If you own and rent real estate as I do you have likely had a conversation with a friend, a colleague, or even a total stranger and once they hear you are a landlord they for some reason feel compelled to crack a joke or imply that you are a slumlord. When I get that kind of reaction I immediately feel a bit defensive and explain that all the homes I own and rent are all in very good condition. In fact, three of the homes I now rent I lived in myself. It blows me away how many times I have gotten that sentiment in the 7 years that I have been a landlord and it is not as if I go around broadcasting the fact that I own property.
Slumlord is defined on Dictionary.com as;
A landlord who owns slum* buildings, especially one who fails to maintain or improve the buildings and charges exorbitant rents.
*A thickly populated, run-down, part of a city, inhabited by poor people.
We are always very responsive when a tenant has an issue and the property management software we use allows our tenants to report any issues to us electronically via the tenant portal. This allows us to quickly and conveniently get news of any repair needs. We also easily keep track of the status of any repairs and report back to the tenant. In addition, we use our software to send ourselves SMS or email reminders when a property is due to be inspected to ensure the tenant is properly caring for the property and not converting it into a “slum”.
While you don’t want to own the castle among the shacks it is a good feeling to better a neighborhood rather than bring it down or perpetuate the poor condition of the homes in the area. I have often noticed that improving the curb appeal of a property inspires the neighbors to follow suit. Improving the curb appeal of the properties in a neighborhood will undoubtedly increase the property value which makes good business sense to me. So why be a slumlord who only cares about the bottom line [now]? The path I have chosen is to take care of my investment, get high class tenants who will take care of my property, be responsive to repair needs to avoid vacancies and lawsuits, and make more money now and down the road when I sell. I sleep well at night knowing that the people and families whom I provide housing for are in a nice home and are being treated fairly.