Residents of the York City-owned Pullman Apartments are nervous about their future living arrangements -- and with good reason.

Eventually, the city likely will sell the building where 21 senior and low-income tenants pay affordable housing rates.

And that's as it should be.

The city government has many responsibilities, but being a landlord isn't one of them.

The only reason it acquired the building is because the former owners never repaid a $475,000 loan the city made to them in 1995.

Had the two parties not agreed to the deed transfer, the North George Street property would have been sold at a sheriff's sale.

Still, several council members who approved the acquisition last year were uneasy with the city being in the rental business. They said at the time they wanted to find a buyer as soon as possible.

Whoever does purchase the building will be under no obligation to offer affordable housing, according to city officials -- and this is why the residents are worried.

Some of the tenants are on month-to-month leases, and they fear they could be sent packing at a moment's notice.

City officials have told them no sale is imminent, and, as Mayor Kim Bracey put it, they "have no intention of kicking anyone out on the streets."

In fact, David Cross, chair of the city's Redevelopment Authority, which technically owns the property, said there are no plans for it right now.

"We're nowhere close to knowing what we're going to do with it beyond holding it," he said.

The residents are not convinced, and understandably so.

If there are no immediate plans to sell the building, why won't city officials offer them long-term leases as they requested? That would give them peace of mind and time to look for other affordable housing.

Bracey, in a memo to the Redevelopment Authority, recently endorsed two-year leases for current tenants. Such a move would allow both residents and the authority to explore their options.

The authority hasn't acted yet, but we hope it takes the mayor's advice.

The residents deserve that breathing room.

But they also should accept the fact the building probably will be sold and there are no guarantees after that.

We would suggest they use those two years wisely.