By Contributors: Augustin Hedberg, David Lanchner, Tyler Mathisen, Michele Willens

(MONEY Magazine) – Nowhere is rent control more bitterly debated than in New York City, especially in Manhattan, where roughly 420,000 of the borough's 650,000 apartment units are subject to rent restrictions. The classic criticism: landlords facing rent laws don't build and lucky tenants living in low-priced, rent-controlled units don't move, thereby creating a tighter, more costly apartment market for the middle class. The defense: without rent control, which exists in at least 130 cities, including Berkeley, Boston, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Washington, gouging landlords would put apartments out of reach for thousands of low- and middle-income renters. Now writer William Tucker has amassed delectable evidence supporting his opposition to controls -- a list of New York City celebrities living high on the high rise. Topping Tucker's roster is Mayor Edward Koch, who pays $351.60 a month for a one-bedroom unit with a wraparound terrace in Greenwich Village. He has held the lease for 21 years. Comparable apartments in his neighborhood go for $1,700 a month. Actress Lauren Hutton lives in a 900-square-foot chalet-style unit on the lower West Side that costs $468.81 a month. An unusual apartment like hers could go for as much as $1,600 a month. Masterpiece Theater's Alistair Cooke puts down $975.38 a month for eight rooms overlooking Central Park. Comparable: $4,000 to $5,000 a month. Abbie Hoffman, a founder of the 1960s-era yippie movement, pays a scant $95.15 a month for a place on Manhattan's 34th Street -- an unheard-of rent in a town where the lowest-priced apartments are generally advertised for $500 to $700 a month. Not to dwell on other high livers paying low rents, such as Shelley Winters, Mia Farrow and Carly Simon. But who said life is fair -- especially in New York.