TikTok user Avianna (@aviannaa.x) claims that she was slapped with a $250 surcharge after building management discovered she had a fish tank in her apartment. In the video, she sounds off against the practice in a viral clip that’s garnered more than 175,000 views since it was posted.
@aviannaa.x YALLL MY APARTMENT COMPLEX TRYNA PLAY , charging me a $250 pet fee for my fish , LIKE BFFR 😭🤣 i cannot make this up ‼️🤣 #greenscreen #fyp #viral #pov #singlemom #blacktiktok #imweak😂😂😂 ♬ original sound – Aviannaa🤩
She speaks directly into the camera at the start of the video: “Y’all so tell me why my motherf*cking apartment complex tried to charge me $250 for a fish as a pet fee?”
The clip then transitions to screenshots of her text message conversation with building management. The initial message reads: “Please come into the office by 9/8/23 to fill out your pet application along with a $250 money order / PER Pet (limit 2 pets per Unit). This is a ONE TIME FEE.”
Avianna goes on to delineate what happened in her video: “So this is the first message I got from them, mind you I ignored it cuz I don’t have a pet.”
The next screen shows her renter’s portal page, which shows she has been slapped with the $250 pet fee charge. “So mind you I go to my portal to just make sure they received my payment for my rent, Oct. 1st, even though I paid it Sept. 14th, and it says…this.”
She then decided to respond to the text message from her apartment management that she initially ignored, displaying the text exchange in her TikTok video, which reads: “Goodmorning this is Avianna from unit 625 2C i’m confused why my balance is $250 past due when I paid my rent on September 14th for October.”
Avianna says that she thought the $250 was just an issue with building management not properly updating her payment history. “So I’m like OK, maybe they had a little mishap let me go ahead and send them a text message and this what I sent them Sunday,” she says.
The manager’s response was that the $250 was for the aforementioned “pet fee,” which confused Avianna because she couldn’t believe that the apartment would try and charge her $250 for simply keeping a fish in her apartment. The exchange continues with Arianna telling the manager she doesn’t have any pets. The management replies by asking if she has fish.
At the end of the message thread, Avianna asks if she can call building management to discuss the matter further. The TikToker goes on to show the fish tank that she has in her unit, a 2.5 gallon fish tank, which is considered to be a relatively small option meant for only the tiniest of fish.
She asks at the end of the video: “Am I tripping or what?”
Numerous commenters remarked that they, too, felt the fee was unjustified and utterly ridiculous. “The fish would be sitting right in their office because they have lost their minds,” one penned.
“the ‘Do you have a fish’ took me out Like you got a shark or something. they need to bffr,” another asked.
One TikToker suggested a way that Avianna could potentially get away from paying the pet fee. “My brother said register it as a service animal,” the user wrote.
Someone else said that typically, pet fees are meant distinctly for dogs and cats. Unless her lease specifies that they’re meant to include fish, she could have a good shot at disputing the charge. “Check your lease. Pet fees are usually only for dogs and cats. If yours doesn’t specify, fight that fee,” the user wrote.
News of usurious fees levied against renters are particularly troubling, given the fact that the cost of living in the U.S. has skyrocketed since 2021, with inflation rates hitting a 40-year high in the summer of 2022. These day-to-day expenditure rises, coupled with the fact that it was easier for Americans to purchase a new home during the Great Depression compared to today, paints a grim financial future for many citizens.
The Daily Dot reached out to Avianna via TikTok comment for further information.