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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: How has COVID-19 affected rentals in the New York City area?

New York and New Jersey real estate attorneys expected the coronavirus quarantines to impact the New York City rental market. Now, several months after the lockdowns began, reports are indicating just how significant the impact has been so far.

If you’re considering renting an apartment in New York City or New Jersey, this could be the best time.

According to a July 2020 study from the real estate listings site StreetEasy, two primary pandemic-related factors converged resulting in nearly 35% of all Manhattan rents dropping for the first time in a decade. The study cited a combination of “the lack of demand for apartments and an increase in vacancies as New Yorkers flee the city” as factors that were driving the discounts. Reportedly, Manhattan landlords dropped asking rents 6.7% in an effort to fill empty apartments as an enticement for those who’ve always wanted, but could not previously afford, a Manhattan rental.

According to the same study, rents are also dropping significantly in several outer boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens, where some tenants are negotiating better numbers and/or receiving other perks as incentives to sign.

With employees continuing to work remotely, the need to live close to a New York City-based job to cut down on commuting time and costs is no longer an issue for many. This has enabled people to take advantage of changes in the housing and rental markets in and around New York City. Some fled city apartments and don’t plan to return while others are snapping up vacant apartments that were previously out of their financial reach.

Landlord-tenant conflicts and eviction issues due to COVID-19

Early in the pandemic, New York tenants were granted protection from landlords commencing new eviction proceedings against them by the governor’s executive order. The moratorium on evictions has recently been extended through October 1st.

If you are considering renting an apartment in the New York City area, or in New Jersey, or if you are a tenant or a landlord that needs help resolving a landlord-tenant conflict, the experts at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all aspects of commercial and residential real estate transactions.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.