Preferential Rents in New York City

In 2003, lawmakers in New York State passed a law that in effect allowed landlords to bypass annual limits on rent increases for their rent-stabilized apartments. Owners could raise rents by more than the annual limits if they registered a high rent — often high above existing market rates -- but charged tenants a lower, “preferential” rent. Preferential rents are not regulated and can be raised up to the registered rate upon lease renewal. Today, more than 250,000 New York City apartments feature these rents.

We used this data to make an interactive map exploring the issue. The New York City Rent Guidelines board received ZIP code level data on preferential rents as of 2016 from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and added additional info on the number of occupied rent-stabilized units in each ZIP. We extracted this data from the memo (also included) and produced a spreadsheet from it.

The spreadsheet includes all ZIP codes in NYC with preferential rents, along with the count of preferential rents, the number of occupied rent stabilized units, and the percent of occupied rent stabilized units with preferential rents. It also includes the total Major Capital Improvement costs allowed for 2016, but for all apartments regardless of rent levels, and the Rent Guidelines Board warns that they are not correlated with preferential rents.


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