In 2020, Thelma Rose Annan moved into her Manhattan apartment paying $1,882 per month in rent. By 2021, it was $2,400 per month. This year, it rose by another $1,100, bringing her monthly rent to a whopping $3,500.
“This jump increase is too much and I simply cannot afford it,” Annan says.
The price hikes led her to leave the city. “I’m going to put my stuff in storage and go to Europe and work remotely there,” she says. “And hope that housing calms down in New York.”
Along with soaring rent prices, NYC renters face another challenge: a requirement that they earn 40 times the rent when applying for an apartment. With the median asking rent in Manhattan around $4,000, the minimum income to qualify for a median apartment is $160,000.
If an applicant doesn’t meet this requirement, they need to find a guarantor who makes at least 80 times the rent to cosign their 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 afford that rent requirement. But because it wasn't 40 times that, I needed a guarantor.”
She says it was something that was embarrassing to deal with as a 29-year-old with a master's degree. “I proved I can make it on my own. But here is a roadblock that doesn't make sense and seems to be very classist to push certain people out,” she says.