Rent stabilized apartments in NYC – A real thing or a myth?


If you live in New York City. or any other big city, and you’re a renter, getting a rent stabilized apartment is like winning the lottery. Why? Because rent-stabilized apartments have perks for tenants that include a guaranteed chance to renew your lease and a limit on how much your landlord can increase rent each year. The percentage/amount that the landlord can increase often can change as the rent guidelines board meets every year to discuss it. The price of these rent stabilized apartments can vary a lot, but they’re often under $2500 a month, as the units can often be deregulated once rent goes above that number. So while people from other parts of the country may be shocked at that price, that is actually very cheap for New York City.

However, there are some rules for which apartments can be rent stabilized. This stabilization often applies to buildings of six or more units that was built sometime before 1974 and is not currently subject to rent control. So in a city with as much history and old buildings as New York City, that means quite a few apartments in the area are rent stabilized. In fact, about 50% of all apartments in New York City are rent stabilized. If that is the case, why are they so hard to find? That is because once people have them, they never want to leave them. To be honest, can you blame them? Most renters living in these rent stabilized apartments are saving thousands and thousands of dollars a year when compared to their peers, who are often paying exorbitant rental fees. In fact, rent stabilized apartments in Manhattan are priced (on average) over a thousand dollars less than a regular apartment.

Now, this might seem too good to be sure, but we can assure you, rent-stabilized apartments are not a myth. These apartments are real and can be found out there if you know how and where to look. However, with many people not leaving rent-stabilized apartments once they have them, tracking one down can be difficult. With that in mind, here are a few different tips and tricks that you can use to find them. Remember, these tips will by no means guarantee that you will find a rent stabilized apartment, but they can definitely help your chances.

1. Get out and walk

As you could imagine, landlords with rent stabilized apartments have no problem finding a tenant. As a result, these apartments are not often advertised a lot. So instead of scouring the online listings, you might be better off hitting the streets and walking around town and seeing what you can see. However, there is one source you will want to check out, and it is the Rent Guidelines Board’s comprehensive list of all the rent stabilized apartment buildings. Also, some neighborhoods will have a higher concentration of these apartments than others, so be sure to check out this document for more information on that.

2. Get an agent

While you can try and look for a rent stabilized apartment on your own, your chances of finding one increase considerably if you have an agent, who is preferably well-connected and good at his or her job. Yes, this will cost you more than just looking on your own, but the investment will pay off hugely if you can find a rent stabilized apartment. These agents can often have the inside scoop and know all the ins and outs of the industry, which can be a significant advantage for you.

3. Be well-connected

If you are a person with a lot of connections or someone with a lot of networking skills, you often have a better chance at getting a rent stabilized apartment. This is because if you know a lot of people or keep your ear to the ground regarding what’s happening, there is a better chance of finding one than just being some guy browsing the apartment listings. Also, people that are about to leave these rent stabilized apartments will often alert their friends and family first, so being well connected and knowing a lot of people could get your name thrown out there in this case.

4. Know what to look for

Let’s face it, the biggest, best and brightest rent-stabilized apartments are not likely to ever see the light of day. Tenants would be crazy to leave these, and if they do, they are likely to pass them right to a friend or family member. Instead, you should be looking for a one-bedroom or studio apartment in an older building. These are the units that are most likely to be vacant.

5. Don’t give up

The search for a rent stabilized apartment could be a long one. There are likely hundreds of other people looking for the same thing you are so the process could be daunting. Being persistent is key, as an apartment deal like this is not likely to simply fall in your lap. So if you have the time to be persistent before simply settling for a higher priced apartment, take advantage of it, as it could pay off for you in the long run.

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