Glossary of Types of Apartments for Rent in Ottawa

Looking through the apartment listings can be a pretty confusing experience. Just what are the differences between a junior one-bedroom and an alcove studio? A convertible three-bedroom and a flex two-bedroom? Knowing the layout of each type of apartment and what features each type contains will greatly improve your chances of finding the perfect apartment rental for your needs and lifestyle.

Walk-Up Apartment / Low-Rise Apartment

A walk-up or low-rise apartment is located in a building that does not have an elevator (which means it might be a bit more difficult when you’re moving in). Walk-ups are usually older buildings that are less than five stories high and may not have a lot of amenities such as laundry rooms, storage lockers or wheelchair accessibility. Generally, monthly rent for a walk-up is less expensive than the monthly rent for a high-rise apartment.

High-Rise Apartment

A high-rise apartment is found in a building that is generally six or more storeys tall. High-rise apartment buildings have elevators and often have onsite laundry facilities, pools, fitness centres, comprehensive fire alarm systems, and security systems to monitor tenant entry and exit. In addition, many high-rise apartment buildings feature onsite management staff to assist you in the event of an emergency.

Bachelor Apartment / Studio Apartment

A great choice for students, a bachelor apartment (also called a studio apartment or an efficiency apartment) is a small one-room apartment with a separate bathroom. The one room serves as a bedroom, dining room and living room and is usually connected to an open kitchen. Bachelor apartments can range from very small (just big enough for a sofa-bed and a desk) to very large (with enough room for a king-size bed and a separate sitting area and dining area).

An alcove bachelor (also called a convertible bachelor or convertible studio) is usually configured in an L-shape with a distinct area or nook for dining or sleeping.

1-Bedroom Apartments

A one-bedroom apartment consists of a living room, kitchen, bathroom and a separate bedroom equipped with a built in closet. Occupancy may often be limited to two people.

A junior one-bedroom usually implies an extra-large studio apartment that is large enough to section off a separate sleeping area or bedroom.

2-Bedroom Apartments

A full two-bedroom apartment has two separate bedrooms in addition to a living room. It may or may not have a separate kitchen. Bedroom sizes can vary widely, from a baby’s room or small office to an extra-large master bedroom suite.

A convertible two-bedroom apartment (sometimes called a “flex 2”) is actually a one-bedroom apartment, but it is large enough and laid out in such a way that a wall could be put up to create a second bedroom. Similarly, a convertible three-bedroom (or “flex 3”) is a two-bedroom apartment that can be converted into 3 bedrooms.

A wing apartment usually has two bedrooms as well as a small common area such as an eat-in kitchen, but no living room. These apartments are ideal for students or roommates who don’t require much in the way of common living space.

Loft

A loft can be classified as a big, open space with few internal walls. Usually the result from a commercial building having been converted into residential units, lofts generally have very high ceilings, extra-large windows and often have exposed plumbing pipes and columns.

Penthouse Apartment

A penthouse is an apartment on the top floor of an apartment building, usually featuring extra balconies or a rooftop deck. A penthouse is normally considered to be quite luxurious and is an extremely desirable (albeit expensive) place to live.

Basement Apartment

As the name implies, a basement apartment is located in the lowest storey of a building and is partially below ground level. Windows and proper ceiling height are enforced by city codes. This type of apartment can also refer to the basement on a house that has been converted to an apartment. This type of basement apartment may have its own separate entrance and may have its own bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and heating system separate from the rest of the house.

Duplex Apartment

A duplex is an apartment with two levels. This could include a true bi-level apartment with an enclosed upstairs and downstairs, or it could also be an open space with an extra-high ceiling and a loft or mezzanine.

Railroad Apartment

In a railroad apartment, there is no hallway. This type of apartment consists of a series of rooms that are connected to each other in a straight line (just like cars on a train), meaning a tenant will have to walk through each room to get from one end of the apartment to the other.

Balcony / Terrace

The terms balcony and terrace are often used interchangeably to indicate a railed platform extending from the outside of the apartment. It can be small enough to accommodate one or two people standing or large enough for a picnic table, lounge chairs and plants.