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Over 50 percent of NYC tenants use over half their income for rent

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2019 | New York City Landlord-Tenant Law Blog, Tenants' Rights |

Surviving in New York City requires much more than just tenacity and a New York attitude. In today’s housing market, it also requires a hefty amount of rent each month.

According to a new analysis from the Citizens Budget Commission, about half of all renters in New York City are rent burdened–or, more than 30 percent of their income is used to pay the rent. And unfortunately, many of the city’s rent burdened households are made up of a vulnerable population of single parents, senior citizens and tenants who are extremely low income.

It is a dire financial situation for many renters

The study reveals additional distressing facts about New York City tenants. Over half of all rent- burdened New York households are severely rent burdened, meaning their rent is more than half their income. Of this group of severely rent-burdened tenants, over 90 percent are low income; 80 percent of these households are classified as extremely low income and very low income.

The study’s authors estimate that 368,000 households in New York City are very low income or extremely low income and pay more than half their income toward rent. A significant portion of these renters are senior citizens or single parents under the age of 29.

Tenants have rights

Currently, Mayor de Blasio has committed to building or preserving 300,000 affordable housing units by 2026. This plan does not, however, account for the 60,000-plus households that already pay more than half their income toward rent.

Tenants who struggle to pay for groceries, medical treatment and everyday costs of living often have difficulty coming up with rent. In some cases, they must also deal with exploitative landlords who prioritize profit over renters’ wellbeing and disregard tenants’ rights. Many tenants pay their hard-won rent on time every month, but live in units that do not meet the city’s legal standards of quality. Even the lowest-income renters have important rights that deserve to be upheld.

If you having a hard time paying the rent and are in a rent-stabilized apartment you may be eligible for a rent freeze through the SCRIE (for elderly) or DRIE (for disabled) programs. Contact 212-863-8494 for more information. Or you may be paying a rent that is unlawful, in which case you should sit down with a tenant attorney.

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