BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
“Usable square feet” refers to the area within a property that can be utilized for various purposes, such as living space, working space, or other functional uses. In the context of New York City (NYC) condos and co-ops, the term “usable square feet” is often used to describe the interior space of a residential unit that can be occupied and used by the residents. However, it’s important to understand how this concept is used and interpreted within the NYC real estate market:
- Definition and Calculation:
Usable square feet include areas within the unit that are considered habitable and functional. It generally excludes spaces such as exterior walls, common building areas, mechanical rooms, and structural columns. The calculation of usable square feet can vary between buildings and developments.
- Published Square Footage:
In NYC condos and co-ops, the usable square footage is often provided in property listings, marketing materials, and offering plans. It’s intended to give potential buyers an idea of the interior space available within the unit.
- Verified Measurements:
For buyers or renters interested in a particular unit, it’s advisable to independently verify the square footage through professional measurement services. Discrepancies can arise between published square footage and actual measurements.
- Building Standards and Conventions:
Different buildings may use varying standards for calculating usable square footage. Some buildings might measure to the exterior walls, while others might measure to the centerline of shared walls. It’s important to understand the specific convention used in the building.
- Offering Plan Disclosure:
In NYC, condo offering plans must disclose the total square footage of each unit. However, the disclosure might not always distinguish between usable square footage and common areas, so careful reading and interpretation are necessary.
- Rentable Square Feet:
In some instances, especially in commercial real estate, you might come across the term “rentable square feet,” which includes not only the usable space within a unit but also a proportionate share of common areas and building amenities.
- Legal Recourse for Misrepresentation:
If there’s a significant discrepancy between the published usable square footage and the actual measurement, buyers or renters might have legal recourse for misrepresentation or false advertising.
- Engaging Professionals:
Before making a purchase or signing a lease, it’s wise to engage the services of professionals who can provide accurate measurements and ensure that you’re fully aware of the usable space you’ll be getting.
When dealing with usable square feet in NYC condos and co-ops, due diligence is key. Always verify measurements and consult legal and real estate professionals to ensure you have a clear understanding of the space you’ll be purchasing or renting.
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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