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Question: I see these 80/20 lotteries where people like me can win apartments in new luxury buildings. If I win a housing lottery and qualify because my income is low, what happens if my income goes up in the future? Will I be kicked out?

— Hopefully Moving Up on the East Side

Dear Hopefully:

Flash forward 20 years. The headline on the landing page of the New York Post: “Billionaire Lives Like a King, Pays Like a Pauper!”

Yes, just as New Yorkers carry abundant envy/resentment for movie stars in rent-controlled apartments, some day many of this era’s housing lottery winners will be similarly envied/reviled. You may be just a low-level office assistant today, but even if your income should rise by several multiples, you should be able to keep your cheap rental apartment.

According to the Metropolitan Council on Housing, a tenant’s rights group, “Once a household rents an apartment, the income eligibility requirements are no longer the basis of the rent (even though the households are required to re-certify their incomes each year.) Rents do not go up or down in proportion to the tenant’s income (as with public housing or Section 8); instead, the units are typically subject to rent-stabilization, and the rent increases follow the same guidelines as other rent-stabilized apartments.”

That means you’ll be doubly lucky. Not only will you have won one of the lotteries (Chances? About 1,000 to 1.), but you’ve also snagged yourself a life-time rent deal. You can’t be evicted, and your rent can’t rise to market levels.

As the great lady Cindy Adams herself might say, “Only in New York, kids. Only in New York.”

David Crook is a veteran journalist and author of The Complete Wall Street Journal Real-Estate Investing and Homeowner’s Guidebooks. Do you have a question about anything real estate-related in NYC? Write him at For verification purposes, please include your name and a phone number; neither will be published. Note: Nothing in this column should be considered professional legal advice. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.