Kara Perez, a financial educator, was confronted with an unprecedented rent increase. Unfortunately, as she lives in a state with no rent control laws, she can only negotiate her way out of it.
Across the United States, renters are struggling to pay their monthly lease payments. At a time when the majority of renters have been left vulnerable, some landlords are attempting to take advantage of the situation. Kara Perez, a financial expert who goes by the username WeBravelyGo on TikTok, rents her living space in Austin, Texas. When signing her new lease agreement, she realized her landlord had suddenly increased her rent by $885 without prior discussion. As the Texas government does not enforce rent control legislation, Kara has no option but to negotiate her renting terms one-on-one with her landlord. She described her situation in a now-viral TikTok, BoredPanda reports.
Perez is the founder of Bravely Go, an award-winning international financial education company. She was inspired to launch her company after managing to pay her $25,302 student debt while earning $22,916 a year. So far, she has successfully created a community of women talking about money and financial changes. Through her TikTok, she explores financial topics. One of her most recent TikTok videos, displaying a steep increase in her monthly rent, went viral on the platform. Previously, she paid $1,895 a month for her living space. But her new lease agreement upped the monthly rent to $2,750 a month, which is $855 more.
She asks in her video, "This is a joke, right?" After her TikTok video went viral, she received several questions about whether her landlord's decision to suddenly increase her rent was legal. Unfortunately, in Texas, it is. "There is no rent stabilization and there is no rent control in Texas," Perez explains. "[This is] because we are a Republican state." This is true even though she lives in Austin, the "liberal bubble" of Texas. To back up her point, she reiterates the official statement from the Austin Tenants Council, which clarifies that there are no rent control measures in place specifically for Austin either.
In comparison, the state of California has issued a bill that does not permit "an owner of residential real property from, over the course of any 12-month period, to increase the gross rental rate for a dwelling or unit more than 5 percent plus the percentage change in the cost of living, as defined, or 10 percent, whichever is lower, of the lowest gross rental rate charged for the immediately preceding 12 months, subject to specified conditions."
Perez has only one option: negotiate with her landlord and hope they agree to lower the rent. For others in a similar situation, she offers some advice. She suggests, "Try something like this: 'In exchange for [a] $100 a month rent decrease, I can pay the first three months of rent upfront in cash.'" The financial expert adds that mentioning a good credit score as well as a history of making payments on time can also help you negotiate. Unfortunately, real change can only occur when rent control legislation is introduced. She affirms, "This is why, as a financial educator, I always say that money is political. Because it is not about how much you can cut back, save, or invest. It is about the world and the systems we live in."