New York Housing Lottery

Affordable housing — and the lack thereof — is a hot topic nationwide as rent prices in major cities soar and New York City household incomes struggle to keep up. 

NYC Housing Lottery is an important avenue for securing affordable housing in New York City. As rent prices continue to rise, the lottery provides an opportunity for individuals with a wide range of incomes to apply for affordable housing.


What Is the NYC Housing Lottery?

People earning a wide range of incomes can apply to win affordable apartments and co-ops in New York through the NYC housing lottery.

New York offers programs that give developers tax breaks and lower-cost loans if they set aside a certain number of units for affordable housing in new buildings or newly renovated properties.

Apartments in these buildings are typically rent-stabilized, landlords can only increase rent by a certain percentage each year. Every year, increase percentages are released and the new numbers are to be implemented on October 1st. Currently, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (NYCRGB) limit rent increases to 3.25% for a one-year lease.

Although this system is commonly known as the NYC housing lottery, you actually apply to each building’s specific lottery, not all available affordable housing opportunities.

In each lottery, the system randomly assigns numbers to each application. The lower the number, the more likely the applicant will be contacted to potentially win an apartment.

How to Apply to the NYC Housing Lottery

To apply for the NYC Housing Lottery, you can use the NYC Housing Connect online
portal or submit a paper application. However, it’s crucial to ensure that you
meet the qualifications for the specific lottery you’re interested in before

Each building will have detailed rules on who qualifies for the lottery, often based on:

  • household income,
  • the number of members in the household, and
  • the credit, background history.

Make sure to double-check that you meet the guidelines — even if you beat the odds and are selected for an interview, you won’t be offered an apartment if you don’t qualify.

It is important to note that there is no application fee or broker involved in applying for housing through NYC Housing Connect. This means you won’t need to send money at any point in the process to apply. 

While the odds of winning an apartment through the NYC housing lottery can be challenging due to the high number of applicants; new lotteries open regularly for current and upcoming buildings. It’s recommended to check back and apply regularly to increase your chances. Additionally, some lotteries reserve a percentage of the units for current community board residents, providing an advantage for applicants in those specific neighborhoods.

Securing affordable housing through the NYC Housing Lottery can be a valuable opportunity, and we encourage interested individuals to explore the available options and apply within their eligibility criteria.

Finding Housing

Notification and Selection Process:

Once the application period for a specific lottery has closed, the Housing Connect system randomly assigns numbers to each application. Applicants with lower numbers have a higher chance of being contacted for further consideration, which may involve an interview or additional documentation.


Income Limits and Household Size:

The income limits for each lottery vary depending on the specific program and building. Generally, there are income requirements for different household sizes. It’s important to review the guidelines for each lottery to ensure that your income falls within the eligible range.


Preference Groups:

Certain lotteries may have preference groups that receive priority for affordable housing. These groups could include current community board residents, municipal employees, people with disabilities, veterans, and more. Keep an eye out for listings that offer preferences aligned with your circumstances.


Affordability and Rent Calculation:

The rent for affordable units is based on a percentage of your household income. This ensures that the rent remains affordable relative to your earnings. The specific calculation methods may vary depending on the program and building, so it’s essential to review the details of each lottery.

Application Processing and
Waiting List:

After the application period ends, the lottery officials review the Submitted applications to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. If your Application is deemed eligible, you will be placed on a waiting list. The length of time you may have to wait can vary, as it depends on factors such as the number of available units, turnover rates, and demand for affordable housing in specific neighborhoods.

Income Verification and Documentation:

As part of the application process, you will need to provide documentation to verify your income and other eligibility criteria. This typically includes recent tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and other relevant documents. Make sure to have these documents ready and keep copies for your records.



We hope the above guide was helpful, please feel free to contact us with any questions and our team wil be more then happy to assist