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Where The Cheap Apartments At?

Posted Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 1:00 pm by The Friendly Landlord in Worker Bees. More in 10002

Affordable Housing exists. I have seen it. In fact, a whopping 20% of the apartments I manage are set aside for low- to middle-income housing. And there’s a good chance you’re missing out on it.

Developers receive huge incentives from the city and state to designate a portion of their units as affordable. So if you thought that Affordable Housing is a fancy way of saying “The Projects” or tenements in the Bronx, think again. Almost every luxury rental built in the last twenty or so years has at least some percentage of its apartments set aside as affordable. How affordable? If you qualify, you could easily be paying $500 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side that most of your neighbors are shelling out well over $2000 for. Not a bad deal if you can get it.

Over a series of posts I’ll be touching on a number of facets of NYC Affordable Housing: how to find it, who qualifies, the difference in programs and much more. However, we’ll start with a couple of rules.


First, be patient. It can take a while, but if you qualify, and you get your name on enough lists, the odds are you’re going to find a great apartment for a low rent. And keep in mind that once you get in, you can stay for usually twenty to forty years! Even if you start making the big bucks. You should probably read those last two sentences again.

Two, start early. This should go without saying, but the poorer you are, the more likely you are to qualify. Most programs prohibit full-time students, but if you just graduated from NYU and you’re slaving away for Harvey Weinstein for medieval wages, you’re a perfect candidate. Ditto if you’re an oft-unemployed actor (as if there’s any other kind)?

Three, always appeal a negative decision. Affordable housing managers go through tons of applications, especially at the opening of a new building when they are conducting a lottery. The tiniest error or oversight can spur them to pick up that “ineligible” stamp, but I’ve seen appeals win over and over. Do everything you can to get an actual interview.

Those are the biggies. I’ll go into detail in later posts on how to find affordable housing, but I would suggest just picking up the newspaper and a phone. Look for new rental buildings in the real estate section of the New York Times, find one in a neighborhood you’re interested in, then call and ask how to get an application for affordable housing.

Do it quick, before you start making too much money!

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