Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Defense of the Term Slumlord

Today I got into a discussion with a friend over my aspirations of slumlordship. I feel I could never have won the argument because I use the term slumlord. I think if I simply used a word with a more neutral connotation such as landlord to describe the same goal, there would be no disagreement. Even the woman whose every word I droll over, Ms Acres, prides herself in not being a slumlord.

Perhaps the problem is my lack of understanding of the term slumlord. My aspirations don't fit the definition found on wikipedia. I don't plan on purposefully not maintaining the properties. I will not allow fines, taxes and mortgage payments tofall into arrears. That would be hypocritical as I would naturally expect timely payment of rent. I'm sure as hell not going to actively stop gentrification from happening.

What will I do? I will buy cheap houses in bad neighborhoods, and get them up to code. I will put a fresh coat of paint and plaster any holes. I will do basic background checks. I have begun to "do my homework." However, if I had the money to put a down payment on an investment property today I would not be ready to buy because I have not worked out all the details. I will most likely buy a vacation condo with a full service management company before I jump into slumlordship.

One of the questions that you might ask me is "Would I live in one of my apartments?" The answer is yes. You have to trust me on this of course. However, I plan on continuing to rent myself after acquiring my first rental property. Really, the only thing that would cause me to "grow up and move to the suburbs" is marriage and children.

So I can apparently be a slum lord and live by the golden rule. The next argument is am I following thePlatinum Rule, treat others as they want to be treated. Well, unless I own enough property where it can be said I force people to rent from me, I must assume they want to rent from me. At the very least I am the least terrible option for shelter they have been presented with

There is one final argument. I really can't counter this one at the moment. That argument would be that I am sub-human for being willing to live in such poverty for the sake of economy, when I can afford better. Perhaps that is so. I leave it to the reader to determine that.

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