A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after claiming that her landlord increased her rent by 22.5% to “pay for her and her adult daughter’s lifestyle.”
In a video with over 413,000 views as of Saturday, TikTok user @sleepy.w1llow writes, “Landlord explaining she has to up the rent by 22.5% on her multiple houses to pay for her and her adult daughters lifestyle…Maybe get a f*cking job or stop relying on students to fund your hoarding of homes!”
“Jokes on her I’ve had an illegal hamster all year,” she adds in the caption.
@sleepy.w1llow jokes on her ive had an illegal hamster all year !! #landlord #landlordsfromhell #costoflivingcrisis #helpmeplease #studentlife ♬ Twin Size Mattress
Landlordism has long been a controversial endeavor. Adam Smith, often considered one of the ‘godfathers of capitalism,’ famously described the landlord relationship as parasitical, writing, “…the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed and demand a rent even for its natural produce.”
“Being a landlord is not technically considered an occupation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” notes AJ Hess for Fast Company. “At its definition, ‘landlord’ is a title that involves generating passive income through ownership, rather than labor.”
Additionally, the actual work involved in being a landlord is frequently minimal. Writer Jorge Lopez, in a blog post for property management company Green Residential, says that although being a landlord is “anything but hands-free,” “most of the hours of work you’ll spend as a landlord are temporary, occasional, or one-time necessities. In a given week, you may spend zero hours fulfilling your landlord responsibilities, or you may be at your property constantly, trying to get it in shape for a new tenant.”
Furthermore, many places in the United States lack rental protections that would stop landlords from suddenly increasing rent exponentially.
Numerous users on TikTok have documented the impact that this lack of protection has had on their lives. One user claimed their rent went up by over $400 monthly out of “spite.” Another claimed the price of their apartment almost doubled upon trying to renew. Other users have simply shown the state of their apartment, questioning how such a rental raise was reasonable given issues in the apartment.
On the TikToker’s clip, users shared their own thoughts on landlords in the comments section.
“Every landlord i’ve had to deal with just sounds like they’ve got the worst financial planning abilities i’ve ever heard,” a user wrote.
“Landlords don’t be leaches challenge literally impossible,” another joked.
“I hate being the breadwinner of my landlord’s family when I have $0 in savings,” stated a third.
Some simply offered their own landlord stories.
“Landlord upped the rent on our apartments so we all moved out at once and she went broke,” a commenter said.
“Mine makes £4k a month just from my building and has the hail to increase my rent ‘due to the cost of living crisis,’” recalled a second. “As if he can’t budget that.”
“Mine bought a new tesla with the money, love that for them,” sarcastically shared another TikToker.
The Daily Dot reached out to the TikToker via TikTok comment.
Update 9:20am CT, July 9, 2023: In a TikTok message exchange with the Daily Dot, the TikToker says that they’ve never actually met their landlord in person and that the news of a rental increase was conveyed to them via email.
“I do think there’s a difference between people who own a second home which they rent out & people who own multiple properties and live off of it,” she said. “It’s terrifying to me either way that people can just price others out whenever they decide they want to up their own personal expenses. As a student from the U.K., I’m living on little to no money as it is, and I’ve had landlords at viewings literally host bidding wars with me against international students who they think will offer more money.”
“It’s essentially people lucky enough to own property who can then live pretty much stress-free whilst we pay their expenses,” she summarized.
The TikToker also voiced their approval for legal regulation in the field.
“There definitely needs to be a cap on how much rent can be raised in one year,” she stated. “This is about people’s homes, which they might even be able to own themselves be it not for the landlords bleeding us dry just to buy more.”
She also observed some discussion in the comments of her video that brought her pause.
“Something that annoyed me a lot in my comments was the amount of people acting as though landlording was people who worked hard to build their ‘career’ and that anyone can be a landlord if only we work hard enough,” she explained. “It’s [pitting] the working classes against one another and pushing the narrative on to our own ‘failings’ to suggest that it’s totally attainable to own multiple properties in your 20s/30s on a normal job. In reality, most landlords bought homes decades ago or inherited them. Our generation is not in their boat, and as long as we pretend the problem is us and our work ethic, we will ignore the obvious issues within the system that have put us at this disadvantage.”