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A Quick Quide to Rent-Stabilized Apartments in New York - What to Know

There are two kinds of renters in New York City—those who rent and live in rent-regulated apartments and those who don't. Historically, New York City's rental market had been costly, dating as far back as the early 1920s. Eventually, after WWI, to address the increasing housing shortage and make sure that the average New Yorker residents were not priced out of the rental housing market, the city became the first one to adopt rent control laws.

The rules have been modified over the years, but basically, they aim to protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases. Not only that, but rent control laws also provide an average New Yorker with a plethora of rights to guarantee access to a comfortable yet affordable housing system.

Currently, there are over one million apartments that are subjected to some form of rent regulation in New York City. Most of these are rent-stabilized units, and less than two percent are rent-controlled apartments, which was the oldest form for rent regulation.

Let us quickly discuss the difference between rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments.

Rent-Controlled Apartments

Rent-controlled apartments are known as New York City rental market’s holy grail due to their cheap units and accessibility. They are mostly found in great neighborhoods, such as in Chelsea or Upper West Side.

For an apartment to be qualified as rent-controlled, the unit should be located in a building that was built before 1947, and the family/tenant has been continuously living in the apartment since 1971. Recent regulations do not cover rent-controlled apartments anymore, and the only way to acquire these units is by moving in through a relative who has already been living in the apartment and then claiming succession rights through death.

Rent-Stabilized Apartments

Rent-stabilized apartments are a more common and newer form of rent-regulated apartments in New York City. Ideally, these apartments are located in buildings that have six or more units and built before 1974. These units are overseen by the NYC Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Monthly rent is relatively cheap, from $2,700 or less, no matter the size.

Rent-stabilized apartments are meant to regulate rent increases, which means that this is more favorable to the tenants than landlords. Living in these units means that tenants won’t face yearly high rent increases, and they have the right for lease renewal. This regulation guarantees that units will remain affordable and that landlords cannot unfairly evict tenants. NYC Rent Guidelines Board approves yearly allowable rent increases, should the landlord decide on that. There is a cap for the rent increases the board approves:

One-year lease: 1.5 percent

Two-year lease: 2 percent

How to Check for Rent-Stabilized Apartments


The majority of rent-stabilized apartments can be found in the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn (Crown Height), or Upper Manhattan (Inwood, Washington Heights, Harlem).

Official City Database

The list of all buildings registered with the DHCR can be found on the Rent Guidelines Board database. Looking through these records can be time-consuming, but a great resource for someone persistent enough to look for rent-stabilized apartments.


If the building is built after 1974, it is highly likely that it is not rent-stabilized. Rent-stabilized apartments should be built between 1947 and 1974.

Looking for cheap and affordable units in New York City can be a bit confusing with all these regulations in place. For assistance on the New York City real estate market, contact True Management NYC for consultations.

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