Pros and Cons: Living in a Doorman Building

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

As luxury rentals and mixed-use developments become more common in the U.S., doorman buildings have also become more abundant. In these buildings, a doorman greets you as you enter, though the term “doorman” can sometimes be inaccurate, as they don’t just hold or open doors – they often perform additional tasks including signing for packages and checking in visitors. If you’re considering making the shift to living in a doorman building but can’t quite decide whether this extra feature is right for you, consider the below pros and cons to help with your decision.

doorman building

Pros of living in a doorman building


Doormen are tasked with ensuring that all people who enter your apartment building log their entry before visiting any apartments. Some people who live in doorman buildings thus feel especially safe in their apartments due to their doorman’s presence.

Easier deliveries

In the era of shipping, it’s easy to worry that a package directed to you will get misplaced. Maybe a passerby outside swipes your package from your doorstep, or maybe someone else on your apartment building’s floor accidentally takes your package. In many doorman buildings, the doorman will ensure that your package is held for you until you’re ready to come to the front desk to retrieve it.

Spare keys

When you hire dog walkers, cleaners, or other people who might need access to your apartment while you’re not in it, chances are that you give them keys to your apartment. If you’re worried about the risk that accompanies someone else having access to your apartment, then doormen might allay that concern. They’ll hold onto your spare keys and give them to whomever needs to enter your apartment — with your permission. This person will then return the keys to the doorman upon leaving.

Someone to talk to

Whether you’re just looking to chat or need to find someone for a maintenance issue, a doorman can be your first stop. On your way back in from your day at work, you might enjoy catching up with your doorman about family news, TV recommendations, and other things. If you’re having trouble with something in your apartment, your doorman can help to direct you to someone who can fix it. And if you leave your keys in your apartment, your doorman can solve that problem, too.

Cons of living in a doorman building


Generally speaking, the rent in apartment buildings with a doorman will be higher. In New York City, for example, apartments tend to cost 10 to 15 percent more if the building has a doorman. Even if an apartment building with doormen were priced the same as one without them, the doorman building might still be more expensive around the holidays, when tipping doormen is encouraged.

Less privacy

When you live alone without a doorman, you can bring people to and from your apartment without anybody seeing you. When you have a doorman, though, there’s always someone watching the flow of people to and from your apartment. And since other tenants might be especially friendly and chatty with your doormen, you never know if other people around you might learn things about your personal life.

Someone to talk to

Sure, having someone to talk to can be a pro, but it can just as easily be a con if you’re not a particularly social person. Even if you do consider yourself a people person, you might not want to have to talk to someone or at least say a polite hello every time you enter or leave your building. 

Illusions of safety and easier deliveries

You might feel safer in a building with a doorman, but you might quickly begin to feel too safe. Just because non-tenants or non-visitors are prevented from entering your building doesn’t mean that your neighbors won’t enter your space if you leave your door unlocked. And if you’re especially worried about safety, you might not love the idea of a doorman potentially having spare keys to your apartment.

Additionally, many doorman buildings operate separate package rooms where shipping and postal office workers can leave your packages for you without any doorman involvement. In these cases, doormen provide merely an illusion of safer package delivery rather than actually being involved with the process. When you look at apartments in doorman buildings, be sure to ask about the exact duties of the doormen.

Would you prefer a doorman building or a non-doorman building, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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