Some NYC rents spike 70% as market rebounds

After a downturn in 2020, rents in New York City have shot up, in some cases, by as much as 70% as the real estate market heats up.

"A lot of renters are going to be getting to see situations where they're facing a thousand-dollar or plus rent increases on their leases," said Nancy Wu, an economist for Streeteasy.

According to Wu, rents in New York City are beginning to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

While 2020 saw New Yorkers leave the city, 2021 has been the year of moving back. With large companies and institutions ordering a physical return to work and school, landlords are ready to play hardball on lease renewals, demanding massive increases, sometimes in the thousands, for staying in the same apartment.

And there's not much a tenant can do.

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"Most of my clients would never in a million years be able to afford an increase like that," said Erin Evers of Legal Services NYC. "I think most kind of regular people would never be able to afford an increase like that. Just the numbers really shock the conscience."

Housing experts say a lot of people moved to the city last year, pursuing a dream after rents dropped to record lows. New tenants received concessions, in some cases, three months rent-free on a one-year lease.

Now, they're facing the gross rate on top of a rent hike and suddenly those living the dream find themselves in a nightmare.

For contract, New York's rent stabilization board ordered a 0% increase on one-year leases and a 1% increase after the first six months.

Some housing groups say New Yorkers in market-rate apartments should also have some expectation of stability, something housing laws currently don't provide.