NYC Real Estate – What is Pied-à-terre

Pied-à-terre is French for ‘foot of the ground ‘. It is a residence that you only use occasionally. It is usually an apartment located in a large city such as Manhattan some distance away from an individual’s primary residence. Generally the term pied-à-terre is understood to mean that the unit will not be your primary residence. You only live there part time of the year.

Some of the co-ops don’t like pied-à-terre residents live in the building. They are fear by neighbors that apartment become an inn for primary owner’s friends and family. Especial college age children of the owners may move in because of nearby University or college. Some co-ops, they don’t want to be considered a dormitory. Some co-ops may require primary owners to live in their apartment for at least a year or two before renting it.

Each co-op may have somewhat different rules. Generally co-op isn’t an investment property in that you’ll be renting it out. Some co-op may just be used by you & extended family for business & visits to the city. Usually co-op doesn’t want an empty building with units only used a few weeks every few months.

If a building does not allow pied-à-terre, ask your agent to inquire and provide you with a precise definition of what the particular building means by that rule since it is a subjective term that readily can be interpreted differently from one building to the next.

Condos have generally been the pied-à-terre locales of choice. Once you own a condo, after all, you essentially own a house that neighbors can’t meddle with as is often the case in co-ops.

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