After a temporary, pandemic-induced blip, the New York City housing market has made a roaring comeback, and rents are higher than ever. So how can savvy renters get an edge in this pricey city and land a brand new, rent-stabilized place they really like, at prices they can afford?
One of the best ways for renters to stretch their dollars is to tap the city’s affordable housing lottery programs, which cover a wide range of low- through middle-income households and include premier doorman buildings in some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods.
That’s right: Thanks to broader income ranges, you may already qualify. In fact, for the 266 Kent housing lottery currently open at One South First, individual incomes that qualify range from $55,646 all the way up to $167,570. That means you can potentially lock in a below-market, rent-stabilized rate in a brand-new apartment on the Williamsburg waterfront.
To be sure—affordable housing no longer means bare-bones. We’re in a new era of affordable housing in NYC, where rent-stabilized buildings have luxury apartments and the application process is user-friendly.
At One South First, the apartments are spacious with modern design. Think in-home washer/dryer, floor-to-ceiling windows, track lighting, solar/blackout shade, central A/C, dishwasher, and stainless-steel appliances. Amenities spare no detail, and include a 24-hour concierge, landscaped sundeck, fitness center, playroom, resident lounge, and pet grooming station.
The affordable housing lottery for 266 Kent opened on December 30th and runs for a limited time until March 4th. There are 89 rent-stabilized units available with rents starting from $1,550 for a studio, $1,651 for a one bedroom, and $3,169 for a two bedroom (depending on your income).
To help you prepare an application, here is some information about affordable housing lotteries in New York City.
Finding out if you qualify is simple
First, visit the 266 Kent site to review income requirements, which are based on annual household income and household size. Annual gross income includes all sources of income, including social security for each member of your household. For self-employed applicants, net income is analyzed.
For the 266 Kent housing lottery at One South First, the rent-stabilized lottery apartments are open to individuals or households making between 80 percent and 130 percent of area median income. A detailed breakdown of the income requirements and the monthly rents at each level is available here.
Once you review the requirements the site will direct you to the NYC Housing Connect application site, where you can register and file your application.
Why you should apply even if you can afford market rate
(Hint: to save money!) There are several significant financial benefits to renting an apartment through an affordable housing lottery program. First, all the apartments at One South First are rent-stabilized, so you’re locking in long-term savings, a guaranteed lease renewal option, and protections from steep rent hikes that some market-rate tenants often deal with.
And then once you’re in, you’re in for good. No matter how your circumstances may change, you are only required to qualify at move-in, and you do not need to resubmit your income again. That makes this not just a short-term opportunity, but one of the best ways to afford to live in NYC long term that many people don’t know about.
Affordable housing is nicer than ever
With 45 stories overlooking Domino Park, One South First is a bona-fide statement. It’s the second building to go up on the revitalized Domino Factory site, and its award-winning facade design has been turning heads since fall 2019. The building features two interlocking towers connected by a dozen floors at the top of the structure. The northern leg has office space, while the southern leg and the connecting portion on top house the apartments.
Right outside is Domino Park, five acres of multi-purpose green space, linking Williamsburg’s industrial past with its hip present, and opening the Brooklyn waterfront to the public for the first time in over a century.
This is what affordable housing in NYC looks like now.
Applying is cheap and easy
There is no application fee to apply for an apartment in an affordable housing lottery, and the newly revamped NYC Housing Connect portal is a major improvement over its predecessor. It has customizable search, mobile-friendly design, and a streamlined selection process that allows applicants to submit documents electronically, receive real-time alerts for important deadlines, and move through the process faster.
To enter, all you have to do is visit 266 Kent’s website, click apply, then create an account on NYC Housing Connect and provide some basic personal information: your name, birth date, household size, and income. Then you will be able to apply to the 266 Kent lottery.
The approval process can take longer. A few weeks after the application deadline, the lottery will be held and applications will be randomized in the system. This determines the order in which the applications will be processed. If your log number is reached, a marketing agent will contact you to verify your income and eligibility. This can take from two to 10 months. It is a process—but when you consider the financial benefits, it is really a no-brainer.
The affordable housing lottery for 266 Kent Apartments at One South is now open for a limited time with an application deadline of March 4th, 2022. You can apply now on Housing Connect. To learn more about the program, visit 266kentlottery.com.