A news source called NTD posted an article on Wednesday about the impact of the eviction moratorium. NTD is a New York-based, global television network founded in 2001 by Chinese-Americans who fled communism. I think their perspective is very interesting.
The article reports:
Extended rent moratoriums and the slow distribution of billions in federal rent assistance are driving many small landlords to call it quits.
“Nobody wants to become a landlord anymore,” said Diane Baird, executive director of the Lake Erie Landlord Association. “And we have very few new people entering into the business.”
The Lake Erie Landlord Association represents landlords in northern Ohio, southern Michigan, and western Pennsylvania.
Jon Frickensmith, president of the South Wisconsin Landlord Association, told The Epoch Times, “Multiple landlords have told me they are selling out. They ask us how to get out of the business and how to get the tenants out of their houses. These are mom-and-pop operators, the kind of landlords that are willing to take tenants with bad credit or a criminal history. This will only add to the housing crisis.”
The vast majority of landlords in the United States are individuals, with most owning one or two rental houses.
The article notes:
The National Equity Atlas estimates that American landlords are owed more than $21 billion in overdue rent.
Don James, president of the Florida Landlord Association in Coral Gables, believes the moratorium is detrimental to renters as well as landlords.
“We as landlords cannot enforce our rental contracts and, this being a seller’s market, (it) is forcing landlords to sell their properties. This is going to cause shrinking of rental facilities, thus hurting renters.”
Mike Bodeis, president of the 450-member Port Huron Area Landlord Association, and himself the owner of 40 rental houses, told The Epoch Times, “It’s a myth that 3.6 million Americans may soon be made homeless. Two-thirds of them could be paying their rent, but are not because they choose not to. They did not choose to pay their rent or utility bills with all the stimulus money they received.
To illustrate, Bodeis said, “In one eviction, in which I personally participated, we took six flatscreen TVs out of the house. It’s all about priorities.”
I have seen this lack of priorities in action before. Poverty has a lot more to it than how much money a person makes. It has to do with learning to set priorities and make responsible decisions. After hurricane Katrina, residents in New Orleans received government checks of a couple of thousand dollars to provide for temporary housing–the government understood that much of the housing in New Orleans was uninhabitable after the hurricane. As soon as those checks were received, business at the strip clubs and riverboat gambling casinos increased rapidly. Many of the people who received those checks had never been taught to plan for the future or to be financially responsible. Many people who were out of work because of the Covid epidemic did the same sort of thing.
The problem of reckless personal spending has its roots in our culture, our education system, and our government. Our government sets the example of reckless spending; our citizens follow that example. Out schools do not teach basic life skills such as budgeting, basic financial planning, and personal responsibility. Our culture is one of instant gratification–the use of credit cards is encouraged, enormous education debt is encouraged, and many Americans have incurred more debt than they will ever be able to pay off.
Putting a moratorium on evictions is not the answer. Getting the money to the renters who need it and somehow putting guardrails around how the money is spent is what is needed.