Efficiency Apartment Definition
An unfurnished one-room apartment is called and “efficiency” or “studio.”
Efficiency apartments are popular options for single people who either are on a tight budget or do not spend much time at home. They are also a great choice for couples who have a home elsewhere but come to a specific area a couple of times a week and desire a private place to stay during those visits. Efficiency apartments are sometimes also referred to as studio apartments.
An efficiency is a one-room apartment with a private bathroom. It may or may not have a closet. The one room is usually larger than a standard apartment bedroom, since it needs to have separate areas for sleeping, eating and living, and also for a small kitchen (usually referred to as a kitchenette).
In most cases, utilities are included in the monthly rent, and many efficiencies in areas like San Francisco are from fairly recent renovations of warehouses and other commercial spaces, so they are often in very good condition. Because their space is so limited, there is not much to keep clean. Many landlords are willing to rent efficiencies on a monthly basis, but the monthly rent is usually higher than when the lease is for a longer period.
An efficiency may or may not have any closets, and because the space is so limited, there is very little room for storage. Many people who rent efficiency apartments also have to rent self-storage units for their belongings, and it can be a challenge to have to shuttle back and forth to get belongings. Efficiencies are not practical for couples or families who have to spend significant time in them. Since the space is small, clutter is a constant issue, so it is important to keep an efficiency neat and organized.
While efficiency apartments are often less expensive than regular apartments, there are exceptions. As in any real estate property, the location of the efficiency can increase the rental price. An efficiency in the heart of downtown San Francisco, for instance, might be more expensive than a one- or two-bedroom apartment in Oakland. Furthermore, cities like San Francisco offer high-end efficiency apartments (sometimes referred to as “luxury efficiencies”). Even though these spaces are still one room, the room could be 1,000 square feet or more, overlook the waterfront (located in Nob Hill, for instance) and come fully furnished. These efficiency apartments are targeted at people who have high-end homes outside San Francisco but wish a “small” city apartment for frequent overnight visits. Older efficiency apartments, such as those that cater to students in university areas, tend to be less expensive.
Efficiency apartments may be on the top floor of a building and accessible only by stairs. These apartments are referred to as “walk-ups.” Stairways and doorways may be narrow and not able to accommodate certain sizes of furniture and mattresses. In older efficiencies, electrical wiring may not have been updated, and may not be appropriate for using computers or other types of equipment.