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Old 05-16-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Just some background: My wife is Russian, and I lived in Russia for many years.
Our last apartment in Russia was apprx. 550 square feet, and all four of us lived in that apartment quite comfortably. If you have been to Russia, you'd probably know that this is a common scenario there. What I'm saying is that we are accustomed to living in what most Americans would call cramped conditions.

Now we are looking at moving to NYC (specifically Riverdale, Bronx). Assuming our salary/credit, etc. check out, would it be difficult to find a landlord or co-op that would let a family of four move into a one-bedroom apartment of, say, 800 square feet? Are there any city statutes, etc, that would prevent a family of four from moving into such a place? (Our children are 5 and 18 months, BTW.)

We are a quite active family, so we are more interested in having a convenient, safe location than we are in having a large place to live -- we spend most of our time outside of the home; yes, even in winter :-)

I appreciate your insight. Thank you.

P.S. I just thought I'd add that my wife and I would sleep in one room, while the living room would be used as a bedroom for the kids/living room. Just so it's clear how that'd work out.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Riverdale, New York
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Unless you find a landlord that is very laid back with that arrangement, you will need to find at least a two bedroom, as they are quite strict here with knowing how many people will be occupying the apartment. Why are you particularly targeting Riverdale? I know the area has some Russians here but there are other Russian neighborhoods that would perhaps be better for the arrangement that you want to set up.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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Grosvenor, I will be working at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, which is in Riverdale, and I prefer to live as close to work as possible.
According to this link, which I just found, each person in the apartment must have 80 square feet of living space http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resou...sub3/art4.html .

Therefore my search seems to be, at least, legal. (Disclosure, I'm not sure if that's up-to-date or not.) Whether or not landlords/co-ops would be kosher with it, on the other hand, is another matter. This is why I'm asking here.

I have looked at two-bedrooms and, ironically, many of those are 900 sq feet. I find it absurd to spend $400-500 more per month on 100 extra sq feet, particularly when we are accustomed to much smaller spaces.

(If it matters, we would live in this arrangement for a maximum of a year or two. By then, our baby will require more space and we'll either buy bigger or rent bigger.)

I certainly appreciate your reply and hope to learn more. Thank you.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Riverdale, New York
1,283 posts, read 2,074,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpv View Post
Grosvenor, I will be working at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, which is in Riverdale, and I prefer to live as close to work as possible.
According to this link, which I just found, , each person in the apartment must have 80 square feet of living space. Therefore my search seems to be, at least, legal. (Disclosure, I'm not sure if that's up-to-date or not.) Whether or not landlords/co-ops would be kosher with it, on the other hand, is another matter. This is why I'm asking here.

I have looked at two-bedrooms and, ironically, many of those are 900 sq feet. I find it absurd to spend $400-500 more per month on 100 extra sq feet, particularly when we are accustomed to much smaller spaces.

(If it matters, we would live in this arrangement for a maximum of a year or two. By then, our baby will require more space and we'll either buy bigger or rent bigger.)

I certainly appreciate your reply and hope to learn more. Thank you.
I understand. The neighborhood has remained stable because of the tight screening practices in place. I personally don't believe that co-op boards or landlords here would be kosher with it and would require you to list how many people would be living in the apartment. From what I know it certainly isn't normal here. Riverdale is very family oriented and over the last few years there have been more buildings going up to accommodate large families such as the one you have who would like to have an urban sort of living in a suburban setting, so there would be no need from a landlord's point of view for a family such as the one you have to squeeze into a one bedroom.

I have a few friends that live in co-ops here and I don't think they would be fond of the idea of an entire family living above them in a one bedroom. There's just a certain stigma to it that as far as I'm concerned isn't the norm here. Have you lived anywhere else in New York City where this was permitted?

Last edited by Grosvenor; 05-16-2013 at 02:58 PM..
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:59 PM
 
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I've never lived in NYC, period :-)

I have just got this job at the College, and we will be moving up there in a couple of weeks' time. Fortunately, I have some weeks to find a place once we're there, as my company will be paying for accommodation in a hotel for up to a month.
I understand the 'stigma' of which you speak. I was hoping that perhaps two educated professionals would be able to make it work with a landlord or co-op, if given the opportunity to 'plead' our preference (it is a preference for us more than a necessity). I'm hopeful we can find (and afford) a two-bedroom in the area, which seems to be quiet and to have good schools.
I do take issue with the idea that because a family chooses to live in a smaller home that they aren't seen as 'family oriented'. An excellent case could easily be made to contrary, I think. It is my perception that much of this has to do with keeping up appearances and downright snobbery. (I recognize the possibility of uncouth neighbors stuffing their whole extended families into studio apartments, so I do understand the idea.) Alas, I am just ranting and it won't change anything.

I really appreciate your opinion on this, Grosvenor, and if you know any convenient, affordable two-beds near the College please let me know! :-)
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Riverdale, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpv View Post
I've never lived in NYC, period :-)

I have just got this job at the College, and we will be moving up there in a couple of weeks' time. Fortunately, I have some weeks to find a place once we're there, as my company will be paying for accommodation in a hotel for up to a month.
I understand the 'stigma' of which you speak. I was hoping that perhaps two educated professionals would be able to make it work with a landlord or co-op, if given the opportunity to 'plead' our preference (it is a preference for us more than a necessity). I'm hopeful we can find (and afford) a two-bedroom in the area, which seems to be quiet and to have good schools.
I do take issue with the idea that because a family chooses to live in a smaller home that they aren't seen as 'family oriented'. An excellent case could easily be made to contrary, I think. It is my perception that much of this has to do with keeping up appearances and downright snobbery. (I recognize the possibility of uncouth neighbors stuffing their whole extended families into studio apartments, so I do understand the idea.) Alas, I am just ranting and it won't change anything.

I really appreciate your opinion on this, Grosvenor, and if you know any convenient, affordable two-beds near the College please let me know! :-)
It's just that here the residents are generally upper middle class and so the issue of paying a little more for say a two bedroom wouldn't be looked at as such a problem. My recommendation would be to look in Northern Riverdale since you'll be working there. North Riverdale is generally cheaper than the area I'm in and Central and South Riverdale. You may be able to find a two bedroom and that may not be looked upon as such a problem if you will. However, if you decide to look in that area of Riverdale, I would recommend getting a car as walkability to amenities becomes a bit more of a challenge. Best of luck with your search and I'm here if you have any questions!
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,895 posts, read 21,625,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpv View Post
Just some background: My wife is Russian, and I lived in Russia for many years.
Our last apartment in Russia was apprx. 550 square feet, and all four of us lived in that apartment quite comfortably. If you have been to Russia, you'd probably know that this is a common scenario there. What I'm saying is that we are accustomed to living in what most Americans would call cramped conditions.

Now we are looking at moving to NYC (specifically Riverdale, Bronx). Assuming our salary/credit, etc. check out, would it be difficult to find a landlord or co-op that would let a family of four move into a one-bedroom apartment of, say, 800 square feet? Are there any city statutes, etc, that would prevent a family of four from moving into such a place? (Our children are 5 and 18 months, BTW.)

We are a quite active family, so we are more interested in having a convenient, safe location than we are in having a large place to live -- we spend most of our time outside of the home; yes, even in winter :-)

I appreciate your insight. Thank you.

P.S. I just thought I'd add that my wife and I would sleep in one room, while the living room would be used as a bedroom for the kids/living room. Just so it's clear how that'd work out.
You will find a place.Some landlords and probably most co op boards will balk but the arrangement you want is actually more common than you think.I know numerous families of 3 living in 1 bedroom apartments in some of the best neighborhoods and even know of a few families of 3 living in studio apartments.One of the families of 3 I know lives in a small 1 br on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale.4 people living in a 1 br in NYC is not unheard of at all.Some of my students live in 1 br apartments with siblings,parents and a grand parent !

For your own sanity though you might want to look at what are called jr 4 apartments.They are officially 1 bedrooms but have an extra small room that was designed to be used as a small dining room.They are a bit bigger than most regular bedrooms but smaller than a 2 br.Throughout the city,these apartments are more often used as 2 br apartments and many have 3 and 4 people living in them.A standard 1 br is officially a 3 room apartment,a junior 4 is actually a 3 1/2 room apartment.

Riverdale is a good place to look because there seems to be a permanent glut of rentals and apartments for sale there.Much more than than there is a demand for.It's a great neighborhood but the rentals and co op prices are no higher than in most of the rest of The Bronx because the supply is greater than the demand.

Good luck.

Last edited by bluedog2; 05-16-2013 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,895 posts, read 21,625,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grosvenor View Post
It's just that here the residents are generally upper middle class and so the issue of paying a little more for say a two bedroom wouldn't be looked at as such a problem. .......
That's crazy.I know some young families of 3 living in studio apartments in UES and UWS Manhattan who have incomes in excess of $200,000.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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Thank you, that is fabulous stuff, bluedog2. Actually, the apartment that piqued my interest was one such "Junior 4" apartment. That one is 800 sq feet.
Sanity is a subjective idea (in this context), however, since my wife and I lived with our first son in a 290 sq ft. apartment in Russia for two years: we're still together :-)

I appreciate everyone's input!
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Riverdale, New York
1,283 posts, read 2,074,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedog2 View Post
That's crazy.I know some young families of 3 living in studio apartments in UES and UWS Manhattan who have incomes in excess of $200,000.
My point is you can get far more here for the money than in Manhattan. In fact that's why many families priced out from Manhattan move here because they can get more space because it's more suburban here and thus more affordable. I'm rather baffled as to why the OP would want to squeeze into a one bedroom when it sounds like he can afford a few extra bucks for a two bedroom? Doesn't make any sense to me. If it was Manhattan then I could understand but here you can get a two bedroom that certainly wouldn't break the bank. If he and his wife are both working and he's working at the College of Saint Vincent they obviously aren't doing too terrible to the point to where a few extra hundred dollars a month is going to make them house poor.

A friend of mine is an architect and he rents a co-op along Kappock Street for $1,100 a month. A two bedroom wouldn't be that much more in the range of $1,600 - 2,200 depending on location.
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