Rent Control vs. Rent Stabilization: What's The Difference?

Posted by: TheGuarantors on August 26, 2021

Finding a cheap apartment for rent in New York City is a dream come true for renters. NYC is one of the most expensive cities to live in. However, there are laws in place to make sure NYC renters aren’t left at the mercy of the rental market: rent control and rent stabilization.

Nearly 1 million apartments in NYC are covered by laws to help protect renters financially. They ensure rent prices remain stable and housing is affordable in the city. In recent times, rent-stabilized apartments have become more widespread than rent-controlled apartments.

That said, rent control and rent stabilization are different. They both fall under the umbrella term of “rent regulation.” They’re two unique laws that will affect the rent you pay differently. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about rent control vs. rent stabilization and why a rent-stabilized unit is the best for you.

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What To Know About Rent Control in NYC

When NYC introduced rent control, it was a policy aimed to regulate housing prices. The rent price of the apartment remains the same indefinitely. As long as the rent policy remains active in your apartment, you don’t have to worry about a rent increase.

Rent control is regulated by state governments. Presently, rent control is only available in 4 states (CA, NY, NJ, MD) and Washington, DC.

An apartment needs to meet specific criteria to qualify for rent control:

  • The building must be constructed before 1947.
  • The same family must have occupied the apartment since 1971.

Landing a rent-controlled apartment is difficult though. You must be a successor of a family that owns the apartment. Additionally, you can only inherit the apartment if you've lived in it for two consecutive years. It cannot be leased out to family members either who haven’t lived in the rent-controlled apartment.

As of 2020, only 22,000 rent-controlled apartments are left in NYC!

What To Know About Rent Stabilization in NYC

Unlike rent control, it’s much easier to find a rent-stabilized apartment. One million apartments, about 50% of NYC’s apartments, are rent-stabilized. They also do not require succession rights to rent one. Anybody can rent a rent-stabilized apartment regardless of their nationality.

Rent stabilization is another form of rent regulation policy. Rent stabilization limits the amount of rent increase in apartments covered under the policyThe rent guidelines board allows landlords to increase the rent only by a small percentage every yearTo put this in perspective, a two-year lease attracts a 1% increase in rent for the second year. Rent stabilization also lasts forever as long as it meets specific criteria:

  • The apartment building was constructed before 1974.
  • There are six or more units in the building.

Furthermore, new laws protect tenant’s apartments from becoming deregulated. Before 2019, if a tenant’s annual income exceeded $200,000 and rent exceeded $2,774, the apartment could be deregulated. The new laws prevent apartments from getting deregulated regardless of these conditions.

What makes rent stabilized apartment a better choice?

While rent-controlled apartments likely offer much lower rent prices, they are extremely rare and come with the extensive conditions listed above. So unless you are set to inherit a family apartment, rent-stabilized is the way to go! Let’s look at why rent-stabilized apartments could be a suitable choice for you. Rent-stabilized apartments provide plenty of benefits to the renter:

  • You don’t have to worry about the sudden increase in rent by your landlord.
  • It provides affordable housing in an otherwise expensive city like New York.
  • Renters have the option to renew their lease at the end of the year without any hassles.

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How to find rent-stabilized apartments?

It’s actually quite easy to find rent-stabilized apartments. Take a look at our resources below:

While rent-controlled homes are extremely sought after, you’ll more likely find a rent-stabilized home in NYC that provides similar benefits. And in a city like New York, having stable rent is a must!