NYC housing lottery
January 23, 2017 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Need specifics about the NYC housing lottery after the interview process. Have you successfully gotten an apartment through the lottery? HALP

I applied for an NYC housing lottery 80/20 apartment through the NYC Connect online system in July 2016.

I was selected for an interview (so technically I ‘won’ the lottery) that I attended on Nov 11 2016. I had all my paperwork thoroughly in order, and my financial information at the time of the interview was the same as it was in July 2016 (near the upper end of the income range for eligibility). I have great credit and landlord references and everything is exactly as it should be and I feel like I’m about the strongest candidate I can be. At the time, my interviewer told me I would hear something in 6-8 weeks. Now that it’s been over 8 weeks, I called to check in on my application (because I have been having issues with my local postal service and not receiving some of my mail so was afraid to miss an official letter or something), and was informed that the range of possible notification would in fact be 2-10 months.

How, exactly, am I supposed to move on with my life in this period? It’s possible that I will be up for a promotion in the next couple months that would push me juuuust outside the upper limit of the income range, but as anyone in New York could attest to, that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically be all of a sudden able to afford a market rate apartment by myself. I asked not to be considered for the promotion yet a few months ago for the very reason that I thought I was going to hear about the apartment, so I’ve already given up two months of possible extra income.

My current lease (that I share with a roommate) is up at the end of April and my management company is not renewing leases in the building so that they can renovate, so I’m going to have to sign a new lease somewhere for May 1, and then possibly have to up and move again if I get this apartment, then figure out a sublease situation? I’m not sure. I’d rather not try to find a month-to-month because I don’t know how long I’ll actually have to wait and I asked if it was possible to extend my current lease for just a little while longer and they said no.

Here are my questions:

1) If I get accepted for the lottery apartment, will they check my income again to make sure it hasn’t risen above the income limit, or will they base it on the financials I have already provided? I was thinking about taking the promotion but asking to hold off on a raise until I know about the apartment, but I don’t want to miss out on what could be 8 months of extra income. Do they actually expect people’s incomes to not change over the course of 1.5 years between applying and getting accepted?

2) If I get accepted, how long will I have to get everything in order before I have to move in? Like will they give me only a couple weeks or will I have over a month before a move-in date?

3) Any other info or guidance from someone who has actually gone through this process would be super helpful as it seems to be such a rare occurrence that I can’t really find much info online on the actual process from the perspective of someone that gone through it.

This is for an 80/20 new construction in Brooklyn, in case that matters.

Thank you!
posted by greta simone to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would contact your City Councilmember's office and ask to speak to someone about this. I wouldn't necessarily trust them to give accurate advice regarding the process, but I do honestly believe that if they were willing to check in on your application they could get more detailed information about whether you are looking at 2 months or 10 months (and also that they could, possibly, accelerate the timeline by applying pressure in the right places). This is what they are there for.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:26 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


(1) They'll base it on the financials already provided. No one wants to go through the work of approving you again.

(2) The time you have to move in varies substantially by project. I've heard of people being given two weeks. At one point I was offered a little over a month. It's unlikely to be long.

(3) The process can be maddeningly unpredictable. People get offers right away, people have to wait months.

If you check city-data you can probably find people who have applied to your same project and can get some project-specific information.
posted by praemunire at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2017


I do honestly believe that if they were willing to check in on your application they could get more detailed information about whether you are looking at 2 months or 10 months (and also that they could, possibly, accelerate the timeline by applying pressure in the right places).

No no no no no no do not do this. This is not something the City Council controls and asking for favoritism in the lottery process is not going to win you friends.
posted by praemunire at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


this is not favoritism in the lottery process - this is a status inquiry on behalf of a constituent.

asking to be selected would be the former. maybe I didn't describe my suggestion sufficiently - you asked when you would hear back and were told 2-10 months, which is a very large window probably based on average times or a standard script. If they asked the same question they might get a detailed accurate answer, based on the fact that your specific application is in step 8/10 of the review queues or whatever.

my congresswoman doesn't control the greencard process, but when her constituent affairs staff inquired on our behalf we got a much more thorough answer than the form letters we had been getting. (different process same idea).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:51 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think this is normal, and I think you move on with your life as though you're not getting the apartment. Then, if you do, thank your lucky stars and do what you have to do to move.
posted by Salamandrous at 2:58 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


my congresswoman doesn't control the greencard process, but when her constituent affairs staff inquired on our behalf we got a much more thorough answer than the form letters we had been getting. (different process same idea).

Your Congresswoman and ICE belong to the same government, albeit coordinate branches. The lottery process is not run by the city or the state. Each lottery is handled individually by the developer (or by a firm hired specifically by the developer to handle dealing with the grubby lottery masses). Hassling the developer is not going to help an applicant--though I think that with tens of thousands of applicants to each lottery the city councilperson is probably not going to be eager to do much inquiring, anyway.

(The main reason for delay after interview is usually that the building is not actually open yet, as they make you an offer on a specific apartment that has to be available for viewing. The developers don't benefit from having units ready for occupancy standing vacant.)

It's a frustrating process; I recommend taking salamandrous's mental approach.
posted by praemunire at 3:09 PM on January 23, 2017


It’s possible that I will be up for a promotion in the next couple months that would push me juuuust outside the upper limit of the income range,

I'm knowledgeable about several different affordable/subsudized housing programs in California and they all require annual recertification reviews, and any number of changes can affect your status. I'd look through all the documentation to see if this is addressed, especially if you expect your income to slip over the DQ line in the near future. (I knew someone who lost her Sec 8 housing because of a change in her student status. I forget the details but it was either going part time to full time or the reverse.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:41 PM on January 23, 2017


Room 641-A, it's rent stabilized housing, and though they review your income every year, there is a set amount it can be raised every year. I've already looked into it. It's a New York City-specific program.
posted by greta simone at 5:46 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just an update for anyone who might look at this thread in the future. I found a city-data forum where people who were in the lottery were posting and it was very helpful to figure out where I was in the process. I ended up getting waitlisted, but it was an educational (albeit disappointing) experience.
posted by greta simone at 1:53 PM on March 7, 2017


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