Rent or buy?
Many people who are not yet homeowners decide to rent properties for a certain period of time. There are a lot of pros and cons of being a tenant, but one of the biggest downsides is how costly it can be and with no investment, unlike home ownership.
When renting, it always helps to have a landlord who you can trust. Unfortunately, this is not always the case – so sometimes we just have to stand up for ourselves and understand what is fair and what our rights are as tenants.
However much we can toss and turn about our future and worry about whether we’re ever going to get on the property ladder, sometimes, unfortunately, we just don’t have a choice. Property prices and mortgage rates are seemingly going up and up.
That means there’s more and more young people struggling to become first time buyers. The only pathway we can take is the route of renting instead. If renting works for you, then perfect! But you should never let your landlord exploit you.
Landlords can make lots of money if they play their cards right, and the tenancy payments they receive weekly, monthly or annually count towards their income – so because of this, some landlords can try their luck and continually try to increase the rent price.
However, there are regulations now in place to ensure the cost of your rent can only be increased after the signed contractual lease date. This is to protect tenants from snide landlords who like to try their luck and swindle people at any given opportunity.
One particular woman
Because there are so many manipulative landlords out there, it’s important you do your best to be cautious and make yourself aware of any illegal activity with your rent prices. There’s one certain woman whose story has come to light recently…
that knows all too well about how important it is to learn about rent rules and regulations – her name is Rachel Bell. Rachel lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, and she was about to learn that her landlord might not be as trustworthy as she first thought.
Rachel herself actually works in real estate, so there’s no doubt she’s well-read and well-educated on the ins and outs and dos and don’ts of rental property. One typical summer’s day after she returned from work…
Rachel saw that her landlord had placed an informative poster on each of the doors in her building. At first, Rachel was a little taken aback by the letter being on her door, but then she started reading it and realized what it was.
An illegal notice
The poster read “Attention all tenants: Effective from October 1, 2019. Rent will increase by 10% on all units.” Rachel read it once, and then once more. Was this some sort of joke?
With an experienced background in real estate, Rachel knew all too well that this sudden and unexpected rent increase was illegal, especially when the effective date was within the signed and agreed tenancy dates. Her landlord was undoubtedly trying his luck – but it wasn’t going to work!
Quoting the bible
However, what made Rachel laugh the most was the fact her landlord had quoted the bible as a way of persuading her to agree and go along with the rent increase. The quote comes from Numbers 18:21 in the Christian bible.
It reads, “and behold, I give the Levi children all the tenth for Israel’s inheritance, for their service they serve, including the tabernacle of the congregation.” So what exactly does that mean? What did Rachel think of it?
A knowledgeable woman
Well, Rachel is a very switched-on and knowledgeable woman when it comes to her rights as a tenant. She was pretty sure that her landlord had absolutely no right to increase the rent of any of his units.
Although she was initially concerned, after reading it, she actually found it rather funny. Rachel posted on her Twitter a picture of the poster and wrote “Did my landlord just try to quote the bible to raise our rent? LMAO”.
If any of us common folk who know hardly anything about rental legalities came home to see this photo, then a lot of us would be anxious. We’d be fretting about how we can’t afford it.
Plus, we’d be upset about having to quickly find a place to live before we got chucked out on the street. This is exactly why the landlord’s letter is so morally wrong – he has basically preyed on the vulnerable in an attempt of hoping no one would notice or even think twice about his demands.
Sending a text message
However, there was one person who wasn’t going to be fooled – not now, not ever – and that was Rachel. At first she found it rather amusing, but then she felt angry. How dare he try and exploit not just her but her whole building?
She needed to take action against him and let him know that she was certainly no woman to mess with, especially when it came to her legal rights in the property. Rachel decided to send him a text message to teach him a lesson.
Proving him wrong
In an unapologetically sarcastic manner, Rachel’s text message said, “Hey Brucie baby [we’re guessing Bruce is her landlord’s name.] Just want to inform you that it’s illegal for my rent to be raised during an active lease agreement.
The federal law and the housing act also protects me from any decisions you may make based on religion. If you want to increase my rent when my lease is up, then the law also says you have to give me at least 30 days’ notice if it’s over 5%.”
Re-quoting the bible
But Rachel didn’t stop there. In response to Bruce’s inclusion of a biblical verse, Rachel also thought it would be effective if she too included a verse. She added, “also, just as an FYI, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says…
‘Don’t be deceived, as neither the thieves, nor the greedy, nor the swindlers will inherit God’s Kingdom.” Rachel has certainly proved her point, and we think her quick wit has definitely made Bruce squirm in his seat. He’s been caught in the act!
Waiting for a reply
Bruce was now a deer in the headlights, and for a while, he was frozen still without knowing what to say. He took a while to reply to Rachel – most probably because he wanted to make sure he said the right thing.
What could he possibly say to get out of that one? His scheming ways had been caught out. In the meantime, Rachel posted another tweet saying, “I’m yet to get a reply from Brucie, but here’s a blog post explaining why this is fully illegal.”
Acting the fool
Rachel continued saying, “with landlord-tenant law knowledge, I want to share it with you to ensure that you are never taken advantage of.” This was when she then received a reply from Bruce, telling her that it was all a joke!
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. In his reply, he said, “You’re being so sensitive. It is really easy to rile you up. I’m agnostic. Haha, gotcha!” Good one Bruce. You really got her there…
Posting her story
So now that Bruce was taking the easy way out and acting the fool, Rachel felt as though she needed to share her story even further. She continued to update her followers on what she thought of Bruce, and it wasn’t long until the ordeal went viral.
After the details of the story were posted on reddit, the whole world seemingly had something to say on the matter, and let’s just say… Brucie hasn’t exactly gotten off the hook.
The reddit post is named “Be careful who you mess with.” The screenshots of the text messages from Brucie are then posted for the readers to see for their own eyes. It’s unknown whether Rachel has anything to do with this reddit post.
By the looks of the forum, she doesn’t have anything to worry about… it’s Brucie who’s been caught up in the storm. All of the discussion revolves around calling out Bruce on his manipulation.
Thousands of replies
The forum has conjured up over 2k comments, and all of them are in support of Rachel, praising her for being so smart and on the ball. We can all learn something from Rachel.
One particular user commented saying, “I have a bad feeling Brucie isn’t going to be a landlord soon. Rachel has certainly shown him for what he’s worth. What’s next? Will Rachel take over the building and become landlord? Rachel for president!”
A manipulating landlord
The overwhelmingly negative comments didn’t stop there either. In fact, they came flooding in! Another user wrote, “I’m guessing that he was already a horrible landlord before he posted this on your door?
Surely he was always giving you trouble if he had the audacity to trick his tenants using religion? Poor Brucie, he’s defo gonna have his cake and eat it too. Can we all just take a moment to remember Brucie (unknown – 2019).”
A great landlord
There was also another user who posted a story about her landlord who turned out to be quite the opposite of Bruce. They wrote, “I once had a really devout Christian landlord, and one Christmas time we got a letter through our door.
Before I even opened it I thought to myself ‘Oh great, prices are going up.’ But then when I read it, he told us he was dropping the rent from $550 to $500! Needless to say we were ecstatic.”
“A real Christian…”
The user then continued saying how it wasn’t just for the December month, it was for the rest of their agreement. They wrote, “I don’t tend to cry a lot over stuff, but I teared up when I read that. What a great landlord we had.
See, they’re not all that bad.” Another user replied to that story saying, “The best landlords are the ones who know how valuable a good tenant is. It’s a two-way street, and no games should ever be played.”
However, not all landlords are kind – some are just as greedy and selfish as Brucie… One other user told their story saying, “There was one time when I had been messaging and phoning our property manager for months about fixing our front door.
It had rotted and wouldn’t lock properly. Who would want to stay in a house which doesn’t lock? Anyway, instead of fixing the problem, they instead increased our rent to drive us out.”
So there you have it – just like us tenants have to earn trust, landlords need to earn our trust, too. We shouldn’t have to pay out a lot of money, only for us to be completely and utterly taken advantage of.
If you are deciding to start renting, then reading up on your rights and educating yourself on the legalities of tenancy agreements is vital. You don’t want to end up in a bad position where you are unknowingly and unwittingly exploited. Unfortunately, there are people out there who would have no qualms in doing so.
In the current climate we live in, millennials are getting a bad reputation for all sorts of things, but mostly they are labeled as selfish, lazy, incompetent, and utterly useless when they actually have to do things for themselves.
However, Rachel is a clear example of a millennial who knows exactly what she’s doing. In fact, she clearly knows far more about her legal rights as a tenant than Bruce the landlord does – hence why she completely destroyed his attempts for more payment.
What Rachel’s landlord did was not right, and it was not fair. So hopefully, Rachel shared her knowledge with the rest of the tenants in her building to ensure no one bowed down to his scheming ways.
Amazingly enough, it wasn’t just Rachel who found her landlord’s attempts to be ridiculous – her Twitter followers thought so too. Twitter is a place we can all rant and vent about the difficulties we face in life, and most of the time, we also get a lot of hilarious support from our followers too.
Rachel’s followers all thought it was most ridiculous that Bruce tried to use his religion against her – which in some ways is the worst part about it all. It’s morally wrong for anyone to force their religion on someone else, and that is essentially what Bruce tried to do.
One particular follower wrote, “I’m a Christian, and I have a problem with someone using our religion like that.” Another person said, “This is so unfair. No one should ever use their religion to extort people for money.”
Most of the other comments on Rachel’s post were those agreeing with her that Bruce’s actions were entirely uncalled for. Not only was he wrong to use his religion, but he was also wrong to use his power as a landlord.
One follower commented telling Rachel that if he didn’t back down, then she should definitely take him to court. Technically, this is a legal matter, not just a difference of opinion, so if Bruce didn’t back down as he did, Rachel did technically have every right to sue him.
One of the worst parts about this story is the fact that not everyone has the expert knowledge that Rachel does. There will be thousands of people every day who encounter the same kind of problem as Rachel did, with a landlord trying to take advantage of people who are unbeknownst to their legal rights.
What if there was someone elderly in Rachel’s building who had no idea whether his attempts were legal or not? They would have lost out on a lot of money to someone who illegally took it from them.