NYC rents shoot up, pushing out tenants who signed pandemic deals

New York City's pandemic rent deals initially sounded like a good idea for many. But as the deals expire, many renters are being priced out of their apartments.

Cathy Linh Che moved from Jackson Heights, Queens, to a two-bedroom apartment in Lower Manhattan in December 2020. When it was time for Che to renew her lease, the sharp increase in rent shocked her.

"I received a letter saying that the rent would be increased 65% from my $1,700 to $2,800 a month, and that's something I could not do," Che said. "I was going back and forth about what are the possibilities and looking at every living possibility because I need shelter." 

Che said she eventually found a rent-stabilized apartment in Chinatown. But she is not the only one who has found herself in this situation.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

New Yorkers are now paying the price of what were known as pandemic-era deals, according to a new report from StreetEasy. The report found that 44% of Manhattan's inventory was likely made up of tenants being priced out. 

The Real Deal reporter Sasha Jones called the city's real estate market a "pressure cooker."

"People are moving into the city at a phenomenal pace. We have people that moved out of the city for different reasons," Jones told FOX 5 NY. "We also have landlords who gave up rent for a year and now are seeking to recoup that rent by raising rent." 

Jones said the rental market is showing no signs of slowing down, forcing some renters to look for affordable units outside of Manhattan.

"They are usually moving to the outer boroughs where things are less expensive, in Brooklyn and Queens," Jones said.

StreetEasy reported a 9% decrease in available units in Queens from the previous quarter. The report also found that the median asking rent in Queens rose to $2,600 by the end of Q2, a 13% jump from the end of Q1.