A TikTok user, Cedoni Francis (@cedonifrancis) went viral after allegedly catching her building’s management company of defrauding her.
Francis claims she was dissatisfied with her property management and wanted an exit from her lease before it expired. The TikToker says after her lawyer looked into the matter, they discovered she was being charged more than she legally should have been as the building she was living in was a rent-stabilized location.
“…But because the management is so bad and I’m deciding I’m gonna break a lease, I contacted a housing attorney and hired him,” she says in the clip. “…the housing attorney tell me, he said something about your rent is off. Because if your building is rent-stabilized there’s no way your rent is gonna be such a round number. He was like that’s not possible.”
Francis says she went to the city and got the files that say that the management, her landlord, has been charging her “hundreds of dollars higher in rent than my rent is actually legally priced at.”
“I’m about to get in they ass. Oh, I’m about to get in they ass so freaking deep and they gonna let me out that lease and they gonna pay me back,” she concludes.
She adds in a caption for the clip, “if anyone knows of any 1bed vacancies in brooklyn for less than 4k, let me know.”
if anyone knows of any 1bed vacancies in brooklyn for less than 4K, let me know 💓♬ original sound – Cedoni
The Daily Dot has reached out to Francis via email for further comment.
In a follow-up video, the TikToker responded to another user on the platform, who asked: “where exactly did you go to get this information, so many of us should do this!”
@cedonifrancis Replying to @mimimoments_ ♬ original sound – Cedoni
Francis responded by saying that all you need to do is go to the New York City Office of Housing and Community Renewal with the proper documents.
“You just need to bring your ID and a utility bill and your lease and show you the rental history of your unit,” she explains. “So when I saw that the person who was renting it before was renting it considerably lower than I currently rent it and because my unit is rent stabilized that was illegal for them to do. But they did it.”
According to New York State’s Department of Homes and Community Renewal, the Rent Stabilization and Emergency Tenant Protection act state: “In general, rent stabilization in New York City applies to buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947, and December 31, 1973. Tenants in buildings built before February 1, 1947, who moved in after June 30, 1971, are also covered by rent stabilization. A third category of rent-stabilized apartments covers buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated on or after January 1, 1974, with special tax benefits.”
These aforementioned details may have been what Francis’ attorney was referring to. NYC’s Rent Guidelines Board writes that as of 2021, there are 1,048,860 rent-stabilized apartments in New York City.
NYC’s Tenants’ Rights guide highlights stiff monetary fines for landlords and property management companies overcharging dwellers in a rent-stabilized unit, stating: “Generally, the penalty for a rent overcharge is the amount an owner collected above the legal regulated rent, plus accrued interest. If the overcharge is willful, the landlord is liable for a penalty of three times the amount of the overcharge for two years prior to the filing of the complaint.”
So, if Francos was being charged $300 a month more than what she was supposed to pay, she could gain $900 per month of every month (up to 24 months from when she filed the complaint) from the property management company.