Rent control laws can be quite restrictive but are not necessarily exclusionary. Taking advantage of rent control laws is more than possible, but requires forethought, planning and savvy. Because of the low cost of rent controlled apartments and the high demand, it may be quite difficult to find an available, rent controlled apartment. As such, do not be surprised if your search takes up to a year.
Rent Control Explained
A rent controlled apartment has a maximum monthly rental price that a landlord is able to charge. A landlord of such an apartment cannot raise rents beyond a prescribed amount, meaning that there is a rent ceiling for the unit. Usually, rent control laws only apply to residential properties built prior to 1947. Specific rent control laws are set by the state or county legislature, including those laws that prohibit rent control. Your local realtor’s association will be able to inform you whether rent control is available in your state or city and, if so, which buildings, areas or specific units are identified as rent controlled.
Search for Rent Controlled Apartments
If rent control is available in your state or city, you should begin your search by identifying those places where such apartments are located. Most likely, there will be pockets of areas or specific buildings that are rent controlled. Finding those areas that are rent controlled is an important step in taking advantage of rent control laws because it will permit you to narrow your focus and look only in those areas for available apartments.
Identify Available Apartments
Unfortunately, it may be quite difficult to find apartments for rent that are also rent controlled. These apartments are in high demand and, because they are often quite less expensive, are rarely vacated. Those rent controlled apartments that do become available are snatched up quite fast or are even sub-let to friends or family.
Because of this, do not become frustrated if you do not immediately find a dearth of available apartments or are unable to view an apartment prior to it being rented. Your search for available, rent controlled apartments, may take much longer than you anticipate.
Furthermore, the best way to find a rent controlled apartment may be by word of mouth. Many realtors and landlords will not advertise rent controlled apartments because there is no need to take on that expense when the demand is so high. As such, it may be wise to make friends with the landlords of rent controlled apartments so that you are notified once an apartment becomes available.
As mentioned previously, many rent controlled apartments never even come onto the market because they are in such demand. The best way for you to find and rent such an apartment might be to sub-let from a current tenant. Unfortunately, this option also runs the risk of you only being able to occupy a rent controlled apartment for a year or less, until the original tenant wants to return to the apartment. Finding an apartment to sub-let is best accomplished by letting your friends and acquaintances know that you are seeing to sub-let a rent controlled apartment.