BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
“Rentable square feet” (RSF) is a term commonly used in commercial real estate to denote the total area within a property that is available for rent, including both the usable space occupied by the tenant and a portion of the common areas. However, in the context of NYC condos and co-ops, the concept of RSF is not as relevant as it is in commercial leases. Instead, the focus is usually on the concept of “unit size” or “usable square feet.”
- Usable Square Feet (USF):
Usable square feet refers to the actual interior area of a residential unit, excluding any common areas or shared spaces. It represents the space that the unit owner can use for living and other purposes.
- Common Areas:
In condos and co-ops, common areas such as hallways, elevators, lobbies, and shared amenities are collectively owned by all unit owners and are typically not factored into the saleable or rentable area. Common areas are maintained by the condo or co-op association.
- Saleable Area:
For condos, the saleable area of a unit is typically the sum of the usable square feet of the interior space, plus a proportionate share of any private outdoor spaces (like balconies or terraces). This area is used to determine the price of the unit.
- Co-op Shares:
In co-ops, units are not owned outright but rather represented by shares in the co-op corporation. The size of the unit is often expressed in shares rather than square footage. These shares reflect the value and size of the unit compared to the overall co-op.
- Residential Leasing:
For rental units within condos and co-ops, the leasing process typically focuses on the usable square feet or the overall layout of the unit, rather than concepts like rentable square feet.
- Commercial Leases:
The concept of rentable square feet is more applicable in commercial leasing, where tenants often pay a share of common area maintenance expenses, property taxes, and other building-related costs based on the proportion of the rentable area they occupy.
In summary, while the concept of rentable square feet is used extensively in commercial real estate leasing, it is not typically applied in the same way in the residential context of NYC condos and co-ops. Instead, the emphasis is on the usable square feet and unit size when dealing with residential properties.
Citations, References and Potentially Useful Resources for Further Information:
New York State Constitution
Federal Securities Regulation
New York State Martin Act
New York Condominium Act
New York State Security Regulations
New York Business Corporation Law
New York Limited Liability Company Law
New York Uniform Partnership Act
Federal Internal Revenue Code
New York State Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
New York City Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
Winston Churchill Owners, Inc. v. Regents Real Estate Associates
Board of Managers of the Park Regis Condominium v. Park Regis Owners Corp.
Park Sutton Condominium v. 447 E. 57th St. LLC
28 E. 10th Street Corp. v. Veras
Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v. Munroe
Essex House Condominium v. Marks
The Parc Vendome Condominium v. Atkinson
54-56 Meserole Street Owners Corp. v. Rossi
The Beekman Regent Condominium v. Bottiglieri
Chelsea 19th LLC v. West 19th Street Realty LLC
New York Department of Finance
New York City Department of Buildings
New York City Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
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