If you’ve ever lived in New York City, then you know that everything costs more than it should. And it’s only getting more expensive.
TikToker Chelsea Brown, the founder of City Chic Decor, tore into her current property management company, Greystar Management, over a $400 increase in her rent after one year and speculated it raised her rent by that much out of spite after she refused to do PR for it. In two videos, racking up a cumulative 130,000 views, Brown discussed her rent increase.
“This is for Greystar Management and Greystar Management only,” Brown said in the first video. “I just got my lease renewal, and you had the nerve to raise my rent almost $500.” She then showed off how she decorated her apartment. “I’ve had this apartment for less than a year, and look what I’ve done to it.”
“I pay my rent on time. I swear all management companies are the same. Like how is this even legal?” she questioned.
@chelseyibrown Greystar Management is on my enemy list for this ridiculous lease renewal. NYC living I guess 🤷🏼♀️ #leaserenewal #nycapartment ♬ original sound – Chelsey Brown
In a second video, Brown shared why she thinks Greystar raised her rent.
“I think I know why they raised my rent $400,” Brown said. “Back in September the building and their PR team reached out to me and asked me to do PR for them. They said they loved my TikTok and Instagrams, and this would be a great media opportunity for me.”
Brown has 240,000 followers on TikTok, where she creates content regarding interior decoration and heirloom returns. She has another 100,000 followers on Instagram.
@chelseyibrown Replying to @user2876199065042 they raised my rent $400+ because I wouldnt do PR for them 😅 #nycapartment #nycliving #leaserenewal ♬ original sound – Chelsey Brown
“Basically they wanted me to promote the building, and certain articles that they do with my name attached. I was like, ‘I can’t do this. This is a security risk. People would know where I live,'” she recalled.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I guess the building holds a grudge.”
Viewers are split on her reasoning. Some encouraged Brown to move out and “give them the PR they deserve” on her way out; others argued that rent increases are happening everywhere.
“My rent was raised by $420. I think it’s the times,” one said.
“No offense, but I do not think that’s why. Most companies use automated service for this and that’s a normal increase at least where I live in Seattle,” another commented.
“You could be right!! No offense taken!!!” Brown responded.
Indeed, Brown’s experience is an all too common one. Thanks to TikTok, renters are able to speak out against their apartments over rental increases that seem unreasonable, and Brown’s is not the highest rent increase that’s made the rounds. One Texas-based TikToker said her rent was going up by $850 per month, and another shared hers would be going up by a whopping $2,500.
Recently, the NYC Rent Board approved a 2 to 5% rent increase for one-year leases and a 4 to 7% rent increase for two-year leases, according to the New York Post. But that only affects apartments that are rent-stabilized in the city; according to the Post, that’s roughly 1 million apartments. For apartments that are not rent-stabilized, “there is still no limit on how much your landlord can increase your rent. However, your landlord must give you advanced written notice before they can raise your rent 5% or more,” the New York State Attorney General’s office explained.
Brown also said she thinks her speculation would be impossible to prove, so she sees no point in fighting the increase. Plus, she already has a way of getting back at the company. “If I ever find an heirloom belonging to someone who works at Greystar, I will not return that item out of spite. I know that’s not much of a threat, but that’s all I got,” she said in her first video on the matter. She also revealed she plans to find a new apartment.
The Daily Dot reached out to both Chelsea Brown and Greystar Management via email for further comment.