Take It Or Leave It

What rent justifies a shared bathroom? Definitely less than $1,200 a month

By Virginia K. Smith | October 22, 2014 - 12:59PM 

At first glance, $1,200 for a Prospect Heights studio within an easy walk of Prospect Park and about eight subway lines seems like a good deal. On the third floor of a pet-friendly, four-story townhouse, the place has two big windows and a fireplace as well. Unfortunately, there's one major, brake-screeching catch: you'll be sharing a bathroom with your neighbor down the hall, a fate most of us haven't endured since living in a dorm. 

But hey, park-side apartments are popular, and you'd potentially get more privacy than splitting a two-bedroom with a roommate. Our experts, including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin as well as real estate bloggers and veteran NYC renters Julie Inzanti and Lambeth Hochwald (who have a combined 27 years of experience in the world of New York rentals), weigh in for this week’s Take It or Leave It.

Size: studio
Location: 388 Park Place (between Underhill and Washington)
Cost: $1,200/month
Flexible Layout: No
Days on the market: 20 days
Subway: 2,3 at Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum; B, Q at 7th Ave; S at Park Place; S, 2, 3, 4, 5 at Botanic Garden; C at Clinton/Washington

Pros and Cons:

"We know Prospect Heights is cool and everything, but this apartment takes one-room living to new heights. Sure there’s an old-world feel to the space—the fireplace is quaint and the floors are old-school—but sharing a bathroom down the hall with another tenant, aka a stranger, for a $1,200 walk-up plus a broker's fee? Of all the apartments we’ve seen, this one pretty much leaves me speechless." - Lambeth

"This is about as cheap a studio as you're going to find in a decent neighborhood. The catch is the shared bathroom—shared with how many others, and who are they?" - Zeb​

"I love the charm of this studio: the high ceilings, pretty woodwork on the floor, crown molding, fireplace! So pretty, plus you're close to Prospect Park and the trains. But for the size, $1,200 is a joke. You basically get one tiny room and you have to share a bathroom! Yikes! Unless you're a freshman at NYU and this dorm-style rental comes with an unlimited food plan, you would have to be insane to rent this place! The owner would have to offer a real SCREAMING deal for a shared bathroom situation to be appealing. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic but we're constantly surrounded by people all day in NYC, on the train, in the streets, at work. It would be nice not to have to interface with a stranger while you're battling gastrointestinal issues. Yuck!" - Julie

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

"Someone desperate to try out Prospect Heights who doesn’t mind walking down the hall in a bathrobe." - Lambeth

"If you're on a really tight budget but you just can't live with roommates this time, this is a step in between that you can afford." - Zeb​

"I don't know anyone who would pay $1,200 per month for a tiny room and a shared bathroom, but this place might be perfect for a recent college grad who lived in the dorms all four years with shared bathrooms and who still gets a stipend from mom and dad so they can afford the rent. That, or someone who is used to living with roommates and doesn't mind the bathroom share." - Julie

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "I promise you can do way better." - Lambeth

LEAVE IT "Sharing a bathroom with roommates is bad enough. Sharing it with neighbors beyond your control is a whole other level." - Zeb

LEAVE IT "If this place were $600 per month you could ignore the shared bathroom but for $1,200 there are plenty of other options to explore."​

Ready to rent? Check out our How to Rent Guide...and if the apartment you like requires a guarantor that you don’t have, see if the landlord accepts Insurent, a guarantor solution from one of BrickUnderground’s sponsors.​

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