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‘They knew they were overcharging you’: Woman shares money-saving hack for when NYC landlords charge you with the heating bill

'I can’t believe this works.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Dec 3, 2022

Americans are experiencing a substantial increase in heating prices. In October, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that “U.S. households that primarily use natural gas for space heating” will see their prices go up by 28% this year when compared with last year.

However, even with this increase noted, some have reported suspiciously high heating costs. Now, a user on TikTok has sparked discussion with her method of contesting heating bills.

In a video with over 105,000 views, TikTok user Mónica Hernández (@monicagreatgal) recounts an experience during which she was working in a commercial space in New York. Despite just moving in a few months prior, she says she was given a bill for over $600 for heating alone.

Suspicious, she says she decided to question her landlord. The landlord insisted that the dollar amount was correct. From there, Hernández took to using a lie she describes as her “favorite,” one she says only works if your building is owned by a management company.

“My favorite lie to tell is that my dad works for the city. He does not,” she explains. “I was like, ‘oh, okay. My dad works for the city; he’ll come by tomorrow.’ They immediately fixed it.”

@monicagreatgal #dadprivilege ♬ original sound – Mónica Hernández, great gal.

In other parts of the video, Hernández says there were more things she could have done prior to the bill to prevent herself from being overcharged.

First, she says that she could have received more information about the meter, including the level it was at when she moved in and how long ago it had been installed.

Next, she says she could have insisted that her landlord communicate in writing. This would have given her more evidence of the landlord’s statements and promises if any other issue were to arise.

In the comments section, many users verified the effectiveness of the tip.

“My partner works for the city and his dad did too, they taught me to use the excuse for things that are like this,” a commenter offered. “Def recommend, [works] every time !”

“Threatening to get the city involved will do it every time bc they come and find 100 more issues and it’ll cost them A LOT more,” another claimed.

Some offered further tips, especially regarding landlord communication.

“Nyc is a one party recording consent state, if you do need to get on the phone/video *audio record it* with the time & date,” a user advised.

“One-party recording consent state” refers to states in which only one party in an interaction, such as a phone call, must consent before the call can be recorded, meaning that the landlord does not need to consent to being recorded before recording may proceed.

“My favorite is to bluntly tell them ‘i work for the [Department of Buildings], that’s not how this works,’” shared a second. “It works every time because I actually do work for the city lmao.”

We’ve reached out to Hernández via email.

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*First Published: Dec 3, 2022, 8:14 am CST