Q: My roommate and I moved to an East Village two-bedroom apartment in September 2020, paying $2,400 a month. Management recently informed us that our rent will go up to $3,600 a month when our market-rate lease comes up for renewal. What can we do?
A: Last year, rents in New York plunged to historic lows as landlords scrambled to fill vacancies left by people fleeing the city. What you are experiencing now is the reality of how quickly the market has recovered in many neighborhoods, particularly the East Village.
“This person rented that apartment at a time when the market was at the absolute worst that I’ve ever seen it,” said Gary L. Malin, the chief operating officer at Corcoran. “The market has done a complete 180.”
This summer, the city is flooded with returning residents whose companies are beginning to call them back to the office. They’re competing for apartments with newcomers arriving for school and work. And, as pandemic leases begin to expire, tenants such as yourself are also re-entering the market as landlords hike rents back up to prepandemic levels.
In July 2021, the market rate for a two-bedroom in the East Village was $3,690 a month, according to StreetEasy. So chances are, your landlord will hold firm on that new price. The landlord can raise the rent on a market-rate apartment to that amount, but if it goes up by more than 5 percent, you must be given notice: 30 days for tenants who have lived in an apartment for less than a year with a lease shorter than 12 months; 60 days for tenants who have lived in their apartment for one to two years; and 90 days for tenants who have lived there for more than two years. If you were not provided with sufficient notice, inform the landlord to buy yourself more time.
Ultimately, you’re either going to have to pay more for this apartment or look for a cheaper one. You have a few options. If you want to stay in the neighborhood, consider looking at three- or four-bedroom apartments and taking on more roommates to lower your costs. If you want to keep your rent about what you’re paying now, consider neighborhoods like Astoria, Bushwick or Inwood, where you could get a two-bedroom apartment for the same or even less than what you’re paying now.
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