Brooklyn rental apartments in some of the borough’s most sought-after neighborhoods sometimes come with issues unique to brownstone & small-building living. In communities such as Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights–basically, the area that’s informally known as “Brownstone Brooklyn”–one common type of Brooklyn apartment can be found within multi-family brownstones or townhouses, or in similarly-sized buildings, managed and leased by small landlords.
These can be lovely apartments in Brooklyn, and the neighborhoods are terrific, but there are definitely challenges and opportunities that don’t come up if you were living in, say, a 500-unit fully-loaded luxury tower in Midtown Manhattan. Things to consider include possibly having to use a laundromat or drop-off service, where you will get packages delivered, will I go to the gym if it’s not located downstairs, and more.
If you’re thinking of moving into a Brownstone Brooklyn rental apartment, one of the best places we know of to get a feel for brownstone living has to be the website Brownstoner: Brooklyn Inside and Out. Although much of the real estate emphasis here is on Brooklyn houses and apartments for sale, there is some rental news, and in its coverage of neighborhood goings-on, it offers an interesting portrait of everyday life in this part of town.
One of our favorite features here is the Brownstoner Forum, which often has lively discussions of rental apartment issues. Recent examples include:
If you’re renting a garden-access brownstone apartment (which is often the case, as many brownstone owners rent out the first floor, and live above you on the second and third), does your lease make explicit demands about the upkeep and maintenance of your yard? If so, are your prepared to water and prune?
What about if your landlord, living either above or below you, smokes, and it’s blowing into your home? What are your rights? How do you deal with the situation in a non-explosive, mutually satisfactory way? The last thing you want is a protracted battle with someone who’s both your landlord AND your nearest neighbor.
And who’s responsible for paying for such things as broken fixtures, scraped-up floors, or other damages that could be attributed to tenant neglect, or could be seen as normal wear-and-tear? Should it come out your security deposit, or should the landlord pay, as part of routine maintenance? Again, when your landlord is your neighbor, everyone wants to find a fair, amicable solution.
Anyway, there’s always something interesting going on at Brownstoner, whether you’re a current resident of a Brooklyn rental apartment, or are thinking of making a move into “Brownstone Brooklyn.”