Tenant's Response to Landlord Raising Rent Divides Opinion: 'Just a Joke'

A man has divided opinion with his response to a significant rent increase by the landlord, as he shared an image of a shopping cart full of termites.

Dan Licata, whose Twitter profile indicates he's based in Brooklyn, shared a tweet on Monday, which has sparked a fierce debate after amassing nearly 200,000 likes.

He captioned the image of the insects: "My landlord just told me rent is going up by a lot."

The snap, which can be seen here, shows a shopping basket for a pack of 100 of the worker termites, with the final bill coming to $252 for five packs.

While Licata didn't elaborate further, many people inferred that the post suggested releasing the termites in the property, in response to the price hike.

Many regarded the post as nothing more than a joke, the conversation turned to rent control apartments, landlords and the current state of housing in America.

LaserBungalow YT said: "Two wrongs don't make it right."

Scam Likely wrote: "Seems like it would work in theory but in practice, California being infested with roaches and bed bugs did not decrease rent prices."

"It's probably just a joke, but I'm sure there are enough petty people who would do this for real. It would be better to find a way to combat greedy landlords without hurting other renters. Apartments have enough infestation issues without people purposely planting pests," @SpidrLily commented.

While @glitterysoylent joked: "Your rent better be increasing by more than $250."

Joel schedra reckoned: "So he calls exterminator pays $1200 gets rid of termites, your rent still goes up, and if he some how finds out Takes you to court did I miss anything about this brilliant plan of yours?"

A document, entitled Residential Tenant's Rights Guide for New York, stated any increase above 5 percent needs to be issued in writing, saying: "If the landlord of a non-regulated unit intends to increase the rent by more than 5%, they must provide advanced written notice of either 30, 60, or 90 days depending on how long the tenant has been in occupancy."

This chart below, provided by Statista, shows where costs most affects low-income renters.

Infographic: Where Housing Costs Are a Burden for Low-Income Renters | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

The document also stated tenants have the right to live in properties which are "safe and sanitary," saying: "Examples of a breach of this warranty include the failure to provide heat or hot water on a regular basis, or the failure to rid an apartment of an insect infestation."

And it explained who would be liable, confirming: "Any uninhabitable condition caused by the tenant or persons under the tenant's direction or control does not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability.

"In such a case, it is the tenant's responsibility to remedy the condition (Real Property Law §235-b). Seeking Rent Reduction If a landlord breaches the warranty of habitability, the tenant may sue for a rent reduction."

Newsweek reached out to Licata for comment.

File photo of a termite.
File photo of a termite. A man has divided opinion with his supposed response to his landlord raising prices. lamyai/Getty Images