Is Your Landlord Overcharging You? This TikTok Shows How to Find Out.

Carla Badami, 28, mostly posts on TikTok about fashion, makeup or what it’s like to be unemployed in New York City. But last month, she thought she would tell people the steps she took to get $6,000 back from her landlord and her rent reduced by hundreds of dollars.

All they needed to do was request some information from an obscure state housing agency.

The advice resonated. Perhaps too well.

The video accumulated four million views over the past month. It prompted so many people to request their rent information that the agency, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, started telling people it might take 20 days to respond because of the “increased volume as a result of social media activity.”

Ms. Badami said in an interview on Wednesday that she was happy her video was useful, but that she also felt “really bad” for the agency.

“They’re such helpful people,” she said. “And now I feel like they’re probably so overwhelmed.”

The housing agency enforces rent regulation laws in New York City. Requesting something called a “rent history” from the state — online, in person or by mail — is essentially the only way to figure out how much a landlord is legally supposed to be charging for a rent-stabilized apartment. It’s a system that even some landlords say is antiquated.

Brian Butry, a spokesman for the agency, said that the state might get about 750 inquiries from tenants asking for their “rent histories” in a regular week. That number has grown to more than 2,000.

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