There are many valid arguments for and against the concept of rent control. Generally speaking, if you live in a city that has rent control, there are strict rules to how much your rent can be raised every year. For someone looking to rent for a long time, rent control is the greatest thing ever. Your goal should be to lock in a lease at an apartment you absolutely love, then never leave. My neighbors are an elderly couple who have lived in their apartment for over 20 years. They currently pay $700 a month for an awesome apartment that would easily rent for $2500 if it was on Craigslist tomorrow. Their landlord is essentially losing $1800 every month. Another major downside for rent-controlled landlords is that it’s basically impossible to kick tenants out.
This can be a real problem for an owner who is interested in remodeling or demolishing the entire building. The building owner either has to be patient enough to wait for the current tenants to move on their own… or die. If time is of the essence, there’s one other option to get tenants to leave: Pay them. And in a city like New York, where real estate is more precious than gold, paying off tenants can be an extremely expensive endeavor. Then there’s the story of Herbert J. Sukenik. Herb Sukenik held out for an absolutely insane amount of money to finally vacate his dingy 350 square foot Central Park apartment. It’s the most money ever paid to get a single tenant to leave an apartment in New York, possibly the world.