NYC’s Endangered Species: A Rent-Controlled Apartment

They are the dama gazelles of the New York City rental market. From a high of more than 2 million in the 1950’s, there are now only 27,000 “rent-controlled” apartments in the city – down from 38,000 just three years ago.

Rent-controlled tenants live in buildings built before 1947 and have lived there continuously since 1971. They tend to be seniors on fixed incomes. They are beneficiaries of the city’s first rent control laws, which were established after World War II to protect returning soldiers and their families from being gouged by greedy landlords.

And due to tenancy succession rules, which require cohabitants or family members to live in an apartment two consecutive years before the lease holder passes away, the city could very well be looking at its last generation of rent-controlled residents. Like those gazelles of the Sahara Desert, they are approaching endangered species status.

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