In East Flatbush, a new middle-income housing lottery is throwing in ‘free rent’

February 5, 2019

Photo via CityRealty

The next culprit in a long list of the city’s non-affordable “affordable” housing lotteries is an opportunity for “middle-income” New Yorkers to apply for 28 units at East Flatbush’s new rental Ensemble. It’s available to New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the median income, which begs the question: Is a single person earning $95,000 a year really in need of subsidized housing? But the most questionable part of this lottery is that it’s offering “six months free rent on the last six months of one and two-year leases.” Rental concessions like this are typically reserved for market-rate buildings that are having trouble leasing or need to attract tenants in a slow market. But since these affordable rents are minimally lower than the market-rate, maybe it’s operating as such.

The units up for grabs in the lottery are $1,800/month studios, $2,200/month one-bedrooms, and $2,600/month two-bedrooms. Currently listed market-rate apartments in the building are renting for $1,650/month for a studio, $2,300/month for a one-bedroom, and $2,600/month for a two-bedroom, the exact same price at the lotto. In a response to a larger investigation of these higher-priced middle-income housing lotteries, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development responded:

These apartments are important not only because they give middle-income families an opportunity to live in a new, rent-stabilized, privately owned affordable apartment. But also because the rents for middle-income apartments cross-subsidize the deeply affordable apartments in mixed-income buildings. This helps to bring more operating revenue into the building that maintains it over time without requiring as much City subsidy.

Politics aside, the 28 available apartments at Ensemble have access to a gym, roof deck, and in-unit laundry. The building is notable for its full-scale mural representing the East Flatbush/Crown Heights community.

Qualifying New Yorkers can apply for the affordable apartments at Ensemble until April 8, 2019. Complete details on how to apply are available here (pdf). Questions regarding this offer must be referred to NYC’s Housing Connect department by dialing 311.

If you don’t qualify for the housing lotteries mentioned, visit’s no-fee rentals page for other apartment deals in the city.

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