Is That Rent-Controlled Soho Loft Really Worth It?

SoHo (Photo from

When you fall asleep at night do you dream sweet dreams of life in a rent stabilized apartment? Tenants throughout the city have been living the dream in rent regulated digs while, month in and month out, you shed tears as you sign the check to your landlord. Curbed has a particularly interesting tale of a rent regulated fairytale (well, almost) in Soho.

Landing in New York in 1980, a college-grad began embarking upon the epic journey of first-home-hunting in the City. After finding an ad in The Village Voice, the newly minted New Yorker headed to Soho to check out a loft. The three bedroom space was perfect… But there was a catch, the resident explains:

he guy offering the lease made it clear that the place would go to whoever put the full $15K fixture fee in his hands first. My cash was locked in transit, but one of my roommates worked at an uptown restaurant owned by a big sports star and, luckily, the manager was crazy about her. Within an hour we were clutching a paper bag stuffed full with cash. We jumped on the downtown 6 train, praying we’d be first to hand over the fixture fee and sign a 20-year lease.

With a new apartment, the college grad had it all figured out… Until the building got a new landlord.

Over the next two decades there were multiple rent strikes, no heat for years on end, elevators locked out and lawsuits galore. Needed repairs went undone.

The story ultimately has a happy ending, however. The resident has lived in the same building for the past 30 years, paying basically $1,425 per month for a loft that would basically cost 10- or 20-times that these days.

What’s the moral of this story? If you’re willing to heat your home with trash-can fires for a couple winters, go find yourself a rent stabilized apartment. Hey-no pain no gain!

Is That Rent-Controlled Soho Loft Really Worth It?