A NEW YORK landlady has sparked outrage after she videoed herself claiming to steal packages from her tenants who have not paid rent.
Abbe Awosanya posted a viral video on TikTok on Saturday captioned: "My tenant is late on rent and is avoiding me but has money to order. So I take all their packages until they pay up."
Awosanya continued "I'm so petty" in the footage, set to the sounds of DripReport's Sketchers song.
The controversial "comedy" video has been watched over 6 million times across multiple social media platforms.
Awosanya later told Buzzfeed she was only joking when she claimed to be withholding her tenant's packages because they were behind on their rent, saying that landlords deserve sympathy as they are also struggling economically due to coronavirus.
Awosanya has been blasted by social media users, many of whom pointed out that obstructing mail is a federal offence, and that the packages her tenants ordered could have been essentials, like baby formula.
People were also quick to point out that high rent prices in New York are harder to meet than $20 packages and other less costly essentials.
Awosanya replied to one woman who commented "late rent vs a federal offense", saying that the package in the video was in fact her own.
"Thanks for the concern. All my mail but it's nice that y'all only care about renters like landlords don't have bills."
She later explained that it was all a joke but she wanted to make a statement with the skit.
"Honestly, in the past, I had this issue with other tenants and I wished I could do this to them because they were blatantly ignoring me.
"Nothing to do with current tenants. If my tenants told me they couldn't pay, I would understand. My tenants have been late before.
"Compassion should be for everyone because we are all going through the pandemic together."
The Brooklyn-born landlady said in an April 2019 interview with Melanin People that she started her social media channels, that have around 60,000 followers, as an outlet for her stresses as a landlady.
Awosanya's profile says she is a realtor, Senior Manager of Operations in IT and interior designer and has garnered more than 6,000 followers. But her skit has been viewed millions of times.
"I had a very bad tenant! I needed an outlet and drama has always been something I was into since junior high school" she said.
Nearly two-thirds of New York's 8.6 million residents rent in a housing market where rent is extortionate.
According to Rent Jungle, the average New York City rent for a two-bed apartment in March 2020 was $3,691.
Some perverse landlords are even soliciting sex in lieu of rent as they pray on vulnerable tenants.
Thousands of New York tenants have gone on strike since coronavirus hit the city, demanding rent cancellation as unemployment soars and much of the country remains locked down.
An estimated 12,000 unique tenants across 100 buildings in America's coronavirus epicenter participated in Friday's strike, according to preliminary figures from the advocacy group Housing Justice for All, a lead organizer of the movement.
The protests, which coincide with May Day, are believed to be the largest such coordinated tenant activity in New York since the 1930s when mass strikes took aim at rent gouging.
The city is the hardest-hit area in the US, with 327,374 coronavirus cases and 24,944 related deaths to date.
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