ST. LOUIS – Average rent prices are up nearly 20% since March 2020 across the country (and 9.2% in St. Louis). When combined with stagnant wages, it’s become harder and harder for people to afford a decent place to live.
On the most recent edition of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” comedian and host John Oliver explained the myriad of problems renters face.
In the 22-minute segment, Oliver excoriated a system that prices people out of apartments with landlords charging “extortionate rent hikes,” and stacks the proverbial deck against renters. Oliver highlights the disparity in legal help between landlords and tenants. And it’s here that Oliver introduces St. Louis attorney Matthew Chase, who represents Monarch Investment and Management Group and other landlords in the area.
Oliver plays two clips of Chase. In the first clip, dated Oct. 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic, Chase holds court on a video conference call with landlords and attorneys in response to the eviction moratorium.
In a wild tirade filled with numerous expletives, Chase advises landlords and attorneys to file evictions anyway because if renters are unaware of the moratorium, it’s their own fault.
“The advocates for these tenants are like, ‘You know, these people still don’t what’s available to them and they don’t know anything about the CDC declaration.’ … F— them! F— them all!” Chase said.
“They’re too stupid to know what their legal rights are? They shouldn’t have signed a f—— contract for a thousand-dollar-a-month unit for a year. If they’re too f—— stupid to sign, to know anything, to read the news, to have any idea about their rights. If they’re too f—— stupid they shouldn’t be signing a $12,000 contract!”
In the second clip, pulled from Chase’s own YouTube channel, the attorney says the people he represents have evicted grandparents who are poor and people going through chemotherapy in the past, and that landlords should not feel guilty or hesitant about filing for evictions.
Chase did not respond to a FOX 2 request for comment on the segment.