This money-saving hack came in handy while she and her young family were preparing to move out of an apartment.
Many landlords dare to overcharge their renters and while many of us aren't able to question it, we also end up paying for these unreasonable charges. But this was not the case for one tenant named Payton. In a viral video, a woman shared a cheap and simple hack she came up with to avoid her landlord's questionable move-out charges. The video clip captioned "Highway robbery honestly" on TikTok by Payton (@paytopotatoe) garnered 3.5 million views. This money-saving apartment advice could help save many dollars.
According to Payton, she was given a list of items that needed to be cleaned before she moved out. One of those items was stove burner pans, which Payton would have to pay for $25 each if they were "left gross."
"If you look at them, they’ve been used for four years. They’re dirty and they’re a pain to clean," Payton explains while showing the well-used stove burners. Payton went to Home Depot and bought a pack of four burner pans for $28 instead of spending hours cleaning them or paying the building management $100 to have them replaced. "I'm just going to replace them myself," she says. According to the landlord's checklist, any burnt-out lightbulb would cost Payton and her family $10 to replace. To avoid this, she also purchased a pack of cheap lightbulbs and installed them herself.
While many TikTok users thanked Payton for her money-saving advice. They also questioned the legality of wear and tear charges and shared their own rental experiences. "Lol. To be honest, I’m a house cleaner and I’d rather throw them out and buy new ones. They are cheap and hard to clean. Worth it," validated @juliahagadorn4. "We were charged $75 because the refrigerator was not cleaned to their liking," shared @morgan_gruter. "My apartment charged me for dirty ceiling fans," wrote @breauna_dannell. "They can't charge you for normal wear and tear or light bulbs," commented @that_Wasnt_A_Fart."
Normal wear and tear, as defined by RentSpree, a rental software company, is the expected deterioration of a unit caused by a tenant's daily use. "This could include things like wobbly doorknobs, worn carpet, or small scratches on walls and flooring." According to RentSpree, landlords cannot charge tenants for normal wear and tear. "No matter what state or jurisdiction your property falls under, you cannot legally charge a tenant for deterioration caused by normal wear and tear," it states.
Landlords could make you a victim of their money traps. This renter, who was facing a rent increase, created a video in which they effectively conveyed the best possible response to their landlord by showing an unsettling glimpse of the apartment they were renting. The TikTok user can be seen in the video holding a document titled "Form S," which alerts them to their landlord's plans. The use of the term "Residential Tenancies Act of 1997" indicates that the document was drafted in Australia.
"Oh no, they're raising my rent," they quip sarcastically. "I'll just put this in the cupboard," she says as she enters their apartment's kitchen. They pause for a moment before saying, "I'll put it in this cupboard." Then they open the cupboard to show the harsh living conditions of the apartment, demonstrating why the rent should not be raised. The shelves in the cupboard have unpleasant mold and disgusting dirt that has turned from white to rusty-dusty brown. "Perhaps on the bottom shelf!" they exclaim, dropping the letter to the bottom of the cupboard and closing it.