do it. i see this in every business it is so frustrating and low. why do we allow it? i do appreciate the honesty of those selling garbage but on the other hand they shouldnt be permitted to sell it. and never mind the bs one mans garbage....

May. 10 2013 12:48 PM
cynthia ehrenkrantz

Listening to this program cast my mind back 50 years to ads in the London Observer for a realtor called Roy Brooks who was known as the honest estate agent. I found one of his ads online:

"Do not be misled by the trim exterior of this modest period res with its dirty broken windows; all is not well with the inside. The decor of the nine rooms, some of which hangs inelegantly from the walls, is revolting. Not entirely devoid of plumbing, there is a pathetic kitchen and one cold tap. No bathroom, of course, but Chelsea has excellent public baths. Rain sadly drips through the ceiling on to the oilcloth. The pock-marked basement floor indicates a thriving community of woodworm, otherwise there is not much wrong with the property... Sacrifice 6,750."

His ads were the first things we turned to every Sunday and he became a multi-millionaire with ads like this.

May. 10 2013 12:09 PM

A realtor showed me a south slope aluminum siding
house with the total of about 700 sq feet - when I
said it didn't seem quite worth the asking price of 1.2 million,
she responded with "welll, there's a lot of competition
for " bungalows" in the million dollar range. I thought yes
that's probably true in Venice, Ca where there
are actual bungalows. :)

May. 10 2013 12:03 PM
Bob from Brooklyn

420 friendly = pot heads
ski = cocaine
molly = mdma

May. 10 2013 11:58 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

dboy, I would vote for you every time you post (if I ever bothered to register my fake email account).

May. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Actually Elle - She was ahead of her time?

May. 10 2013 11:55 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Real Estate Agents are greedy a-holes.

May. 10 2013 11:52 AM

This SH*T is NOT funny!!

This is CRIMINAL behavior!!

N O T F U N N Y!!!


May. 10 2013 11:51 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

We had a realtor show us an overpriced apartment with a lovely view of the BQE in Red Hook (when Red Hook definitely was NOT cool) - she called the neighborhood "Carroll Garden West."

May. 10 2013 11:50 AM
juljo from park slope

I saw an apartment billed as "luxury" it was a third floor walk-up with really small rooms.

May. 10 2013 11:50 AM
juljo from park slope

I saw an apartment billed as "luxury" it was a third floor walk-up with really small rooms.

May. 10 2013 11:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm guessing that "loft bed with workstation setup" (or whatever Brian said) means the workstation is under the loft bed.

May. 10 2013 11:50 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Clinton Hill = Bed Stuy

Prospect Heights = Crown Heights

East Williamsburg (and yes - there is an actual East Williamsburg) but it usually means Bushwick.

May. 10 2013 11:48 AM
JFC from Greenpoint

It should be illegal to advertise a room/apartment as being in a particular neighborhood it's not actually in. What happened to false advertising laws?

May. 10 2013 11:44 AM

is it true the pc police have outlawed MASTER room, in favor of owners suite?

May. 10 2013 11:44 AM

Several rooms pictured under "The Worst Room" ( ) — maybe as many as half — are not legal rentals at all.

May. 10 2013 10:16 AM

One easy rule: Deduct 10% or 100 square feet (whichever is greater) from what the broker or landlord advertises. 500 square feet means 400.

May. 10 2013 10:14 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Buyer and Renter Beware: The Real Estate Industry is based on scams.

May. 10 2013 10:02 AM

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