thermostat in lock box (l&r) woman sweating (c)

FamVeld/Shutterstock @khaby..lame34/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Anything above 68 in the summer is diabolical’: Landlord locks up thermostat on tenant so she has to use this trick to make it colder

‘They can display false temps too off by a few degrees.’


Braden Bjella


The internet is full of stories of landlords doing a poor job of serving their tenants.

For example, one internet user claimed his landlord charged him $375 for leaving a shower curtain behind upon moving out. Another alleged that she discovered her landlord was charging her hundreds of dollars extra every month, while an additional internet user said her landlord placed a camera outside her door in an attempt to get her to move out.

Additionally, while some landlords may offer benefits like included utilities, renters may find that actually taking advantage of these benefits comes with a host of caveats.

When you can’t change the temperature in your own apartment

Recently, a video showing a renter’s workaround for changing their apartment’s temperature has gone viral again after being reposted by the account @khaby..lame34.

In the original video, TikTok user Katrina (@trinakat416) shows a thermostat in a locked plastic container. She then shows someone using a hex key to enter the container and change the temperature on the device.

“Take THAT landlord…” she writes in the text overlaying the video. In the caption, she adds, “Landlord locks the thermostat but it was set to 73° and we were sweating!!”

Katrina’s original video has over 32 million views, while @khaby..lame34’s repost has over 6 million views.

Can landlords control a tenant’s heating and cooling?

Seeing this, some may wonder if landlords are allowed to control how hot or cold an apartment is, regardless of who is paying for it. The short answer is, in general, yes.

“Yes, landlords can control the thermostat for their rental properties in most states,” reads a piece in Rocket Lawyer. “While they have to provide reasonable heat, they do not have to give control of the thermostat to the tenant.”

“That said, this is a state-by-state rule. Some states, like Arizona, that experience extreme temperatures may require that landlords provide thermostat control to tenants during very hot or cold months,” the piece continues.

@trinakat416 Landlord locks the thermostat but it was set to 73° and we were sweating!! #savage #WerkItFromHome #fyp #lifehack ♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

Commenters offer other workarounds

In the comments section, users suggested other ways that the temperature could be changed without utilizing this method.

“You take a super small hex key and put it in the lock. jiggle it around a bit and it’ll unlock,” stated a commenter. “Those boxes are not secure at all. Good news is my classroom is never subjected to insane school heat.”

“Had one like that in college, found out you can pop it off the hinges pretty easily, change it, than pop the cover back on,” offered another.

“Put a hand warmer on the case it’ll kick the ac on. Those stats have a landlord setting other that locking the temp. They can display false temps too off by a few degrees,” wrote a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Katrina via TikTok direct message and @khaby..lame34 via TikTok comment.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

The Daily Dot