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How Monica Can Really Afford The Apartment In Friends

Monica's apartment in "Friends" is undeniably iconic. From the purple walls, to the spacious open floor plan, to the gorgeous terrace balcony, it has all the elements of the ideal apartment that any 20-something living in New York City would want — or, really, that anyone, anywhere, would want. Throughout the show's run, much of the action takes place in Monica's place, giving fans more than ample time to lust after her perfect apartment — and to wonder about how, exactly, Monica affords such an amazing place. 

Face it: we all know that New York City is not exactly the most affordable city to live in, and that apartment, even back in the nineties, would've had a high price tag attached to it. Then, you throw in the fact that Monica's roommate, Rachel, was just a waitress for the first couple years of sharing the place with her. How did they make the rent? Later on, Monica and Chandler both faced unemployment while living in the apartment. As the series went on, the question of how exactly they afforded that luxury apartment just became more and more apparent.

Believe it or not, though, this isn't a plot hole. The show's writers definitely thought about this problem and addressed it in the show.

Monica is paying a rent-controlled price thanks to her grandmother

According to CNBC, the cost of Monica's apartment in 2018 would be the very steep price of about $4,500 a month. And Cheat Sheet estimates that in the nineties, the price would equate to about $2,500, which is still an incredibly expensive apartment that any of the friends who lived there at the time — which each of them, excluding Ross, did at some point during the show's 10 seasons — would struggle to afford.

The show's answer? Rent control — albeit, done illegally. In the Season 4 episode, "The One with the Ballroom Dancing," the landlord, Mr. Treeger, actually threatens eviction, making it clear that he's been allowing Monica (and her various roommates) to sublet the apartment from Monica's deceased grandmother, who is the one benefitting from rent control (obviously, this being a sitcom, they find a way around this, through Joey teaching the landlord how to dance.)

How great a deal were they getting, thanks to this rent control? In fact, according to Julep and the aforementioned CNBC article, Monica's rent throughout the duration of "Friends" was a mere $200 a month, based on the rent being stabilized since the 1940s.

In the series finale, when Chandler comments that because of the rent control it was "a friggin' steal," he wasn't lying.