A Los Angeles, California-based TikToker has spurred a discussion about renters’ rights after posting a video claiming his landlord tried to raise her rent before her contract expired.
User Anna Maria (@babyafromdatre) posted the video to TikTok earlier this week, where it quickly went viral. In the video, she explains her exact predicament and asks TikTok for help.
Anna Maria’s video currently has over 363,000 views and has inspired multiple follow-ups.
@babyafromdatre I have a question about property management tiktok #landlord #property management #rent ♬ Original sound – Anna Maria
In the first video, Anna Maria offers details about her situation before asking users on the platform for help.
“I moved to California. I signed a 12-month lease,” says Anna Maria. “I just got a note on my door that my rent will go up next month. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but a lease is a contract, right? And this 12-month contract ties me to a rate for 12 months, so you can’t change the rent until this contract expires, right?”
As many TikTokers pointed out in comments, barring rare exceptions where rent increases were included in the original contract, a landlord cannot increase the rent while your lease is in progress.
As SFGate writes, “Your landlord cannot increase your rent if you have a fixed-term lease longer than 30 days, unless the lease terms allow it. For example, if your lease is for a year, if you decide to sign another fixed-term lease, she would have to wait until the end of the year and negotiate a higher rent with you.”
At this point, under normal circumstances, landlords in Los Angeles are “allowed to increase rents for existing renters in rent-stabilized apartments by between 3% and 8% annually, depending on inflation,” the agency said Los Angeles Times. The article notes that rent-stabilized housing accounts for “nearly three-quarters of LA’s housing stock.”
However, these are not normal circumstances. As the Los Angeles Times reports in the same article: “In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency executive order that halted rent increases in such apartments for a year after the emergency executive order expired. This order is still in effect, so rent increases cannot begin until May 2023.”
With advice from TikTok and resources from her local library (which she calls upon in a later video), Anna Maria says she reread and “sent” her contract [her landlord] the clause number and a copy of the rental agreement.”
After a few days, she got a happy update: her rent wasn’t going to be increased after all.
@babyafromdatre in reply to @spreadlovenothate_yall ♬ Original sound – Anna Maria
The letter detailing her continued payments calls trying to raise rents a “mistake”.
But Anna Maria and other TikTokers are not so sure.
“They tried to play you, girl!” she says at the end of her video.
“They got caught,” agrees another user in the comments. “I’m sure they gave it to someone else and that person quickly got it under control.”
The Daily Dot contacted Anna Maria via email.
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*Initial publication: June 17, 2022 at 10:05 am CDT
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/landlord-increased-rent-before-lease-ends/ Tenant says landlord tried to raise rent before her lease ends