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Encyclopedia > Slumlord

A slumlord (also spelled slum lord) is a derogatory term for landlords, generally absentee landlords, who attempt to maximize profit by minimizing spending on property maintenance, often in deteriorating neighborhoods. They may need to charge lower than market rent to tenants. Severe housing shortages allow slumlords to charge higher rents. A landlord, is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called the tenant. ... Absentee landlord is an economic term for a person who owns and rents out a profit-earning property, but does not live within the propertys local economic region. ... A tenant (from the Latin tenere, to hold), in legal contexts, holds real property by some form of title from a landlord. ...

The phrase slumlord first appeared in 1953, though the term slum landlord dates to 1893.[1]

Traditionally, real estate is seen as a long term investment to most buyers. Especially in the developed world, most landlords will properly maintain their properties even when doing so proves costly in the short term, in order to attract higher rents and more desirable tenants in the long run. A well-maintained property is worth more to potential buyers. Real estate is a legal term that encompasses land along with anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings. ... World map indicating Human Development Index (as of 2004). ...

In contrast, slumlords do very little maintenance on their property (ordinarily, just enough to meet minimum local requirements for habitability), and in turn offer low rent rates to lure tenants who will not (or cannot) pay high rent (and/or who might not pass background checks should these be required to live in the higher rent areas). Slumlords of this kind typically prosecute many evictions. A background check is the process of looking up official and commercial records about a person. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

It is not uncommon for slumlords to buy property with little or no down payment, and also to receive rent in cash to avoid disclosing it for tax purposes, providing lucrative short term income. (Thus, slumlords would normally not participate in government-subsidized programs such as Section 8, due to the requirements to report income and keep properties well-maintained.) A slumlord may also hope that his property will eventually be purchased by government for more than it is worth as a part of urban renewal, or by investors as the neighborhood becomes gentrified. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a type of Federal assistance provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) dedicated to sponsoring subsidized housing for low-income families and individuals. ... Urban Renewal redirects here. ...

Some slumlords are more interested in profit acquired through property flipping, a form of speculation, rather than rental income. Slumlords with this "business model" may not maintain their properties at all or pay municipal property taxes and fines they tend to accrue in great quantities. Knowing it will take years for a municipality to condemn and seize or possibly raze a property, the slumlord may count on selling it before this happens. Such slumlords may not even keep up with their mortgage payments if they become equity-rich but cash-poor or if they feel they can sell the property before it goes into foreclosure and is taken by their lender, typically a 6-8 month process at the quickest. Look up flipping in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Speculation involves the buying, holding, and selling of stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, collectibles, real estate, derivatives or any valuable financial instrument to profit from fluctuations in its price as opposed to buying it for use or for income via methods such as dividends or interest. ... Property tax, millage tax is an ad valorem tax that an owner of real estate or other property pays on the value of the property being taxed. ...

Many people have a negative opinion of slumlords, blaming them for declining property values and whole neighborhoods of shanty buildings. They say slumlords leech away the wealth of the poor with little regard to future generations or the local people. In effect, they work in the opposite direction of gentrification, where landlords try to make appealing improvements to property in order to attract more affluent renters. In San Francisco, during the mid-1960s, the bohemian center of the city shifted from the old Beat enclave of North Beach to Haight-Ashbury (pictured) as a response to gentrification. ...

Decay is a natural outcome of this strategy but defenders assert slumlords offer a valuable service for those who care more about price than quality. Economist David Osterfield wrote, "...the slumlord, regardless of his motives, helps the poor make the best of their bad situation."[2]

As many of these neighborhoods are often populated by poor minorities, the term ghetto landlord has also been used. Another type of slumlord is called a retail slumlord and keep shopping malls in a bad shape until finally the government buys it or confiscates it. For the rapper, see Ghetto (rapper). ... For the traditional meaning of the word mall, see pedestrian street or promenade. ...


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Osterfield, David. "The Government, the Market and the Poor". Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 

2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 25th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • An article critical of slumlords
  • An essay that briefly defends slumlords
  • A website where renters can review their landlords for others to see.
  • An urban neighborhood website that explains slumlord practices and tells city residents how they can "fight" slumlords.

  Results from FactBites:
Freedom Party International - Consent 20 - March 1994 (2390 words)
The argument is that if the slumlord truly harms the slum dweller, then his elimination, with everything else unchanged, ought to increase the net well-being of the slum tenant.
In other words, in many cases the reputation of the slumlord as cunning, avaricious, etc., might be well-deserved, but it is the rent control program in the first place which encourages people of this type to become landlords.
If the slumlord were prohibited from lording over slums, and if this prohibition were actively enforced, the welfare of the poor slum dweller would be immeasurably worsened, as we have seen.
Heathen Harvest - Reviews: Slumlord - Sounding the Death Knell (611 words)
The Slumlord is a rising force in the American post industrial scene and the band has managed to produce three full length albums of pure unadulterated hardcore neofolk without the support of a prominent label.
The Slumlord is an unforgiving and unsympathetic anti-PC crusader.
The Slumlord is spear heading this movement by self determination, artistic integrity, and a fierce commitment to free speech.
  More results at FactBites »



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