New York City has a reputation of being an expensive place to live, with the average rent being higher than the majority of the country. However, some lucky New Yorkers live in rent-regulated apartments that offer below-market rent amounts. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 apartments in New York City are characterized as rent-regulated. Rent-regulated apartments fall into two categories, rent-controlled and rent-stabilized. The majority of these apartments fall into the latter category.
While many New Yorkers have heard of these types of apartments, they are very unclear on what that actually means. Below we will discuss the difference between rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments in New York City and tips on how to snag one.
What is a Rent Controlled Apartment?
Rent-controlled apartments are by far the most desirable and cheapest apartments in New York City. However, these types of apartments are only available to families that have been living in their apartments since July 1, 1971, and for apartments located in buildings built prior to 1947. As such, only approximately 1% of the New York City Housing stock is rent-controlled, which equates to approximately 22,000 apartments.
The primary benefit of residing in a rent-controlled apartment is that there is a maximum rent amount That can be charged to the tenant. Since rent-controlled apartments are no longer created, the only way to get one it’s to be a successor of a family member that lives in one. In order to be considered a successor to the apartment, you must have lived in the apartment for two consecutive years with the tenant of record. The requisite time may be shortened to one year if the tenant of the record is over 65 years old or disabled.
What is a Rent Stabilized Apartment in New York City?
Over 50% of the apartments in New York City are considered rent-stabilized. Similar to rent-controlled apartments, rent-stabilized apartments have maximum rent amounts that can be charged to the tenants. Additionally, rent-stabilized apartments have a limit on how much the rent can increase yearly. The percentage is determined yearly by the New York Rent Guideline Board. During times of economic downturn, it has been common for the Board to not increase the rent for a year or two or to set increases at a maximum of 1% increase. Prior to 2019, landlords could deregulate rent-stabilized apartments and make them free-market using various methods. However, with the housing and tenant stability and protection law passed in 2019, landlords can no longer deregulate when stabilized apartments. This means that stabilized apartments are permanent in New York City, that is, of course, unless the law changes again in the future. In order to be qualified as a rent-stabilized apartment, the building must have been constructed before 1974. Additionally, there must be six or more apartments within the building.
The primary benefit of having a rent-stabilized apartment is that you do not have to worry about your rent increasing dramatically from year to year. Additionally, rent-stabilized apartments are very affordable compared to other apartments in the same area. Lastly, unless you have violated your lease agreement in some way, you are guaranteed a lease renewal yearly automatically, without requesting it.
How Do You Get a Rent Stabilized Apartment in New York City?
While many people believe that it is tough to find a rent-stabilized apartment, that is not always the case. Admittedly you may have trouble finding a rent-stabilized apartment by Central Park. However, there are other parts of the city where there are more available rent-stabilized apartments and others. For example, you are more likely to find restabilized apartments in Crown Heights, Inwood, and Washington Heights compared to other locations throughout the boroughs. A simple Craigslist or Streeteasy search will reveal a fair amount of rent-stabilized apartments available for rent. If you find an apartment that you’re interested in and you want to confirm whether or not it is rent-stabilized, you can always check here to obtain more information about the building.
Rent-regulated apartments are essential to the affordable housing market in New York City. They come with a host of rights for tenants to ensure that their families have a place to stay. Tenants do not have to worry about huge spikes in their rent from year to year. They also do not have to worry about their landlords not renewing their lease agreement and being suddenly displaced. Also, thanks to the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, rent-stabilized apartments are permanent in New York City and can no longer be deregulated by landlords. If you are looking to rent a rent-stabilized apartment, you can definitely find one with a little research or an experienced real estate agent on your side.
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Authored by: Stanley Montfort
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