The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

How to Find the Perfect Rent-Stabilized Apartment in NYC

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New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world with its high cost of living. Therefore, finding quality, affordable, cheap apartments for rent remains challenging. However, one way to secure a relatively stable and cheap apartment is by looking for a Rent-Stabilized Apartment in NYC.

The rent-stabilized apartment is the holy grail of New York City living. In these mythical flats, the city controls the rent price and typically increases at a fraction of the cost of similar units on the market.

Despite their fabled status, they exist: According to city data, there were about a million rent-stabilized apartments in the city last year, making up about 44 percent of its total rental stock.

So how do you secure one of these unicorns? Rent stabilization is a program that helps keep rent affordable for tenants by limiting the rent increase landlords can charge.How to Find the Perfect Rent-Stabilized Apartment in NYC Here are some tips for finding the perfect rent-stabilized apartment in NYC.

What Is a Rent-Controlled Apartment?

Rent regulation protects tenants from excessive rent increases. New York State has two forms of rent regulation:
  • rent control and
  • rent stabilization.
Rent control applies to apartments built before 1947 — and there’s a twist. The tenant, or legal successor, must have continuously lived in the unit dating back to July 1, 1971. A rent-controlled unit changes hands only through family members or successors.When the tenant of record dies, a family member or successor living in the apartment with the tenant for two years before the tenant’s death may become the new tenant.

What Is a Rent-Stabilized Apartment?

Rent-stabilized apartments are typically in buildings built before 1974 and have more than six units. Also, buildings constructed after 1974 are rent-stabilized thanks to certain tax abatements.Occasionally you may hear of a rent-stabilized unit in a co-op building. Tenants who lived in the building before the conversion rented apartments like these.

Do Your Research on Rent-Stabilized Apartments in NYC

Start by thoroughly researching neighborhoods, buildings, and listings to understand the rental market and identify areas where rent-stabilized apartments are available. This can involve looking up information on rental websites, speaking with real estate agents, and contacting current tenants for insight.

Research can help you make informed decisions and increase your chances of finding a suitable rent-stabilized apartment.

Search official databases

The Rent Guidelines Board maintains a list of all buildings registered with the DHCR. It’s a fantastic resource, but the PDF files are unruly. Search by borough or by zip code, but they are still huge. (The document for Brooklyn is 339 pages.)

However, the record does not if a building is stabilized because of a tax reduction, which is helpful. Alternatively, you can search by address on DHCR’s website, so if you spot a listing that you think might be rent-stabilized, you can look it up.

One important thing to note: Neither of these resources says which units in these buildings remain stabilized.

Check Listings

There are many online listings for affordable apartments in NYC, including rent-stabilized apartments. Some popular websites to check include StreetEasy,, and Zillow.

Checking listings for apartments can help you identify rent-stabilized and available apartments. This is a good starting point for your apartment search. Additionally, it can help you compare the prices and features of different apartments to make a well-informed decision. You can also check with local real estate agents, who may have access to listings that are not available online.

Know what to look for.

Rent-stabilized units are primarily in buildings built before 1974, have six or more units, have not been previously deregulated, and are not co-op or condo.

Put ‘rent stabilized’ into a keyword search on listing sites

You can also search apartment listings sites like StreetEasy, renthop, and open igloo to check what’s available. If you add “rent-stabilized” to the keyword field, some rent-stabilized apartments will appear on listings. For example, searching for “rent-stabilized” apartments on StreetEasy finds 218 units in NYC.

However, landlords don’t always advertise that an apartment is stabilized—they are not required to—so it’s essential to do your research (see #1 above) and search listing sites.

Talk to Current Tenants

If you are interested in a particular building or apartment, consider speaking with current tenants to learn more about the building and their experiences.

Speaking with current tenants can provide valuable insight into the landlord, building maintenance, and other essential factors not apparent from online listings. By talking to existing tenants, you can gain an honest perspective of living in a particular apartment or building and determine if it fits you.

Apply for an apartment through the NYC housing lottery

Another route to find a rent-stabilized apartment is NYC Housing Connect or New York’s affordable housing lottery. These apartments are in brand-new buildings, often with popular amenities like outdoor space, gyms, and even pools.

To qualify for these apartments, you must meet specific income requirements, which differ for each building. In many cases, the building will still be under construction when you apply, and the application process can take a long time. Most successful applicants apply to many different buildings many times and are only successful after years of persistence.

Act Quickly to grab a Rent-Stabilized Apartment in NYC.

This means having all of your necessary documents, such as proof of income and credit history, ready to go so that you can apply as soon as possible.

Rent-stabilized apartments are in high demand, so it’s significant to act quickly when you find one that fits your requirements. This can involve rapidly responding to emails, filling out rentalfor rent applications, and possibly paying a deposit.

Acting quickly can increase your chances of securing a rent-stabilized apartment before someone else does.

Consider Renters Insurance

Renters insurance can protect your personal belongings from theft, fire, or other unforeseen circumstances.

The average cost of renters insurance in NYC is around $18 a month, a small price for the peace of mind it provides. Renters’ insurance can cover the cost of replacing lost or damaged items and provide liability coverage in case of accidents or injuries in your rental unit. It is significant to carefully review and compare different renters’ insurance policies to determine which best meets your needs and budget.


In conclusion, finding the perfect rent-stabilized apartment in NYC remains challenging, but it is possible with research and persistence.

Following these tips and acting quickly can increase your chances of finding a quality apartment that meets your needs and budget. And don’t forget to consider the importance of renters insurance to protect your belongings and give you added peace of mind.

Written By: Georges Benoliel

Georges has been working in Wall Street for the last 16 years trading derivatives with hedge funds. He has been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Georges graduated from HEC Business School in Paris and holds a master in Finance from ESADE Barcelona.

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