Comedian Andy Richter, known for his role as Conan O'Brien's sidekick, has inadvertently exposed the unintended consequences of the controversial eviction moratorium.
What did Richter say?
Writing on Twitter, Richter said his son is searching for a studio apartment in southern California. According to Richter, the landlord of one perspective apartment requested six months of rent up front — in addition to advanced payments of the first and last month's rent.
"My son is looking for a studio apartment around USC, and one that he applied for a couple days ago told us that the owner wanted 6 months rent up front (after he and I both paid app fees)," Richter explained.
"No wonder people f***ing hate landlords and the management companies that facilitate them," he complained. "Oh, and that's in addition to first and last month's rent for deposit."
After noticing that his initial tweet was generating criticism, Richter lamented that he did not understand why his economic position meant he could not "point out when something is unfair."
"I'm a feminist male. Do you really not want me to criticize sexism? I'm for racial equality. Does my whiteness mean I can't speak out against racism? It's puzzling why people with whom I largely agree want me to stfu about income equality, exploitation of the poor, etc," Richter said.
"I can understand that it bugs someone that my kid goes to an expensive school and that I can afford to help him with an apartment. Truly. But I don't get why you'd want me to shut up about having an experience with landlord greed. Doesn't me shutting up just serve the landlords?" he added.
What was the reaction?
Richter was quickly informed that his reaction had exposed one of the key problems with the eviction moratorium.
Specifically, critics explained that weary landlords are now more reluctant to rent their properties without stipulations that ensure their financial protection, such as requiring more money up front.
- "Crazy stuff Andy. Turns out there are serious consequences when the government tells property owners that they aren't allowed to evict tenants who don't pay their rent. Who could have ever predicted this except any adult with a functioning brain?" Matt Walsh responded.
- "If you can't evict people for failing to pay, more landlords will want the money upfront," Robby Soave, senior editor at Reason, pointed out.
- "Alexa, what is the obvious consequence of a nationwide eviction moratorium?" National Review's Charles Cooke mocked.
- "Gee, I wonder if there was some reason that landlords might be worried that their tenants might suddenly stop paying rent and try to protect themselves against it. Send your thank you note to 1600 Pennsylvania, Andy," Noam Blum said.
- "This is, in fact, a predictable unintended consequence of long-running government restrictions on evictions. Landlords, by & large, weren't doing this before the moratoriums. They respond to government incentives like anybody else in the economy," National Review writer Dan McLaughlin reacted.
- "Hey, after the last year or so of not getting paid *at all* yet still having to shell out for the mortgage and maintenance and all of that, I can quite comfortably say I'd probably put some pretty heavy requirements on the people I rented to as well," one person said.
- "That's because of the eviction moratorium. If landlords know they can't evict tenants for failure to pay, they have to require more money up-front. Actions have consequences," another person explained.
The Supreme Court ruled this week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's extension of the eviction moratorium was not legal.