TikToker evicted for exposing bat-infested luxury NY apartment
An upstate New York man says he is beevicted from his ‘luxury’ apartment complex after exposing the decrepit state of the building in a viral TikTok video.
The 33-year-old, who goes by Donny Skipper on social media, posted a series of videos showcasing The Lofts at Harmony Mills in Cohoes, New York, just north of Albany, where apartments go for between $1,500 and over $3,000 per month.
In his initial video, Skipper showed a litany of troubling details in the building, including piles of trash in hallways, a smashed front door, elevators that are consistently out of service, and bats infesting the elevators, hallways, and air ducts.
After that first video went viral – racking up nearly two million views – he posted a follow-up explaining his management company notified him they would not be renewing his lease.
Undeterred, he began gathering signatures from similarly dissatisfied tenants to bring a lawsuit against the management company, Lincoln Property.
Skipper, who lives in the apartment with his wife and toddler, told DailyMail.com he was inspired to post the videos after his landlords notified residents they would be raising rents, with one-bedroom apartments increasing from $1,879 to $2,004 per month.
Donny Skipper films a bat he found in his apartment building, The Lofts at Harmony Mills
In the videos, which he began posting in February, Skipper mocked the ‘luxury’ amenities of his apartment building.
‘It’s called The Lofts, every place has got a luxurious place called The Lofts,’ he said, opening his first video. ‘What I love about The Lofts is how the front door sometimes doesn’t work when you put your key in it.’
After struggling with the door and finally getting in, he shows the entry-hall floor soaked with water and scattered with caution signs lying on the tiles.
‘Sometimes you do get little spillages around, but that’s luxurious, it keeps your feet clean. Even the stickiness, it makes sure you don’t slip,’ he said, before heading to two sets of elevators that are both out of order.
After finding a working elevator somewhere in the building, he finds a live bat hanging upside down in the corner.
‘Hey look, I got a bat in the elevator right now,’ he says, before cutting to a shot of a bats flying through his hallway. ‘I love the bats that live in my luxurious apartment, they’re so awesome and they keep things very luxurious.’
In other videos, bats can be heard shrieking inside and flying through the exposed air ducts that run through the apartments.
Skipper concludes the video by showing a notice from management that they are increasing the rent by several hundred dollars per month, which he tosses in the trash.
In a later video – viewed about 2.5 million times – Skipper finds a notice on his door, which he takes to his ‘favorite spot’ in the building – ‘the waterfront view through the windows that I’ve never seen get cleaned’ – to read.
Standing before a filthy window, Skipper explains the building declined to renew his lease ‘just because I made some TikToks saying that there’s some things that gotta get fixed at this place.’
Donny Skipper shows a bat flying through the a hallway in his apartment building
Piles of trash in Donny Skipper’s apartment building. Residents say the trash chute (right) often jams
Donny Skipper shows a door at The Lofts at Harmony Mills that is split down the middle
Skipper said he and his family would be forced to move out come May despite being a reliable tenant in the building for three years.
He told DailyMail.com they’d lived in the apartment for three years and always paid their rent on time, and ‘treated the property, staff, and neighbors with respect.’
But about a year ago, Skipper said there was a staff turnover at the building and things began to fall into disrepair.
‘Things appeared to fall into a constant state of disrepair and the complex leasing office became a team that would be very dismissive with requests for repairs,’ he said.
‘In the past year a wide range of maintenance issues have come up – exploding water heaters, boards falling off the ceiling, broken elevators, garages and doors, bats frequenting my HVAC vents and more.
‘They always made me feel like I was in the wrong for asking for them to keep things properly maintained,’ he added.
‘I didn’t understand how they could justify raising rent on a unit that has not been updated in 3 years in a complex where advertised amenities are frequently inaccessible or removed entirely.’
According to its website, The Lofts at Harmony Mills offer a bevy of ‘luxury’ amenities, including a fitness center, and spa, a yoga studio, a ‘relaxation room,’ dog runs and washing stations, trash removal, and a car detailing station.
In one of his videos, Skipper shows the detailing station – which appears to be little more than a large and locked plastic locker outside the building – and said the pool area was frequently closed due to problems like broken showers.
‘You can create your own distinct lifestyle in a breathtaking setting that offers a unique combination of luxury, style and convenience,’ its website states. ‘Harmony Mills residents are privy to some of the best and hard-to-find amenities in the area.’
Donny Skipper shows off his eviction notice, and the ducts filled with bats that wake him up
Donny Skipper shows off a number of filthy stains found throughout his apartment building
Donny Skipper shows how the heat in his building broke for weeks, and the building’s fix (right)
The Lofts at Harmony Mills in Cohoe, New York, just north of Albany. Some residents have complained that the ‘luxury’ apartment complex is a poorly maintained dump
Skipper also showed DailyMail.com numerous photos of the building’s trash chute overflowing with garbage, along with comments from fellow residents complaining that it was a weekly sight.
He also pointed to a picture of packages stacked up in the open, outside a building door, and has posted numerous videos about his own vigilante tactics to catch package thieves who have targeted the building with no resistance from management.
Another message showed a tenant reporting that one of the building’s garage doors had been opening and closing on its own volition throughout the night.
Skipper said nobody from his management property has reached out about the lease renewal.
‘This corporation is forcing us out of our home. All I did was speak up about unsafe conditions,’ he told BuzzFeed.
Neither Lincoln Properties nor The Lofts at Harmony Mills responded to DailyMail.com requests for comment.