The Difference Between a Rent-Stabilized and Rent-Controlled Apartment

In New York, rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments are highly sought after.

rent controlled apartments

The New York real estate market is pretty cut-throat, especially in terms of rentals. If you are looking for a new place in the city, they tell you to immediately jump on anything you like, lest you wait 15 minutes and lose your potential new home to someone more hungry and prepared.

While its no secret that the market is tough, there are some good deals to be had out there. Two of the most sought-after, but hard-to-find rental bargains out there are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments. Both of these indications loosely mean that the annual rent increases on an apartment are regulated by law, and cannot exceed a certain amount. Over time, this can spell out big savings, especially as the market climbs and changes at such a rapid pace.

Unfortunately, unless you inherit such an apartment from a loved one or good friend who can’t stand the cold anymore, you will have to find a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment on your own, which is an entirely different topic. The first step however is to know the difference.

READ MORE: How to Score a Rent-Stabilized Apt in Stuy Town

Rent controlled apartments are a result of a housing shortage that occurred just after World War 1 in the 1920s. Rents shot through the roof, and strikes happened. To combat this, New York state created a rent-control program that regulated rent increases. Since then, there have been lots of changes, and basically, rent-controlled apartments are almost entirely phased out. The only way to get one is to inherit it from a family member. You also have to live in the apartment for two years prior to the vacancy of the previous tenant. In New York City, there are only about 38,000 rent-controlled units left, and they are mostly owned and occupied by the elderly.

So if you want a rent-controlled apartment, you should probably start researching your family tree.

Rent stabilized apartments exist only in buildings built before 1974, with more than six units. The rent on these units is usually under $2,700 per month, and the increases are regulated, as well as the ability for you to renew your lease. Rent-stabilized apartments don’t always advertise it, but you can tell from the age of the building and your lease. If the rent is stabilized because there will be an additional amended rider stating this.

But, as a reward for reading this far, here is a list of all the rent-stabilized buildings in all five boroughs. Good luck on your apartment search!

Rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments are like leprechauns or unicorns; hard to find, but totally worth it when you do.


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About the author

Gary Adrian Randall