Rents all over the country have been rising like crazy. From California to New York and everywhere in between, we have seen rents increasing at a record level. You don't need to look much farther than what has been happening right here in Western New York to see it happening in real life.

Rents all over the 716 have exploded. Apartments that used to cost a few hundred dollars a month are now over $1,000 per month in some of the poorest neighborhoods. In contrast, rentals in the ritzier areas are even more expensive, with rents nearing $2,000 or more per month.

Back in 2019, the New York State Legislature passed a law that gave all sorts of new protections to renters in the Empire State, and now some New York communities are using that law to make rentals in their areas more sustainable.

What Is The Emergency Tenant Protection Act?

New York State Senate Bill S06458 / Assembly Bill A08281 was signed by the Governor on June 14, 2019, and heralded all sorts of new protections for tenants. While landlords complained that this law was unfair to them, many renters across the state cheered that they had new rights when renting a home.

The Housing Stability and Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 2019, in addition to giving new protections to renters, also updated New York's long-standing rent stabilization laws.

Rent Stabilization, which is also called Rent Control, provides specific rules as to how much rents are in certain apartments, how much rents can be increased, and a landlord's ability to remove or evict a tenant.

Historically, rent control only applied to rentals in New York City, but with the new rental law, other locations in the Empire State have been taking on rent control in their areas. Recently, the Village of Nyack and the City of Newburgh both enacted rent control.

With these locations outside of New York City taking on rent control, many folks in the 716 are wondering if this could help our rental problems.

Can Rent Control Help Buffalo and Western New York?

With the Fair Market Rent in Western New York for a two-bedroom apartment being over $1,000 per month, more and more people in the 716 are finding these rents unaffordable.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development
US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Many folks have complained to local authorities that, while rents have been increasing, landlords have not been improving their properties accordingly.

Buffalo has some of the nation's oldest housing stock, making it subpar and often unsafe. Couple that with the lack of an active rental registry and proactive housing inspections, and it means that we, one of the poorest cities in the nation, pay more for housing compared to our income than many similar-sized cities. Also, Buffalo opted out of doing a comprehensive vacancy study. We don't have a high vacancy rate because there are available units, we have a high vacancy rate because there is a high percentage of uninhabitable units.
-India Walton, Senior Strategist with Roots Action

While rent control may be an option for Buffalo, one thing is for sure: what's currently happening with rents cannot be maintained in the 3rd poorest cities in America.

25 Cities That Experienced the Nation's Highest Rent Hikes in '23

Rent prices have soared in recent years and according to the experts at, these 25 cities experienced the most significant increases in monthly prices in 2023.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

What Kind Of Apartment Can You Rent For $1,800 In Toronto Vs. Buffalo

Rents have been increasing all over the area, but incomes haven't been keeping up - so what kind of place can you get for your money? All apartments below are listed for rent at $1,800 per month.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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