Though the New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted to freeze rents for some rent-stabilized units, tenants in rent-controlled units face a far less certain future. The state Division of Housing and Community Renewal runs those units and rents could go rise up to 9.6 percent over the next two years, the New York Times reported. To be under rent control, an apartment has to have been built before February of 1947 and have been continuously occupied since 1971, which means more elderly tenants. While there are about a million rent-stabilized units, there are only about 27,000 rent-controlled units.
Many tenants in rent-controlled units say that any increase would be a hardship, the Times reported. The median rent in those units is $900 a month while the median rent for rent-stabilized units is $1,200 a month. The median income for rent-controlled tenants is only $29,000 compared to $40,600 for rent-stabilized tenants.
The rent increases won't be automatic, for owners need to apply for them and sometimes don't because of the paperwork. Still, tenants are worried. "I don't know if I can stay in my apartment," a 76-year-old woman who has lived on the Upper West Side for 46 years said at a public hearing. "I don't want to leave New York City and live with my children. I want to remain independent."