Woman talking(l+r), Lease agreement(c)

Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock @melindalumpkin/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Do people really not know this???’: Former property management worker shares ‘secret’ when utilities are included in rent

'They definitely do this with the washer and dryer rentals too.'


Phil West


Posted on Dec 6, 2023   Updated on Dec 6, 2023, 12:01 pm CST

A former property management worker has shared a “secret” about apartment complexes where utilities are included in rent—and what that means for renters.

The intel comes from TikTok creator Melinda Lumpkin (@melindalumpkin), who has gotten more than 67,000 views on her video since it went up on Saturday.

“Let me let you in on a little secret I learned working in property management,” she starts.

She then notes, “If you live in an apartment complex, and your utilities are included, or your utilities are paid to your apartment complex, you know they’re not doing that just to be nice and make it convenient for you, right? It’s either for one or two reasons.”

The first is, according to her, “They’re getting a kickback, especially with the internet. Like, if they’re charging you $100 for an internet package, I guarantee you, they’re getting that internet for 50 to $75 per unit. So they just pocketing the rest of your money.”

The second is simply, “They’re scratching somebody’s back. So, it’s some type of business partnership. And, you know, they just want to look out for one of their homeboys and make sure they get paid for every tenant and every door they have at their apartment complex.”

She concluded, “So, yeah, that’s your sign to start putting that plan in place to purchase a home.”

Commenters weighed in with their opinions.

“Girl— I thought you was gon tell us we can legally opt out of mandatory cable/wifi,” one wished.

Lumpkin responded, “I wiiissh lol but those leases be until death do us part.”

Another person argued, “When you purchase a home the bank still owns it and they don’t care about you. you have to pay interest, taxes, HOA fees, all maintenance cost.”

But Lumpkin pointed out, “Those fees are going to the govt, the lender for lending to you, or to protect your asset, not to pad an investor’s pockets.”

@melindalumpkin The shady side of multifamily is that to some investors you are just a “door” not a person. Even pinching a small $4 dollars from per door for a misc monthly fee can add a free 16K to their annual income. #rentfees #2024planning ♬ original sound – Melinda Lumpkin765

“Ugh,” someone else began. “My apartment complex has a contract with the internet company. We can only get that one.”

Lumpkin replied, “Yup I stayed at a place like that and the internet was TRRRRAAAASH LOL.”

That person followed up with, “And it is! I hate it! And it’s too expensive to move.”

Another noted, “Do people really not know this??? I genuinely thought this was common knowledge.”

Lumpkin said, “I’m sure many know but I don’t think it’s that common b/c it’s been normalized.”

One comment inspired a follow-up video. A commenter wondered, “What if water is included and added to the rent?”

@melindalumpkin Replying to @Lynette ♬ original sound – Melinda Lumpkin765

Lumpkin asserted that this is sometimes the case, but some complexes will have renters pay for water through a third party that charges fees on top of the water that’s used.

That video led one commenter to share, “Me and my husband both got $250 checks after we moved out from a class action lawsuit about this.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Lumpkin via TikTok direct message.

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*First Published: Dec 6, 2023, 8:30 pm CST