The Hamptons rental market is skyrocketing because of wealthy urbanites fleeing the city, but the statewide eviction freeze could leave landlords at ‘huge risk’

A pool party in the Hamptons. Subjects in the photo are not the subjects of the story. Andrew Toth / Stringer / Getty Images

Ultrawealthy people are swarming the Hamptons, and those who don’t already own second (or third) homes in the area have resorted to renting, causing rental prices to soar, Amy Gamerman of the Wall Street Journal reported.

Three real estate agents spoke to the Journal about the chaos happening in the Hamptons rental market right now. Nest Seekers International agent Dylan Eckardt told Gamerman that he has never “seen a rental market like this” in his career. “We’re renting stuff that never rents in March,” he said. “There’s not even a price for it, because it doesn’t happen.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Ackerman, an associate broker at Brown Harris Stevens, told the Journal that she received a call from a woman who said she had no budget, but specifically requested Ackerman find her a Midcentury Modern home.

“I wanted to say, ‘Are you kidding?’ Clean, cool, newish – but Midcentury Modern, in this market?” Ackerman said. “You really can’t be that picky right now.”

It’s not unusual to see the ultrawealthy dropping thousands on luxurious accommodations – especially in this pandemic. Business Insider previously reported that particularly well-heeled people have resorted to renting out entire hotels and country houses. Blantyre Country Resort, a luxury country house hotel in the Berkshires that typically opens in May, can be bought out for $US38,000 a day, according to CNN, while Cape Arundel Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, is going for $US19,500 per week.

But as certain ritzy rental markets soar, landlords in New York State specifically find themselves at greater risk. On March 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a 90-day moratorium on evictions that will last until at least June 20, meaning landlords can no longer evict renters who cannot pay their rent or who refuse to leave.

“Landlords can only collect one month’s rent and a security deposit, by New York state law. The landlord is going to be at huge risk,” Penelope Moore, a associate real-estate broker at Saunders & Associates Real Estate based in the popular Long Island summer town of Shelter Island, told the Journal.

Wealthy people leaving big cities are disrupting smaller, more remote towns

As previously reported by Business Insider, the Hamptons is not the only area dealing with an influx of people coming from big cities. New York City residents who fled to Berkshire County are being told to self-isolate, but Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Town Manager Mark Pruhenski worries that his town doesn’t have enough resources to enforce the request.

Meanwhile, Cape Cod locals started a petition to close their bridges after a number of second-homeowners flocked to the area, while Nantucket locals have been worrying that those fleeing to the island might spread the virus and overwhelm their limited medical resources.

Locals in the Hamptons have similar worries.

“I don’t know how many people have come out to the Hamptons from New York City, but if a certain percentage of them end up getting sick, we will all be screwed,” Moore told the Journal. “The hospitals here are not equipped to take in many people.”

In addition to medical shortages, food shortages have also been an issue, leaving many locals worried about how they are going to be able to buy groceries to feed themselves and their families.

“All these people come out from the city and they go to the grocery store,” Moore said. “Chicken breasts went, toilet paper, bleach – all gone. The people who live here are like, ‘What are we going to do?'”