Rents in New York City are unprecedentedly high

In 2020, Thelma Rose Annan moved into her Manhattan apartment and paid $1,882 a month in rent. In 2021 it was $2,400 per month. This year, it rose another $1,100, bringing her monthly rent to a whopping $3,500.

“This jump increase is too much and I just can’t afford it,” Annan says.

The price hikes prompted her to leave the city. “I’m going to store my stuff and go to Europe and work remotely there,” she says. “And hope housing calms down in New York.”

In addition to rising rents, tenants in NYC face another challenge: the requirement to earn 40 times the rent when applying for an apartment. With the median rent in Manhattan around $4,000, the minimum income to qualify for a median apartment is $160,000.

If an applicant does not meet this requirement, he must find a guarantor who earns at least 80 times the rent to co-sign his lease.

“When I first moved into this apartment, it was $1,882 a month and I was making $65,000,” Annan says. “I was very privileged enough to be able to pay that rent requirement. But because it wasn’t 40 times as much, I needed a guarantor.”

She says it was embarrassing to deal with as a 29-year-old with a master’s degree. “I have proven that I can do it alone. But here’s a roadblock that doesn’t make sense and that seems very classic for pushing certain people out,” she says.

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