Tenant says landlord pointed a camera at her door to try to get her to move out from rent-stabilized apartment

@sarahpribis/TikTok BearFotos/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I immediately felt so violated’: Tenant says landlord installed a camera pointing at her door to try to get her to move out

'He’s acting like your rent is 40$ lmaooo.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Nov 25, 2023   Updated on Nov 25, 2023, 8:42 am CST

TikToker Sarah (@sarahpribis) has captured the attention of 1.4 million viewers with her video titled “Sometimes I wave to him for fun.” In it, she shares her ongoing struggle with a landlord attempting to allegedly force her out of her rent-stabilized apartment in New York City.

In the video, Sarah shares her alarming discovery: a camera pointed directly into her apartment, and the reason, she says, is a coercive effort from the property manager to have her leave.

“My landlord is trying to force me to move out of my rent-stabilized apartment with every fear tactic possible, and his latest one is this,” she begins, showing a photo of the camera taken from her doorway.

The situation escalates when her landlord’s voice comes through the camera, she says, warning her not to touch it. Sarah’s response to this invasion of privacy is swift and decisive.

“So, of course, I told him, you will be hearing from my lawyer because this cannot be legal,” Sarah says. However, she claims the lawyer informed her in New York State, one is allowed to have cameras in a publi area. She notes in a previous video that the landlord had also turned off the heat and shares how her rent is around $2,400 a month, which many viewers found still exorbitantly high.

The TikTok community rallied around Sarah, offering support and advice. One user suggested, “How about you call a lawyer about the fact that your landlord is turning off the heat? you have a ton of proof,” echoing Sarah’s calls for litigation.

Another cautioned, “Be careful that he’s not trying to see when you’re not in the apartment so he can go inside. Get a camera inside your apartment.”

A third advised, “Seriously file a suit with the NYC housing authority. A friend did this same thing and she won a pretty penny because the landlord did stuff like this.”

Sarah’s situation highlights the tenant-friendly nature of New York City’s landlord-tenant laws, which were re-upped yet again this year in favor of the tenant. These laws offer robust protections against unfair evictions, exorbitant rent increases, and substandard living conditions. They include stringent eviction processes, rent control, and stabilization measures, and mandatory upkeep of property safety and habitability by landlords.

Tenants are also shielded from retaliatory actions by landlords and are entitled to specific lease and rent regulations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, additional temporary safeguards were introduced, such as eviction freezes and rent assistance. But after the dust of the pandemic has settled, NYC rent prices are still rising higher than ever.

@sarahpribis sometimes i wave to him for fun #nyc ♬ original sound – sarahpribis

In January 2016, The New York Times published a piece delineating several extreme tactics various landlords and property managers have implemented in trying to kick rent-stabilized residents out onto the street. In a 2014 case of a 94 Franklin Avenue property, a family was being told that construction of a playground behind the unit would be taking place. Without notice, construction workers came and threw away tenants’ belongings located in the area (their grill, patio furniture, children’s toys). They jackhammered the ground with such consistent force that the residents’ windows shattered and debris entered their home. So, a stop work order was issued and the tenants had to vacate the premises until work was done. What proceeded next was a drawn-out battle between the tenant and the building manager, who denied that construction was even taking place, and the family, along with several other residents living in rent-stabilized units, were displaced for extended periods of time.

According to the outlet, there were numerous other cases where landlords demonstrated they were not above making living conditions for residents inhospitable and downright hazardous in order to have them leave the premises.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Sarah via email for an update.

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*First Published: Nov 25, 2023, 9:00 am CST