NEW YORK — A woman successfully employed the new artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT, to compel her landlord to repair appliances in her building. How? The tenant asked the program to talk like a lawyer!
Svetlana, who chose not to disclose her last name, utilized the chatbot to craft an email to her landlord, resulting in an agreement to fix her washing machine and dryer. The interaction with her landlord began after Svetlana received a rent increase notice of 0.4 percent, raising her rent from $1,389 to $1,395. This notice arrived just days after she filed for a rent decrease due to her appliances not working for over two years.
The 28-year-old from New York City was concerned she would not be able to effectively communicate her argument. Consequently, she enlisted the AI chatbot’s help to pose as a housing lawyer and draft an email challenging the rent increase. Svetlana’s effort proved successful, as her landlord repaired both appliances that same month.
“The rent increase alone was not my main concern,” Svetlana says in a video on social media, per SWNS. “It was the audacity to raise the rent, seemingly in retaliation, after I filed a complaint and requested a rent decrease based on diminished building-wide services.”
It took a couple tries before ChatGPT got the wording right
Over the last two and a half years, Svetlana submitted multiple complaints to her landlord regarding the broken machines but never received a response. Thus, when she received the rent increase notice in February, she turned to ChatGPT for assistance in drafting a response.
She explained that it took a few attempts to perfect the email, adding more legal terminology when necessary.
“That’s the beauty of ChatGPT; the ability to collaborate, bounce ideas around, and put thoughts into cohesive pieces of writing. It’s like a super-smart, objective, real-time sounding board,” the New York renter says.
ChatGPT even cited specific sections of the New York rent stabilization code and suggested that the rent increase was retaliatory since she had recently filed a request for a decrease.
Svetlana noted that her primary goal was to have the laundry machines repaired, which was achieved that month after years of disrepair. Although she never received an official response from her landlord, a sign was posted in her building announcing the laundry rooms were back in service.
As an executive assistant, Svetlana already utilizes the AI chatbot for work, but this experience has reinforced her belief in the potential of the technology. She is now considering using it to resolve other legal disputes, such as addressing neighbors who frequently chain smoke indoors, causing their smoke to seep into her apartment. However, she has decided against taking action for now.
Svetlana uses ChatGPT daily for various purposes, including seeking objective opinions on a wide range of topics.
South West News Service writer Leo Black contributed to this report.