Railroad apartment in the Bronx - hard to rent out?

3 Replies | New York City, New York

Hi all,

I found a really nice 3/3 2 family in the Bronx in a good area right near my other property.  It's a 3/3, but both apartments are railroad style.  Each apartment has one completely separate bedroom, and then two that share a walk-through door.  The railroad affect can be avoided, however, if the person in the largest bedroom walks through a separate door that leads to the main (not in the apartment) hallway.

Does anyone here have experience renting out railroads like this?  Will I have to charge significantly less?


Hey Michael. I have this set up in my top floor apt. I have it rented out for $2000 to two girls (and I was pleasantly surprised I got that price). So it functions as a 2 bedroom in their case and they use the railroaded room as an office area. They also use the smaller bedroom as a room for their cats. They turned the living room into their second bedroom (that room is next to the kitchen). The last tenants I had also used the first railroaded room as an office and everything else how it’s supposed to be used. They were a couple with a young child. And when I bought the house the tenants that lived their used the first railroaded room as a storage room. I’ve had a few larger families that wanted to rent it out but turned them down. I do believe it made it a little harder to rent so I treat it more like an enormous 2 bedroom apartment with an office but realtors always advertised it as a 3 bedroom. I was also very selective with qualifying my tenants. Since I live below the apt I wanted to keep it quiet. I think that railroaded room makes more sense as a baby room or office. Or you can make that the living room and make the room off the kitchen a bedroom. 

I’m curious how you have it set up so you can enter through the hallway. Do you have a picture? I thought about doing this. 

Thanks for your response Chris!

Where in the Bronx is your house located and how recently did you get 2K for that apartment?  Have you had vacancy issues or has it always rented?  

Also, with this railroad, since the house is attached, the middle bedrooms have windows that open into an airshaft - and the view out the window is of the other bedroom.  Is yours set up like this too?

I don't have a picture of the railroad-avoiding door, but the setup is basically like this: 

There is a main hallway when you enter the house.  This hallway has stairs that go up to the second apartment.  It also has 2 doors into the ground floor apartment.  One of these doors opens directly into the main bedroom of the railroad, the other opens into the living room of the railroad.

The setup is:

Bedroom 1 -->Bedroom 2 --> Bedroom 3 --> Living Room --> Kitchen

I answered your PM but for other people interested:

My railroad is set up the same way except you walk up the stairs and enter the hallway the first door to the right is bedroom 2. You need to walk through this bedroom to get to bedroom 1. Bedroom 3 has It’s own entrance from the hallway. The living room is next and has 2 wide entrances, one from the hallway and one that leads to the kitchen. There is also a kitchen entrance at the end of the hallway and the bathroom is at the end of the hallway. The bathroom window faces the yard. The house is detached and completely rectangle (no shafts). Each room has atleast one window which lets in a lot of sunlight.

I’m in Morris Park. I’ve owned the house just over 2 years. My first tenant resigned another one year lease after staying a year but then broke it for a good reason and paid a penalty. My second tenants I gave a 6 month lease and they just signed another one year lease with me in June. They first signed for $2k in December 2017.

If you live there it could be a good thing if you want to keep it quieter up there. Large families probably won’t be interested, although I’ve had a few inquiries.