Although there are countless residents who could never imagine calling any place besides New York City home, a new study has found that NYC renters are among the least satisfied with their living situations. In a city that routinely lists apartments of shoebox-sized proportions for thousands of dollars a month, the data should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, even those who take pride in dwelling in one of the five boroughs.
The study, which was conducted by an apartment searching site called Abodo, analyzed data from the 2015 U.S. Census American Housing Survey to reveal levels of rental satisfaction in 25 American cities. The results show that renters in New York City, Newark, and Jersey City ranked 22nd in terms of satisfaction.
The data was measured in two different categories. Neighborhood satisfaction analyzed how renters rated their locale on school quality, crime, public transport, and litter. Interestingly, those in the New York City area actually ranked their neighborhoods highly; the region came in 11th place in this category. But in terms of home satisfaction — which included pest activity, heating problems, mold, leaks and water damage, and “missing walls and holes in the roof,” New Yorkers weren’t quite so content. In fact, many residents said they had to deal with “not having a working toilet at some point in the last three months” and “being uncomfortably cold for 24 hours or more.” Since heating and cooling already accounts for 48% of energy use in a typical U.S. home, it’s understandable that New York renters would be cranky about paying for utilities from which they cannot benefit. And of course, New York City ranks fourth on a separate list of most expensive cities for renters, which only adds insult to injury. Plus, New Yorkers have to deal with the most rats — which is, again, not a complete shock.
Not only is New York City one of the most expensive housing markets in the world, but prices just keep going up. Many landlords are remodeling lofts, condos, and apartments in places like Brooklyn and the Upper East Side so they can raise rents ever higher. And while two out of three homeowners are planning to renovate their homes in the near future, these types of upgrades have priced many lifelong New Yorkers out of their own neighborhoods.
On the other end of the satisfaction scale, renters in Raleigh, NC came out on top, as residents there say they love their apartments. Although 33% of renters move each year, it’s likely that those in Raleigh might be more likely to stay put. Renters there expressed fulfillment in almost every category due to the area’s affordability, urban environment, and accessibility.
In New York, it’s not just the high cost of rent that aggravates many renters. Maintenance issues, like pests and heating problems, can often be linked back to poor property management. The Public Advocate’s office just released the 2017 list of worst landlords in the city which makes it a bit easier for residents to get some background on their landlords and steer clear of impacted properties.
All told, these lists and studies show that it takes a special kind of person to survive as a New York City resident. It’s certainly not for the weak of heart — or for the squeamish.