Comedian and actor Hannibal Buress is not a fan of government price controls on rental properties, judging by some of his recent social media commentary.
On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) re-upped his call for nationwide rent control, quote-tweeting the remarks of a union construction worker expressing concern that they would eventually find themselves demolishing their own home in order to build new apartments they can't afford.
"We need a national rent control standard now," tweeted Sanders.
We need a national rent control standard now. https://t.co/bvgVVNn3LA
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 30, 2019
Sanders, as part of his housing plan, has suggested a national cap on rental price increases of 3 percent or 1.5 times the rate of inflation (whichever is higher).
Sanders' tweet prompted a quote tweet from Buress, saying, simply, "Wrong." In a reply, Buress also encouraged folks to donate to the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, a landlord trade association that opposes rent control.
https://t.co/c0FQo5TvjX Please donate
— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) October 30, 2019
The replies to Buress' tweet supporting landlords' ability to set their own rental prices involved a lot of confused Hannibal Buress gifs, as well as a healthy number of guillotine jokes.
Buress is a comedian, so there's a chance he's just trolling. Still, there's good reason to think his opposition to rent control is genuine.
Buress has said in interviews that he owns a three-unit building in Chicago which he rents out on Airbnb. That obviously gives him an incentive to oppose rent control.
Buress also has talked about how actually owning property gives you a special connection to it that non-owners don't have.
In a 2017 episode of his podcast Hannibal Buress: Handsome Rambler, Buress describes a scenario where he had to ask a friend to kick raucous partiers out of one of his Airbnb units while he was out of town. The friend was reportedly more reluctant to kick the revelers out than Buress was, something Buress explained by their respective relationships to the property.
"He's ain't got it in him. It ain't his property so he don't have the passion that I have," said Buress on the podcast.
Buress has also endorsed Andrew Yang for president, promoting the former entrepreneur's candidacy on social media after Sanders followed him on Twitter.
— Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess) October 29, 2019
In an Instagram post touting the fact that Yang followed him on Twitter, Buress listed his location as Property Owners Association, while suggesting Sanders might make a good Yang campaign aide.
Yang's housing proposals have included reforming zoning laws and experimenting with innovative, low-cost building methods. So far, the candidate has yet to endorse rent control.
Again, Buress is a comedian so it's possible his anti-rent control beliefs are less than sincere. Still, any criticism of such a destructive and counterproductive policy is welcome.