A TikTok user has gone viral after showing an alleged email from her landlord raising her rent by $700. User Grace Pinegar (@vinegarwithap) says his landlord explained to him via email that he was raising the rent because the higher rent better reflected “the value of the apartment.”
However, as Pinegar notes in the now-viral video, there are numerous issues with the apartment that would call that assessment into question, such as dirty hallways, water damage and peeling paint. She shines a light on all of these issues while sarcastically singing “that’s what the apartment is worth.” Pinegar clarified in a comment that the email was from Frontgate Property Management in Brooklyn, New York.
Her first video has over 667,000 views.
@vinegarwithap #green screen hey haha…. don’t move to new york now #fyp #the comedy #comedyvideo #nyc #healthadepopit ♬ This is what apartments are worth – Grace Pinegar
Rental prices in New York are rising rapidly. A report of real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman says the median rent in Manhattan has risen just under 30% over the past year, with rents in Brooklyn rising nearly 20% over the year.
In Pinegar’s video, his landlord cites this citywide price increase as one of the reasons his apartment’s price is going up.
This enraged some users on TikTok.
“They act like it’s grown against their will,” one user wrote.
“Ask them what upgrades they’ve made for $8,000 in the past year,” agreed another.
In general, New York City landlords are allowed to increase rents as much as they want at the end of a lease, as long as the apartment is not stabilized. The lessor must notify this increase in rent within a period determined according to the seniority of the tenant in the apartment.
Some users told Pinegar that she should just move to another apartment. Since many apartments in New York have similarly high prices, it’s unclear if this would actually solve his problem.
The creator claims in a follow-up video that comments like these don’t see the biggest problems in housing today.
@vinegarwithap Reply to @woahnyc88 I have so many other thoughts on this, but here’s a short answer 🙂 #fyp #housing crisis #nyc ♬ original sound – Grace Pinegar
“I think in the United States there’s this common understanding that money is king, the poor are just unlucky, and if you can’t afford something, you should just leave,” she begins in the video.
“In a luxury industry, I think that makes sense. For example, I would never go to a steakhouse expecting McDonald’s prices,” she continues. “The difference here is that housing is, in my personal view, a basic human right.”
She further explains that she thinks everyone should be housed, regardless of income or ability to work, and that cities that want to have things like cafes, music venues, parks, etc. must be able to provide accommodation for people who want it. work in those establishments that those workers can afford.
Pinegar then says that the price of this apartment will alienate her from a community, as she has befriended the people in the building and established a life in the area. Continuing to raise prices, she says, fosters a culture of not investing in a community because no one can be certain of its future.
TikTok users were generally supportive of this sentiment.
“Should have the right to have a roof. Prizes seem to be reserved for the elite,” one user wrote. “What about the rest? They’re all people! We’re all people!
“Amen, I agree 100%! another added. “Just because some can afford high rents doesn’t mean we can act like those who can’t afford it, experiences don’t matter.”
The TikToker then offered more information in an exchange of messages with the Daily Dot.
“We signed August 2021 at $2,500/month. In [May] we received a notice of increase to $3,250. We heard our neighbors were only getting about 50 to 100 raises, so we emailed to see if it was the right price or if they sent us the wrong documents,” Pinegar told Daily Dot via direct message on Instagram. “That’s when they sent us the email – ‘this is the value of the apartment’… My roommate has a thread where they basically told her – ‘the landlord of this building doesn’t want to trade below a certain amount because they know they could get that much ($3,250) if the unit was on the market.
“We made a counter offer of $2,650, and they rejected it,” she noted. “I wanted to fight our landlords via a rent strike, but my roommate and I had different comfort levels about how it would affect us and our housing situation. In the end – she stays here with a new roommate and they “negotiated” rent at $3,100; I decided to leave New York because of this and move closer to my family in Texas.
As stated earlier, landlords can only increase rents for stabilized apartments by a certain percentage after the lease expires. According to Pinegar, it’s possible his apartment meets those requirements.
“I was working with a tenant rights advocate who went over my rent history and said our unit was still stabilized and we had a good case to make – but again, I was the only one half that was ready for the battle that could have ended in court,” she explained. However, she later noted that there was some confusion about the law that might call into question the true stabilization status of the apartment.
Regardless of her current stance, the creator had some final notes for viewers of her video.
“I think I would just like to point out that tenants have more rights than landlords and property managers would like us to believe, and encourage everyone to start a tenant union in their building because they have power. in their number,” she concluded.
The Daily Dot contacted Frontgate Property Management via a Facebook message.
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*First published: July 4, 2022, 12:56 p.m. CDT