Real Estate

Winning a housing lottery and figuring out how to get out of the lease

Last fall, Rodica Miller found herself in some awkward positions: She had won an affordable-residential lottery for a one-bedroom apartment just off Roosevelt Island Studios, where she had been living since 2018. But going there would mean a substantial fare increase: $ 2,050 per month to $ 2,468 per month.

For Ms. Miller, a 42-year-old special education teacher who had paid the price out of Roosevelt Island before moving back in 2018, it was not a difficult choice. Lottery apartments will be rent-stabilized, leading to future predictions and manageable volume.

“When you’re paying the market rate, you’re at the mercy of the market,” she said. “I was always very nervous about being in a studio by market. I do not want to walk again. I like Roosevelt Island very much. “

And, she argued, a bedroom would be an upgrade, one she hoped she could spend someday. After living and working in a room for six months, it was even more attractive. Ms. Miller had been teaching remotely since last March, when the epidemic closed Manhattan Public High School, where she works.

“I felt like, I’m in my 40s, I should have a bedroom with a door,” she said. “But even if you are a middle-class professional, it is always difficult to find proper accommodation here.”

There was just one problem: He signed a two-year lease for his studio in August.


$ 2,468 | Roosevelt Island

Business: Ms. Miller is a special-education teacher in a vocational program for high school students, Co-op Tech, which is on the higher east side.
During the pandemic: She became even more in love with Roosevelt Island. She and her boyfriend, who live on the Upper West Side, bought beach chairs and spent many happy hours at the river.
A new building: “I haven’t lived in a new apartment before. Other places were not dilapidated, but everything is a problem, ”she said. “While living in New York City, I accepted things that I had never accepted in Romania.”
Adjustment to its new location: Ms. Miller, who barely cooked before the epidemic, decided that she would learn how to bake in her new home. “At one time, I was heating the oven – there was nothing in it – and the fire alarm went off. You can’t take the battery out like you do in an old building, and it shouts, ‘Fire, fire.’ Even though I am only making tea, I now turn on the vent.

Ms. Miller had filled out the affordable housing application in the spring and then “didn’t give it another thought,” she said. “I applied for the lottery in the past and never heard back. I knew the chances were very small. “

After visiting the new building and submitting all the necessary documents, she reached out to her landlord, and asked if she could terminate her lease. She assumed that there would be a financial penalty, which she was prepared to pay.

But his landlord told him that the lease could not be terminated and that his only option was to take possession of the studio. This is not usually an issue, but when Ms. Miller glances at StreetEasy, she realizes that the studios in her building were going for less than the $ 300 she was paying. (He renewed his lease without researching the market and did not feel that the rent had dropped so much during the epidemic)

“When I reached out to a broker about trying to rent it, the broker basically told me, ‘You will leave someone out.’ “

Subsequently, he tried to waive his rent from the landlord, who was renting other studios. The answer was another “no”

“When I really started hating them,” she said. “I thought, ‘I need to get out of here.’ “

Ms. Miller knew that other tenants were shopping to take advantage of the epidemic’s lower rent, which many landlords provide as months of free rent rather than the actual monthly monthly rate. “I don’t like one or two months of free deals,” she said. “I can’t move every few years.”

She also knew that she did not want to risk leaving Roosevelt Island, which she first fell in love with while living there until 2008 in 2006. “Green space is amazing,” he said. “It’s nothing like the rest of New York.”

She also loves architecture, which reminds her of Romania, where she grew up. “The architecture is not beautiful. It is like the communist buildings of Eastern Europe. “Some people don’t like it, but for me it’s comfortable.”

In his first stint on Roosevelt Island, he shared a $ 1,500-month two-bedroom with a roommate. After co-operating the building, he spent 10 years in Jackson Heights, where rents are generally lower. He had a studio and loved the neighborhood, especially the variety of cheap restaurants. But he missed the peace of Roosevelt Island.

“There is access to nature here that is not in Jackson Heights,” she said. “I always wanted to go back, but I couldn’t afford the market rent for a long time.”

She also remembered a half-hour commute to the Upper East Side; On a good day, his door-to-door movement from Jackson Heights was a one-way street every hour. Since going back, she has been taking a ferry to work, which is as enjoyable as New York City traffic.

Lothe lost her chance at a rented one-bedroom, she reached out to area leaders to help her get out of her lease. When she failed, she wrote Roosevelt islander onlineA digital news site covering the neighborhood. According to Ms. Miller, the landlord agreed to terminate his lease as soon as the Roosevelt Islander approached his landlord. He did not even have to pay a fine.

“I told him that I was telling a story about Rodica winning the Affordable Housing Lottery, but couldn’t get out of his current lease, and asked if they wanted to comment for the story,” Rick O ‘ Connor, publisher of Rougetus, said Islander Online. “I think they didn’t want to look bad and they did the right thing.”

Ms. Miller moves into her new apartment Riverwalk park Vikas, this January All rooms are of a good size. This is the first time in 13 years that she is living in an apartment with a separation between the bedroom and the living room.

She celebrated by ordering a sleeper sofa (she had never had a place for a couch before), so that Romania’s relatives could see her more comfortably once the epidemic arrived. Due to epidemic-related delays, Couch would not arrive until June, six months after his order. At the moment, a padded chair is filling inside.

The apartment also has a wide view of the East River and the Queensboro Bridge. However, she is aware that unlike the apartment, the views may not be past.

Ms. Miller said, “I think it’s an emotional benefit to watch, but I told myself that I can’t connect with it.” “Like Manhattan, nothing is permanent. I know that they are going to put a building in front of it at some point.

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