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What is a True Two-Bedroom Apartment?

When searching for rentals in NYC, you will often see or hear the term “true two-bedroom,” or “true three-bedroom.” What's with all the "truth" talk?

It’s about bedrooms and whether they are truly, honestly legal bedrooms. In NYC, it’s all too common to see listings touting a second, third or fourth bedroom when it’s really an oversized nook with a screen to create privacy. That’s why the phrase “true bedroom” was invented.

Definition of a true bedroom

For a rental to be truly considered a two-bedroom rental, each room needs to have a window, a closet, a door and enough room for a bed and dresser. (See definition of a legal bedroom).

Ideally those two bedrooms would be of equal sizes and one bedroom cannot be used to pass through to get to the other bedroom.

How do you know if it's a true two-bedroom?

Get a floor plan. While photos can reveal a good deal about the quality of an apartment, they sometimes fail to represent size of a room and how it’s connected to the rest of the apartment. (See importance of a floor plan in NYC).

Ask the agent for a floor plan or find it online. Be especially cautious of railroad apartments that may have started as a one-bedroom, but were converted to two, with a door accessing one bedroom to the next. This is OK for families with children or couples, but it’s not a great living arrangement for roommates.

New developments will often offer true two-bedrooms, but those ideal layouts come at premium prices.  You may also have luck finding more affordable true two-bedroom layouts in large prewar co-op buildings on the Upper West and Upper East Side.

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