Comedian Grace James (@justgracejames) posted a video in late June, detailing her extreme rent hike. In it, she showed what appeared to be an email from her landlord, claiming the new value was “what the apartment’s worth.”
As she hilariously repeats that phrase over and over again, she proceeds to show parts of her building that are allegedly dirty or in need of repair. The video, while satirical in tone, enraged TikTokers who have long been using the app to complain about exorbitant rent prices.
Statewide, the average one-bedroom apartment in New York costs $1,703. That’s the second-highest rate in the country, behind only Hawaii.
“Hey haha … don’t move to NYC right now,” James captioned her video.
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And rising prices are causing some residents, like James, to reconsider their future there. In a follow-up video, the TikToker revealed that by the time she’d posted her first clip, she’d already decided to move back home to Texas.
“That’s for reasons both related to this situation and deeply personal [ones],” she says in the video.
James gives several tips to New Yorkers, outlining what they can do if they believe their rent is being unfairly changed.
For one, she recommends requesting your rent history. There are sites such as JustFix.nyc that can easily do this for you.
From there, she suggests forming a tenant union in your building. By organizing, tenants can use practices like rent strikes to put pressure on their landlords.
That said, James was quick to note that she’s just giving info, not legal advice.
“Everyone should do their own research and weigh the additional risks involved,” she wrote in a caption.
Still, many commenters thanked her for the advice and shared in her outrage.
“700 Is like my whole rent,” one user wrote.
“Who can afford these types of increases?” another added.
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