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Real estate influencers spark heated debate after arguing tenants should tip landlords

‘This has got to be a joke’

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 28 February 2023 16:17 GMT
Related: Tips on buying a home in a tough market

Two real estate influencers have sparked a heated debate about tipping culture after they argued that landlords should receive tips from tenants.

The two men, who go by the username @twoguystakeonrealestate on TikTok, where they have more than 889,000 followers, shared the message in a video uploaded earlier this month.

In the skit, the TikTok influencers acted out a scenario where a tenant is faced with an iPad tipping screen after paying their monthly rent.

“Okay, thanks for paying your rent this month, go ahead and sign here, it’s just going to ask you a couple questions,” the first man could be heard instructing his partner, who was playing the role of “tenant,” as he turned a screen towards him with the options to tip 15, 20 or 25 per cent.

In response to the prompt, the “tenant” expressed his outrage at the suggestion that he would tip his landlord.

“A tip?! I’m not tipping my landlord,” he said, to which the “landlord” asked: “So, you’ll tip a barista who pours overpriced coffee in a cup but not the guy who is on call 24/7 to make sure you have a safe home.”

The reasoning prompted the “tenant” to again question why they’d tip their landlord, when “this isn’t a restaurant”.

“Okay, so you’ll tip an extra 25 per cent for somebody to carry you a basket of chicken wings, but you won’t tip someone who responds for after-hours emergency calls?” the landlord asked in response to the tenant’s confusion.

After the tenant continued to seem perplexed by the idea, the TikToker playing the role of landlord suggested that they would instead increase their tenant’s rent instead.

“Well, I guess when it’s time for your lease renewal, I’m gonna make sure gratuities are included in your rent,” the landlord said, before concluding: “That’s a little tip I learned from Two Guys Take on Real Estate.”

As of 28 February, the video has been viewed more than 358,000 times on TikTok, where viewers have expressed their hope that the TikTok skit is “satire”.

“There’s no way this isn’t satire,” one person commented, while another said: “This has got to be a joke.”

Others were angry at the suggestion that tenants should tip their landlord, with one person asking: “You want to be tipped for maintaining property you own to meet legal standards?” while someone else said: “No, that’s what the rent is for.”

Another person pointed out that a 25 per cent tip on a rent would be much higher than a tip of the same per centage on a restaurant bill.

“25 per cent on a $1,600 rent may be a little more than 25 per cent on a $27 bill from a restaurant,” they wrote.

According to someone else, the idea that a landlord would expect a tip is “frankly absurd,” while one person claimed they’ll tip their landlord when the homeowner works for the same pay as service workers. “I will tip my landlord when he works for minimum wage like servers do,” they wrote.

The video also prompted many to argue the TikTokers’ point that landlords are available to help their tenants at any hour of the day, with some sharing their own less-than-satisfactory experiences with landlords.

In response to one viewer, who claimed: “There is no way any landlord does all that,” the TikTokers confirmed that they were “trolling,” despite continuing to point out all of the things landlords allegedly do for their tenants.

“Does all what? Replace roof or heating system? Obviously we’re trolling about being tipped, but even non-paying tenants get the same services,” the TikTokers wrote.

Tipping culture has become a subject of controversy lately as expectations around tips have changed, with some suggesting that the pressure to tip has gotten “out of control”.

However, amid increased expectations to tip, others have noted that service workers typically rely on tips to make a living wage, with the federal minimum wage just $7.25 an hour, according to the US Department of Labor.

The Independent has contacted @twoguystakeonrealestate for comment.

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