Out-of-towners invariably know two things about New York City apartments: Prices are high and kitchens are small.
But how many consumers and brokers alike know what a kitchen is? Yes, we have galley kitchens, country kitchens, eat-in kitchens and Pullman kitchens.
In fact, any space used for cooking either is a kitchen or a kitchenette, according to the city’s Administrative Code.
While a kitchen must contain 80 square feet, a kitchenette is defined as having fewer than that amount. Moreover, whatever you call it, the space must have adequate lighting.
The same lighting requirements for a living room apply to a kitchen or kitchenette, unless the kitchenette does not have a window: The total window area must be at least one-tenth of the floor area, and all required windows must be at least 12 square feet.
To comply with ventilation requirements, windows in kitchenettes must have a total area of at least three square feet and also equal at least 10 percent of the floor area. If a kitchenette doesn’t have a window, it is acceptable for there to be mechanical ventilation or, if the room is on the top floor, a skylight.
When was the last time you saw the word “kitchenette” in the description of a co-op or condo? And ask any broker whether his or her listing meets the definition of a “kitchen.” You’ll no doubt get a definite affirmative response. Then ask what the definition is to let your fun begin. I know I didn’t know until I just finished reading a summary of the Administrative Code.
These are not, by the way, academic questions.
Dishonest marketing practices (as in falsely advertising a kitchenette as a kitchen) violate the Code of Ethics of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) as well as the New York State Consumer Protection Law.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022