Woman Pretended to be a New Tenant to See Why Her Rent Increased $500

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jun 18, 2024

Rent has been on the rise in recent years. With the supply and demand dynamics in urban areas, where housing inventory is extremely limited, a rapid increase in rent has become a problem for many renters in America.

One TikToker decided to investigate why her rent was increasing by a staggering $500, and the answer was shocking.

Taking Action

Ora Hardest (@oranotrita) went viral on TikTok after she recorded herself calling the landlord pretending to be a new renter to find out the going rates for apartments in her building.

A young woman smiles while making a phone call outside

Source: Freepik

Ora made this decision after she was notified that her rent would be increasing by $500 per month.

How Much Is She Paying?

Ora decided to make this phone call after her landlord notified her that her rent would be increasing from $1,300 to $1,800 per month.

A person handing another a ten-dollar bill.

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

According to Newsweek, rent prices have increased across the US, reaching their peak in August of 2022.

Are Rent Prices Increasing For Everyone?

“Calling my landlord to see if rent increased for everyone or just me as a long-term tenant,” text overlaid on the clip read.

Man places wooden blocks on top of each other, some have the letters that spell out RENT

Source: iStock

In the video, Ora records herself contacting the building’s management office to inquire about the cost of a rental.

The Phone Call

“Yeah, I was just wondering if you had any two-bedroom apartments available?” she asked when a woman answered the call.

A woman looks extremely frustrated while speaking on the phone

Source: Freepik

The woman on the other side of the phone notified Ora that a unit would be move-in ready by Monday.

The Difference Between the Two Rent Prices

When Ora asked about the monthly rent for the unit, the woman explained that a two-bedroom rental would cost between $1,525 and $1,875 per month.

A person holding many American dollar bills.

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After inquiring why there was nearly a $300 difference between those two prices, the leasing agent explained that the price depends on the phase for which a renter applied.


What Is a “Phase”?

According to the TikTok, a “phase” refers to whether or not the apartment is a newer model with renovations such as hardwood floors, new counters, and more.

An image of a large apartment block in the center of a city

Source: Wikimedia

The rent prices for everyone in the complex increased significantly, with Ora finding the increase “ridiculous.”


Why Rent is Rising

One contributor to the rising rents in the US is the high inflation plaguing the country. According to CNN, rent has increased by 6% since last year.

A close-up of many American one hundred dollar bills.

Source: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

Shelter costs, which make up about 30% of CPI, have the power to drive inflation up despite it being essential items that Americans need.


The Focal Point for the Market

“Shelter inflation has been a big focal point for the market,” Bank of American analysts wrote in a note (via CNN).

Hand holding a set of house keys in front of an apartment building

Source: Freepik

These analysts believe that the high rents are likely to persist this year “and think that services inflation moderation is likely to be slower than the market expects.”


Rent Prices Won’t Drop Soon

Some economists are not expecting a drop in rent prices anytime soon. “We remain confident that [rent prices] will flatline in 2024, rather than fall,” Capital Economics analyst Thomas Ryan wrote in a recent note.

A pile of 20 dollar U.S. banknotes

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Unlike other consumer goods, rent is one thing that will probably never decrease. Once it goes up, it tends to stay up.


Landlords Are Forced to Raise Rents

Many landlords were forced to raise rents in the last two years as mortgage costs and repair costs also increased. However, a majority of localities don’t have laws that regulate how much landlords can increase rent in a single year.

A father and son discussing while looking at a laptop.

Kenny Eliason/Unsplash

Since the beginning of the pandemic, rent rates have gone up 29.9%, according to Zillow economists.


Renters Could Get a Break

While the solution to high rents is to purchase a house, that is not possible for most Americans. Housing prices are still incredibly high.

A close-up of American dollar bills.

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But renters might catch a break soon. As inflation cools down, rent prices will most likely stop increasing each year by an outrageous amount.