AskDefine | Define apartment

Dictionary Definition

apartment n : a suite of rooms usually on one floor of an apartment house [syn: flat]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Apartment

English

Etymology

appartement; compare with Italian appartamento, from appartare; all from ad + pars, partis, part. See apart.

Pronunciation

  • /ʌˈpɑɹt.mɛnt/ a WEAE

Noun

  1. A complete domicile occupying only part of a building.
    apartment dwellers
  2. A suite of rooms, within a domicile, designated for a specific person or persons, and including a bedroom.
    • 1726, Jonathan Swift, "A Voyage to Lilliput", chapter IV, in Gulliver's Travels,
      By this contrivance I got into the inmost court; and, lying down upon my side, I applied my face to the windows of the middle stories, which were left open on purpose, and discovered the most splendid apartments that can be imagined. There I saw the empress and the young princes in their several lodgings, with their chief attendants about them.
  3. A division of an enclosure that is separate from others; a compartment
    • 1883 April 23, Slawson v. Grand Street R. Co., 107 U.S. 649, 2 S.Ct. 663, 664,
      The specification described the ordinary fare-box used in street cars and omnibuses, consisting of two apartments, the one directly above the other.... [T]he passenger deposited his fare in an aperture in the top of the upper apartment. It fell upon and was arrested by a movable platform.... This platform turned on an axis acted on by a lever. When turned, the fare fell into the lower apartment, which was a receptacle for holding the fares accumulated....

Translations

Synonyms

Extensive Definition

An apartment is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building. Apartments may be owned (by an owner-occupier) or rented (by tenants).
The term "apartment" is favored in North America, whereas the term "flat" is sometimes, but not exclusively, used in the United Kingdom and most other English-speaking areas and Commonwealth nations.
Some apartment-dwellers own their own apartments, 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 connotes a residential unit or section in a building. In some locations, particularly the United States, the word denotes a rental unit owned by the building owner, and is not typically used for a condominium.
The word unit is a more general term referring to both apartments and rental business suites. The word 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."
When there is no tenant occupying an apartment, the lessor is said to have a vacancy. For apartment lessors, each vacancy represents a loss of income from rent-paying tenants for the time the apartment is vacant (i.e., unoccupied). Lessors' objectives are often to minimize the vacancy rate for their units. The owner of the apartment typically when transferring possession to the occupant(s) gives him/her the key to the apartment entrance door(s) and any other keys needed to live there, such as a common key to the building or any other common areas, and an individual unit mailbox key. When the occupant(s) move out, these keys are typically returned to the owner.

Apartment types and characteristics

Apartments can be classified into several types. One is a Studio, efficiency, bedsit, or bachelor style apartment. These all tend to be the smallest apartments with the cheapest rents in a given area. These kinds of apartment usually consist mainly of a large room which is the living, dining, and bedroom combined. There are usually kitchen facilities as part of this central room, but the bathroom is its own smaller separate room.
Moving up from the efficiencies are one-bedroom apartments where one bedroom is a separate room from the rest of the apartment. Then there are two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc. apartments. Small apartments often have only one entrance/exit.
Large apartments often have two entrances/exits, perhaps a door in the front and another in the back. Depending on the building design, the entrance/exit doors may be directly to the outside or to a common area inside, such as a hallway. Depending on location, apartments may be available for rent furnished with furniture or unfurnished into which a tenant usually moves in with their own furniture. A garden apartment has some characteristics of a townhouse: each apartment has its own entrance, and apartments are not placed vertically over one another. However, a garden apartment is usually only one story high and never more than two stories; they are often one-bedrooms and almost never more than two-bedrooms. Some garden apartment buildings place a one-car garage under each apartment, with pedestrian entrances from a common courtyard open at one end. The grounds are more landscaped than for other modestly scaled apartments. (Alternately, "garden apartment" can refer to a unit built half below grade, putting its windows at garden level.}
Laundry facilities may be found in a common area accessible to all the tenants in the building, or each apartment may have its own facilities. Depending on when the building was built and the design of the building, utilities such as water, heating, and electricity may be common for all the apartments in the building or separate for each apartment and billed separately to each tenant (however, many areas in the US have ruled it illegal to split a water bill among all the tenants, especially if a pool is on the premises). Outlets for connection to telephones are typically included in apartments. Telephone service is optional and is practically always billed separately from the rent payments. Cable television and similar amenities are extra also. Parking space(s), air conditioner, and extra storage space may or may not be included with an apartment. Rental leases often limit the maximum number of people who can reside in each apartment. 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 letter-carrier too. 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, there may be a buzzer (equivalent to a doorbell) for each individual unit. In smaller apartment buildings such as two- or three-flats, or even four-flats, garbage is often disposed of in trash containers similar to those used at houses. In larger buildings, garbage is often collected in a common trash bin or Dumpster. For cleanliness or minimizing noise, many lessors will place restrictions on tenants regarding keeping pets in an apartment.
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 members. In Canada these suites are commonly located in the basements of houses and are therefore normally called basement suites or "mother-in-law suites."
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.
In Russia, a communal apartment («коммуналка») is a room with a shared kitchen and bath. A typical arrangement is a cluster of five or so apartments with their common kitchen and bathroom and their own front door, occupying a floor in a pre-Revolutionary mansions. Traditionally a room is owned by the government and assigned to a family on a semi-permanent basis. It is possible to "privatize" a room by paying a large sum of money to the government; then it can legally be sold.

See also

References

apartment in Bulgarian: Апартамент
apartment in Czech: Byt
apartment in Danish: Lejlighed
apartment in German: Wohnung
apartment in Spanish: Apartamento
apartment in Esperanto: Apartamento
apartment in French: Appartement
apartment in Korean: 아파트
apartment in Hebrew: דירה
apartment in Dutch: Appartement
apartment in Japanese: アパート
apartment in Norwegian: Leilighet
apartment in Polish: Apartament
apartment in Portuguese: Apartamento
apartment in Russian: Квартира (жилище)
apartment in Slovak: Byt
apartment in Finnish: Kerrostalo
apartment in Swedish: Lägenhet
apartment in Ukrainian: Квартира
apartment in Chinese: 公寓
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