It’s not often that everyone on the web can agree that a community or even a person is objectively evil. Whether the focus is set on a politician doing something controversial or an A-list actor caught in a scandal, you can always find someone that’s ready, if not eager, to defend the figure against the onslaught of mainstream and social media criticism they’re receiving. One group that seemed to get nothing but universal criticism until recently is landlords — and who doesn’t have a bad landlord story, right?

Online hatred for landlords stepped further into the limelight last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stories and posts began emerging of tenants being threatened with evictions for being unable to pay their rent after being laid off. Landlords weren’t too happy about the situation either, as some states disallowed landlords from making evictions, but that didn’t stop all of them, leading to even more criticism.

This isn’t where landlord criticism starts though. Landlord hatred was inherited by the web naturally after decades of hatred in real life. In 2018, Rhik Samadder published an article on The Guardian criticizing landlords as social parasites, writing about how giving a landlord a “best of” award in his field is like “giving Stalin a humanitarian award.” Back in 2010, a landlord company in Toronto was awarded a golden cockroach award by the community’s tenants association, inspiring applause from some tenants. But the root of landlord criticism, at least when it comes to online discourse, goes back to 1948.

Historically, the largest “revolt” against landlords was the Chinese Land Reform Movement, a campaign in which the communist party of China’s leader at the time, Mao Zedong, allowed the killing of over 800,000 landlords based on their class status in order to give the land back to the people. This event, as inhumane as it is, has formed the basis for a lot of anti-landlord memes today. If there’s an argument…

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