An APARTMENT (American English ), FLAT ( British English ) or UNIT ( Australian English ) is a self-contained housing unit (a type of residential real estate ) that occupies only part of a building , generally on a single level. Such a building may be called an _apartment building_, _apartment complex_, _flat complex_, _block of flats_, _tower block _, _high-rise_ or, occasionally _mansion block_ (in British English), especially if it consists of many apartments for rent . In Scotland, it is called a block of flats or, if it is a traditional sandstone building, a _tenement _, which has a pejorative connotation elsewhere. Apartments may be owned by an _owner/occupier_, by leasehold tenure or rented by _tenants_ (two types of housing tenure ).
* 1 Terminology
* 2 Types and characteristics
* 3 Property classes
* 4 History
* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
The term _apartment_ is favored in
Malaysian English , _flat_ often denotes a housing block of 2
rooms with walk-up, no lift, without facilities, typically 5 storeys
tall, and with outdoor parking space, while _apartment_ is more
generic and may also include luxury condominiums . This usage has also
been appearing in
British English where _apartment_ is used by
developers to denote expensive 'flats' in exclusive and expensive
residential areas in, for example, parts of
In Japanese English loanwords , the term _apartment_ is used for lower-income housing and _mansion_ is used for high-end apartments; but both terms refer to what English-speakers regard as an apartment (or condominium) and not the level of luxury of a mansion in English parlance.
Australian English or
New Zealand English , traditionally use the
term _flat_ (although it also applies to any rental property) and more
recently also use the terms _unit_ or _apartment_. In
In the United States, some apartment-dwellers own their units, either as co-ops , in which the residents own shares of a corporation that owns the building or development; or in condominiums , whose residents own their apartments and share ownership of the public spaces. Most apartments are in buildings designed for the purpose, but large older houses are sometimes divided into apartments. The word _apartment_ denotes a residential unit or section in a building. In some locations, particularly the United States, the word connotes a rental unit owned by the building owner, and is not typically used for a condominium.
In the England and Wales, some flat owners own shares in the company that owns the freehold of the building as well as holding the flat under a lease. This arrangement is commonly known as a "share of freehold" flat. The freehold company has the right to collect annual ground rents from each of the flat owners in the building. The freeholder can also develop or sell the building, subject to the usual planning and restrictions that might apply. This situation does not happen in Scotland, where long leasehold of residential property was formerly unusual, and is now impossible.
In some countries the word "unit" is a more general term referring to both apartments and rental business suites . The word 'unit' is generally used only in the context of a specific building; e.g., "This building has three units" or "I'm going to rent a unit in this building", but not "I'm going to rent a unit somewhere". In Australia, a 'unit' refers to flats, apartments or even semi-detached houses. Some buildings can be characterized as 'mixed use buildings', meaning part of the building is for commercial, business, or office use, usually on the first floor or first couple of floors, and one or more apartments are found in the rest of the building, usually on the upper floors.
TYPES AND CHARACTERISTICS
In some parts of the world, the word _apartment_ refers to a new purpose-built self-contained residential unit in a building, whereas the word _flat_ means a converted self-contained unit in an older building. An industrial, warehouse, or commercial space converted to an apartment is commonly called a _loft _, although some modern lofts are built by design. An apartment consisting of the top floor of a high-rise apartment building can be called a _penthouse _.
The smallest self-contained apartments are referred to as STUDIO , EFFICIENCY or BACHELOR apartments in the US, or STUDIO FLAT in the UK. These units usually consist of a large single main room which acts as the living room, dining room and bedroom combined and usually also includes kitchen facilities, with a separate smaller bathroom . A bedsit is a UK variant on single room accommodation which uses bathroom facilities shared with other bedsits. In Korea, the term _one room_ (_wonroom_) refers to a studio apartment.
Moving up from these smaller units are one-bedroom apartments, in which a bedroom is separate from the rest of the apartment, followed by two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc. apartments (apartments with more than three bedrooms are rare in most rental markets). Small apartments often have only one entrance.
Large apartments often have two entrances, perhaps a door in the front and another in the back, or from an underground or otherwise attached parking structure. Depending on the building design, the entrance doors may be connected directly to the outside or to a common area inside, such as a hallway or a lobby.
The term _garden apartment_ is variously defined, following regional practices.
In some locales, a garden apartment complex consists of magnet rise apartment buildings built with landscaped grounds surrounding them. The apartment buildings are often arranged around courtyards that are open at one end. Such a garden apartment shares some characteristics of a townhouse : each apartment has its own building entrance, or shares that entrance via a staircase and lobby that adjoins other units immediately above and/or below it. Unlike a townhouse, each apartment occupies only one level. Such garden apartment buildings are almost never more than three stories high, since they typically lack elevators /lifts. However, the first "garden apartment" buildings in New York, USA, built in the early 1900s, were constructed five stories high. Some garden apartment buildings place a one-car garage under each apartment. The interior grounds are often landscaped.
In other locales, a garden apartment is a unit built at or below grade. The name implies garden apartments have a view or direct access to a garden from the unit, which is not necessarily the case.
In most American West Coast cities, the need for resisting earthquakes at a low building cost results in the construction of many low-rise apartments of wooden frames with thin plaster-board based exterior and interior dry walls, despite sometimes being on as many as three or four levels.
When part of a house is converted for the ostensible use of a
landlord's family member, the unit may be known as an _in-law_
apartment or _granny flat_, though these (sometimes illegally) created
units are often occupied by ordinary renters rather than family
Maisonette (from the French _maisonnette_, meaning "little house") may be used to distinguish dwellings which have their own entrance independent from the rest of a multi-storey block. This is different from flats, which are usually reached through shared entrance doors, stairs or corridors. This definition of maisonette includes smaller maisonettes occupying a single floor of a block, including designs also known as cottage flats and Tyneside flats .
In Milwaukee vernacular architecture , a Polish flat is an existing small house or cottage that has been lifted up to accommodate the creation of a new basement floor housing a separate apartment, then set down again; thus becoming a modest two-story flat.
Most apartments are on one level, which is why they are sometimes referred to as a "flat". An apartment on more than one level with its own internal staircase is often referred to as a "Duplex" - many penthouses are designed along these lines. The use of the term is derived from converting two separate units into one by connecting them with an internal private stair. Two story units in new construction are also sometimes referred to as "townhouses". Otherwise, "duplex " refers to two separate units with a common demising wall or floor-ceiling assembly. Groups of more than two units have corresponding names (Triplex, etc.).
This type of apartment developed in
A "serviced apartment" is any size space for residential living which includes regular maid and cleaning services provided by the rental agent. Serviced apartments or serviced flats developed in the early part of the 20th century and were briefly fashionable in the 1920s and 30s. They are intended to combine the best features of luxury and self-contained apartments, often being an adjunct of a hotel . Like guests semi-permanently installed in a luxury hotel, residents could enjoy the additional facilities such as house keeping, laundry, catering and other services if and when desired.
A feature of these apartment blocks was quite glamorous interiors with lavish bathrooms but no kitchen or laundry spaces in each flat. This style of living became very fashionable as many upper-class people found they could not afford as many live-in staff after the First World War and revelled in a "lock-up and leave" life style that serviced apartment hotels supplied. Some buildings have been subsequently renovated with standard facilities in each apartment, but serviced apartment hotel complexes continue to be constructed. Recently a number of hotels have supplemented their traditional business model with serviced apartment wings, creating privately owned areas within their buildings - either freehold or leasehold .
Apartments may be available for rent furnished, with furniture , or unfurnished into which a tenant moves in with their own furniture. Serviced apartments , intended to be convenient for shorter stays, include soft furnishings and kitchen utensils , and maid service .
On or around the ground floor of the apartment building, a series of mailboxes are typically kept in a location accessible to the public and, thus, to the mail carrier . Every unit typically gets its own mailbox with individual keys to it. Some very large apartment buildings with a full-time staff may take mail from the mailman and provide mail-sorting service. Near the mailboxes or some other location accessible by outsiders, a buzzer (equivalent to a doorbell) may be available for each individual unit. In smaller apartment buildings such as two- or three-flats, or even four-flats, rubbish is often disposed of in trash containers similar to those used at houses. In larger buildings, rubbish is often collected in a common trash bin or dumpster . For cleanliness or minimizing noise, many lessors will place restrictions on tenants regarding smoking or keeping pets in an apartment.
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In the United States, properties are typically in one of four property classes, denoted by a letter grade. These grades are used to help investors and real estate brokers speak a common language so they can understand a property's characteristics and condition quickly. They are as follows:
_Class A_ properties are luxury units. They are usually less than 10 years old and are often new, upscale apartment buildings. Average rents are high, and they are generally in desirable geographic areas. White-collar workers live in them and are usually renters by choice.
_Class B_ properties can be 10 to 25 years old. They are generally well maintained and have a middle class tenant base of both white and blue-collar workers. Some are renters by choice, and others by necessity.
_Class C_ properties were built within the last 30 to 40 years. They generally have blue-collar and low- to moderate-income tenants, and the rents are below market. Many tenants are renters "for life". On the other hand, some of their tenants are just starting out and are likely to work their way up the rental scale as their income rises.
_Class D_ properties house many Section 8 (government-subsidized) tenants. They are generally located in lower socioeconomic areas.
In the Classic Period Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, apartments were not only the standard means of housing the city's population of over 200,000 inhabitants, but show a remarkably even wealth distribution for the entire city, even by contemporary standards. Furthermore, the apartments were inhabited by the general populace as a whole, in contrast to other Pre-Modern socieites, where apartments were limited to housing the lower class members of the society, as with the somewhat contemporary Roman insulae.
Remains of an Ancient Roman apartment block from the early 2nd century AD in Ostia
In ancient Rome , the insulae (singular _insula_) were large
apartment buildings where the lower and middle classes of Romans (the
plebs ) dwelled. The floor at ground level was used for tabernas ,
shops and businesses, with living space on the higher floors. Insulae
in Rome and other imperial cities reached up to ten or more stories,
some with more than 200 stairs. Several emperors , beginning with
During the medieval Arabic-Islamic period , the Egyptian capital of
By the 16th century, the current
Hakka people in southern China adopted communal living structures
designed to be easily defensible, in the form of Weilongwu (围龙屋)
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the concept of the 'flat'
was slow to catch on amongst the British middle classes which
generally followed the north European standard of single family houses
dating far back into history. Those who lived in 'flats' were assumed
to be lower class and somewhat itinerant, renting for example a 'flat
above a shop' as part of a lease agreement for a maid or tradesman .
During the last quarter of the 19th century, as wealth increased,
ideas began to change. Both urban growth and the increase in
population meant that more imaginative housing concepts would be
needed if the middle and upper classes were to maintain a
pied-à-terre in the capital. The traditional
The first mansion flats in England were:
* Albert Mansions, which Philip Flower constructed and James Knowles
designed. These flats were constructed between 1867 and 1870, and were
one of the earliest blocks of flats to fill the vacant spaces of the
newly-laid out Victoria Street at the end of the 1860s. Today, only a
sliver of the building remains, next to the
Victoria Palace Theatre .
Albert Mansions was really 19 separate "houses", each with a staircase
serving one flat per floor. Its tenants included Sir Arthur Sullivan
and Lord Alfred Tennyson , whose connections with the developer's
family were long-standing. Philip Flower's son, 1st Baron Cyril Flower
Battersea , developed most of the mansion blocks on Prince of Wales
In London, by the time of the 2011 census, 52% of all homes were flats.
During the 19th century tenements became the predominant type of new
Tenements today are bought by a wide range of social types, including
young professionals, older retirees , and by absentee landlords ,
often for rental to students after they leave halls of residence
managed by their institution. The National Trust for
Many multi-storey tower blocks were built in the UK after the Second
World War . A number of these are being demolished and replaced with
low-rise buildings or housing estates known in
In Glasgow, where Scotland's highest concentration of tenement
dwellings can be found, the urban renewal projects of the 1950s, 1960s
and 1970s brought an end to the city's slums, which had primarily
consisted of older tenements built in the early 19th century in which
large extended families would live together in cramped conditions.
They were replaced by high-rise blocks that, within a couple of
decades, became notorious for crime and poverty. The Glasgow
Corporation made many efforts to improve the situation, most
successfully with the City Improvement Trust, which cleared the slums
of the old town, replacing them with what they thought of as a
traditional high street, which remains an imposing townscape. (The
City Halls and the
Cleland Testimonial were part of this scheme.)
National government help was given following
World War I
Post Second World War, more ambitious plans, known as the Bruce Plan , were made for the complete evacuation of slums to modern mid-rise housing developments on the outskirts of the city. However, central government refused to fund the plans, preferring instead to depopulate the city to a series of New Towns. Again, economic considerations meant that many of the planned "New Town" amenities were never built in these areas. These housing estates, known as "schemes", came therefore to be widely regarded as unsuccessful; many, such as Castlemilk , were just dormitories well away from the centre of the city with no amenities, such as shops and public houses ("deserts with windows", as Billy Connolly once put it). High rise living too started off with bright ambition—the Moss Heights, built in the 1950s, are still desirable—but fell prey to later economic pressure. Many of the later tower blocks were poorly designed and cheaply built and their anonymity caused some social problems.
In 1970 a team from
Strathclyde University demonstrated that the old
tenements had been basically sound, and could be given new life with
replumbing providing modern kitchens and bathrooms. The Corporation
acted on this principle for the first time in 1973 at the _Old Swan
Pollokshaws . Thereafter, _Housing Action Areas_ were set up
to renovate so-called slums. Later, privately owned tenements
benefited from government help in "stone cleaning", revealing a
honey-coloured sandstone behind the presumed "grey" tenemental
facades. The policy of tenement demolition is now considered to have
been short-sighted, wasteful and largely unsuccessful. Many of
Glasgow's worst tenements were refurbished into desirable
accommodation in the 1970s and 1980s and the policy of demolition is
considered to have destroyed fine examples of a "universally admired
architectural" style. The
Mudbrick-made tower houses in Shibam, Wadi Hadhramaut,
High-rise apartment buildings were built in the Yemeni city of Shibam
in the 16th century. The houses of
Shibam are all made out of mud
bricks , but about 500 of them are tower houses , which rise 5 to 11
stories high, with each floor having one or two apartments. Shibam
has been called "
The Chestnut Hill , an 1899 apartment house in Newton,
The Puebloan peoples of what is now the Southwestern United States have constructed large, multi-room dwellings, some comprising more than 900 rooms, since the 10th century.
In 1839, the first
New York City
Tenements were also known for their price gouging rent. _How the Other Half Lives_ notes one tenement district:
Blind Man's Alley bear its name for a reason. Until little more than a year ago its dark burrows harbored a colony of blind beggars, tenants of a blind landlord, old Daniel Murphy, whom every child in the ward knows, if he never heard of the President of the United States. "Old Dan" made a big fortune--he told me once four hundred thousand dollars-- out of his alley and the surrounding tenements, only to grow blind himself in extreme old age, sharing in the end the chief hardship of the wretched beings whose lot he had stubbornly refused to better that he might increase his wealth. Even when the Board of Health at last compelled him to repair and clean up the worst of the old buildings, under threat of driving out the tenants and locking the doors behind them, the work was accomplished against the old man's angry protests. He appeared in person before the Board to argue his case, and his argument was characteristic. "I have made my will," he said. "My monument stands waiting for me in Calvary. I stand on the very brink of the grave, blind and helpless, and now (here the pathos of the appeal was swept under in a burst of angry indignation) do you want me to build and get skinned, skinned? These people are not fit to live in a nice house. Let them go where they can, and let my house stand." In spite of the genuine anguish of the appeal, it was downright amusing to find that his anger was provoked less by the anticipated waste of luxury on his tenants than by distrust of his own kind, the builder. He knew intuitively what to expect. The result showed that Mr. Murphy had gauged his tenants correctly.
Many reformers, such as
Upton Sinclair and
Jacob Riis , pushed for
reforms in tenement dwellings. As a result, in 1901, New York state
passed a law called the New York State
Some significant developments in architectural design of apartment buildings came out of the 1950s and '60s. Among them were groundbreaking designs in the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1951), New Century Guild (1961), Marina City (1964) and Lake Point Tower (1968).
The distinction between rental apartments and condominiums is that while rental buildings are owned by a single entity and rented out to many, condominiums are owned individually, while their owners still pay a monthly or yearly fee for building upkeep. Condominiums are often leased by their owner as rental apartments. A third alternative, the cooperative apartment building (or "co-op"), acts as a corporation with all of the tenants as shareholders of the building. Tenants in cooperative buildings do not own their apartment, but instead own a proportional number of shares of the entire cooperative. As in condominiums, cooperators pay a monthly fee for building upkeep. Co-ops are common in cities such as New York, and have gained some popularity in other larger urban areas in the U.S.
In the United States, "tenement" is a label usually applied to the less expensive, more basic rental apartment buildings in older sections of large cities. Many of these apartment buildings are "walk-ups" without an elevator, and some have shared bathing facilities, though this is becoming less common. The slang term "dingbat " is used to describe cheap urban apartment buildings from the 1950s and 1960s with unique and often wacky façades to differentiate themselves within a full block of apartments. They are often built on stilts, and with parking underneath.
Apartments were popular in
The skyline of the Gold Coast in
In Australia, the terms "unit", "flat" and "apartment" are largely used interchangeably. Newer high-rise buildings are more often marketed as "apartments", as the term "flats" carries colloquial connotations. The term condominium or condo is rarely used in Australia despite attempts by developers to market it. A high-rise apartment building is commonly referred to as a _residential tower_, _apartment tower_, or _block of flats_ in Australia.
In Australia, apartment living is a popular lifestyle choice for
DINKY , yuppies , university students and more recently empty nesters
, however, rising land values in the big cities in recent years has
seen an increase in families living in apartments. In
Australia has a relatively recent history in apartment buildings.
Terrace houses were the early response to density development, though
the majority of Australians lived in fully detached houses. Apartments
of any kind were legislated against in the Parliament of
The earliest apartment buildings were in the major cities of Sydney
During the interwar years, apartment building continued in inner
World War II
The main exceptions were
In other cities apartment building was almost solely restricted to
public housing .
Public housing in Australia was common in the larger
cities, particularly in
Despite their size, other smaller cities including
Today, residential buildings Eureka Tower and Q1 are the tallest in the country. In many cases, apartments in inner city areas of the major cities can cost much more than much larger houses in the outer suburbs.
Some Australian cities, such as Gold Coast, Queensland , are inhabited predominantly by apartment dwellers.
* Home portal
* ^ Categories of Homes in Malaysia.
* ^ "Long Leases (Scotland) Act 2012". _UK Legislation_. 2012.
Retrieved 9 March 2015.
* ^ "\'Konglish\' Not Spoken Here: Asia Society Korea Center
Targets Signs and Schoolbooks". _Asia Society_. 11 October 2012.
Retrieved 5 February 2015.
* ^ "garden apartment." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary retrieved
New York City