Residential Abandonment: The Tenement Landlord Revisited

By George Sternlieb; Robert W. Burchell | Go to book overview

2

THE "ABANDONERS:"
THE FABLED TENEMENT
LANDLORD

THE MYTH OF THE URBAN LANDLORD

The whole web of governmental intervention in the private housing sphere, as well as a substantial part of private investment, operates in great measure through the matrix of the landlord. With the exception of public housing, alternative approaches to the ownership and management of low income housing have been much more frequent in the verbal than in the physical, i.e., much more talked about than placed in the ground. Low income housing cooperatives similarly are little beyond the experimental stage; the vast bulk of central city housing remains in forms of ownership and management which have changed little over the last hundred years.

One of the more satisfying folk figures of our time is that of the slumlord.1 This is an individual who popularly is supposed to dominate the low income private housing stock, and who has not only grown wealthy historically because of his tenure, but is currently securing a more than adequate return on his properties.2 The myth is satisfying because it leads to the belief that the major imput necessary to provide more adequate standards of maintenance and operating behavior is to get this overfed individual to disgorge some of his excess earnings; the basic pie of rents is adequate both to support owner interest in holding on to his parcels and continuing their operation while still providing the tenants with adequate service inputs. The bulk of governmental measures in the older housing sphere have revolved around this concept, whether it is tax abatement in order to assure the owner that

-53-

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Residential Abandonment: The Tenement Landlord Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction And Summary xii
  • Notes 1
  • 2 - The "Abandoners:" The Fabled Tenement Landlord 53
  • 3 - Those Who Remain: The New Minority Owners 97
  • 4 - Public Safety And Abandonment 137
  • 5 - Tax Delinquency And Abandonment 181
  • 6 - The "Low-End" Real Estate Sector 237
  • 7 269
  • Notes 352
  • Notes 353
  • Bibliography - Books 428
  • Index 434
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