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Top Ten Ways to Create a "Troubled Neighborhood"

1. Watch late-night infomercials that explain how to become a millionaire in real estate with no down payment. In a fit of temporary insanity, buy a rental property with life savings.

2. Don't do preventive maintenance. Let the apartment building and public area have that "lived-in" look. Send a message to prospective renters that says, "I don't care about this place...why should you?".

3. Don't bother to check out prospective renters. Accept people who look trustworthy or base all decisions to rent on "gut feelings".

4. Evaluate prospective renters using arbitrary standards that ignore the renter's actual past behavior. For example, set up a "minimum income standard". Automatically reject everyone who doesn't have monthly income of three times the rent, including people who have good rent payment histories.

5. Lie to other landlords who call for tenant references. Claim that renters who call a building inspector engaged in harassment. Give a glowing reference to renters who chronically disturb neighbors to get rid of them.

6. Accept people who have cash on hand to pay rent. Don't consider why someone with a beeper and lots of money is eager to move into a low-income neighborhood immediately.

7. Impose a fee on residents who call the police to report car accidents and suspected drug activity. Threaten to evict renters when they refuse to pay the fee because it is illegal.

8. When a renter reports harassment or threats from a neighbor, tell the renter they have to deal with it themselves. Better yet, reveal the name of the renter who complained to other tenants, including the harassing neighbor.

9. Ignore or undercut the work of neighborhood associations. View residents who are working together as a threat, rather than a source of positive change.

10. Don't bother to get educated about rental laws and good management practices. After all, anyone who makes a profit from rental housing must be a good manager, right?

You know you got problems when...


Last update 7/3/01