'I Literally Had to Beg': Influencers Say NYC Landlords Aren't Renting Them Apartments

In a tight real estate market, even social media stars who earn six figures are finding it hard to land an apartment in the Big Apple.

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By Jonathan Small

Influencers have the power to boost online conversions and help brands spread the word about their products. But there is at least one group of people who don't seem influenced at all by their social media mojo—New York City landlords.

According to a story in The New York Post, landlords are saying fuggedaboutit to some TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube stars who want to lease apartments, even when they make well into six figures a year.

The issue? Due to the nature of their job, gig workers such as influencers and creatives cannot show paystubs proving consistent streams of monthly income from a third-party company. Couple this with a highly desirable and expensive real estate market, and many influencers can't compete with other renters.

Related: 'Where Does That Money Go?': A Look Inside New York City's Ruthless Housing Market

Take Kelsey Kotzur, a 29-year-old TikToker with over 144,000 followers. Kotzur told The Post she makes $250,000 a year thanks to brand deals with Skims and Delta Airlines. But after her rent shot up nearly 50 percent, Kotzur had to move back to her hometown in rural upstate New York.


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Kotzur said getting approved for a new New York City apartment has been a nightmare.

"It's nearly impossible because no one really understands my income and what I do. So that's been pretty difficult," she told The Post.

Another TikToker, Marissa Meizz, with 471,000 followers, said she also struggled to rent an NYC apartment.

"It was just so hard to get someone to trust me," she said. "I literally had to beg my landlord."

Despite providing them with proof of her income and sharing every paycheck she made last year, Meizz said the landlords still wanted a guarantor.

The problems with the gig economy

The challenges affecting influencers in NYC are hitting gig workers across the country. Many landlords and lenders require proof of income from permanent rather than freelance jobs to determine eligibility to rent an apartment or lease a car.

Living in the city isn't just a privilege for people like Kotzur. It's part of her brand. Many of her fashion videos feature New York City as an important backdrop.

"I am missing out on a ton of opportunities while I'm away from the city," she told The Post. "Career-wise, I'm definitely taking some losses."

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

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