He recorded his phone conversation with the tenant and received backlash after he posted it on TikTok.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 10, 2023. It has since been updated.
It is no surprise to anyone that property and rent rates are skyrocketing and without a doubt, people are suffering through a cost of living crisis. In such difficult circumstances, there are still people and landlords who are doing everything they can to extort money from their tenants, no matter their current situation. Similarly, Raul Bolufe, a TikTok user with the handle @therealraulbolufe, has taken an extreme measure in his series of videos. He has recorded his phone conversations with a tenant to inform her that he intends to more than double her monthly rent.
According to Bolufe, he purchased a Miami house from the tenant's previous landlord, where she has resided for more than a decade. Despite the tenant's loyal tenancy, Bolufe has informed her that he plans to raise her rent from $1,100 per month to a more "competitive" rate of $2,500 per month. The woman is shocked to hear this and says, "Are you kidding me? That has to be a joke. $2500. That's over double my current rent. I can't afford that sh*t. I have kids and I'm already working two jobs as it is; where do you want me to go now?"
In the subsequent videos, he persistently informs the tenant that she must pay a significantly higher rent or vacate the property within 30 days. However, BuzzFeed has pointed out that his actions do not align with the laws in the area, which mandate a written notice of at least 60 days for a rent increase exceeding 5%. In one of the videos, Bolufe argues that his taxes and insurance cost him more than $1,100 per month, and he justifies the rent increase by claiming that he is trying to offer the tenant the best possible price. However, this claim appears unreasonable for a landlord to make, as it is unlikely to be perceived as genuine by any renter. Finally, they have reached a consensus to raise the rent to $1,900 per month, which is still a significant increase of $800 compared to the tenant's current rent.
Despite Bolufe's attempts to present his videos as a learning opportunity for aspiring real estate investors, the majority of viewers did not support his actions. Another TikTok user, @biancadeltaco69, commented, "Being nice and calm doesn’t make you right. Doubling it?? I’m with her." Another person, @colmex2, said, "That’s immoral and this is coming from a landlord. Everything is so expensive right now."
Numerous individuals noted that the significant increment in rent all at once was a crucial part of the problem, regardless of whether Bolufe believed the tenant was paying too little or not. Additionally, some viewers perceived the situation to be so bizarre and shocking that it may have been staged. In response to all the criticism he received, Bolufe released another video in which he claimed that one of the reasons the previous property owner sold the house was due to his unwillingness to continue dealing with the tenant. Bolufe also expressed his disappointment that he is not maximizing his profits even if he only doubles the rent to $2,200 per month, given that the property is in Miami.