Micro-unit apartments are also known as microapartments. Wikipedia defines microapartments as follows: “One-room, self-contained living space, usually purpose built, designed to accommodate a sitting space, sleeping space, bathroom and kitchenette.” The size of these compact apartments can be as small as 47 square feet.
Micro-unit apartments are much smaller than New York regulation’s minimum allowable size for an apartment of 400 square feet. This New York minimum standard was set in 1987. However, developers have found a way around meeting this standard. There have been developers who have received “waivers” excluding them from meeting this requirement. An example of this is Carmel Place, a nine-story building located at, 335 East 27th Street.
Astonishingly, the market rate for the Carmel Place micro-units were list as follows in November 2015, according to the New York Times: “A furnished 355-square-foot apartment on the second floor is listed at $2,910, while an unfurnished 360-square foot unit on the same floor is listed for $2,750- a $160-a-month discount. The lowest-priced unit listed, at $2,540, is a furnished 265-square foot studio on the third floor.” Also, 14 out of the 55 micro-units at Carmel Place were allegedly designated for “affordable housing” (priced at $950 per month).
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, in 2014, the average yearly cost of sheltering a homeless adult in a NYC homeless shelter was $28,609. In the same year, the average yearly cost of sheltering a homeless family in a NYC homeless shelter was $37,047. Compare these figures to the statistic that the average yearly rent for a unit in New York City public housing was $5,568 in 2015. Now, ask yourself the reasonable questions that arise from reading the aforementioned statistics.
Rent control is defined by Investopedia as follows: “A price control that limits the amount a property owner can charge for renting out a home, apartment or other real estate. Rent control acts as a price ceiling by preventing rents either from being charged above a certain level or from increasing at a rate higher than a predetermined percentage.”
Note that rent control does not necessarily mean that the housing under rent control will be affordable. A landlord can increase the rent of a rent controlled unit every two years by 7.5% until the maximum base is reached.