Intuitive Coaching 101–10 Signs You’re Renting from a Slum Lord


Study of Light, photo by Patricia Herlevi

Study of Light, photo by Patricia Herlevi

You are probably wondering why I’m including a post on slum lords under Intuitive Coaching 101, right? Yet, when we rent from slum lords or even dishonest landlords, we sell ourselves short.  At some juncture we failed to listen to our intuition or we attracted a home out of fear instead of love. 

Forget the old image of slum lord in Manhattan who never fixes anything and leaves tenants dealing with cockroaches, bad plumbing and broken window panes in the freezing winter months.  While those landlords exist, let’s look at the less obvious ones.  Some slum lords to their credit, perform minor repairs, but this comes with the attitude,  “Just give me my rent money and leave me alone.”

Another type of landlord, usually a retired person who builds an extra apartment onto their home, sometimes zoned illegally, refuses to learn landlord-tenant law and takes the rent money under the table, (meaning they don’t report the extra income on their taxes). Twice, I’ve rented from landladies who practice the art of tax-evasion. And one landlady wouldn’t allow me to apply for food stamps because then the government would know I was renting an apartment from her. Who cares if the tenant goes hungry?

Not all spaces rented out by dishonest or slum lords fit the usual description of squalor either.  Some of the spaces are even eco-friendly or at least advertised as such.  I lived in one beautiful apartment pegged as a garden cottage from a landlady who was anything but honest.  She gossiped constantly about the neighbors, invaded my personal and spiritual space while also spying on me.  Did she think I didn’t notice that the apartment door was unlocked when I returned home even though I always locked it when I went out?

This landlady also kept one third of my deposit over a faulty set of blinds that snapped on top even though I never opened the blinds, dust behind the fridge and normal wear and tear.  She wrote a nasty letter to my parents telling them that I was a bad tenant.  My parents felt disturbed by this woman, who we all found completely deranged at the time.

Now, there’s another kind of slum lord who appears as a friendly family-oriented man.  This landlord talks in a kind voice, seems interested in his (or her) tenants and gives of the air of “Oh, what a great guy I am”.  This type of landlord ignores tenants’ problems or hands the problems off to ineffective managers who he scapegoats.  This type of landlord does not accommodate renters with disabilities because that’s an inconvenience. 

This type of landlord also tends to buy crumbling buildings and rent it to students or desperate people moving into town only looking for a temporary space until they can buy a house or settle in somewhere else. He doesn’t renovate or restore the building in anyway, such as making the building more energy efficient, fixing rotting windows or even rewiring a building that’s nearly 100 years old.  He doesn’t replace rusty pipes or rusty sinks, unless the pipes completely decay.  He charges a cleaning fee (which is taken out of the deposit, mentioned in the lease), but don’t mistake this for letting the tenant off the hook when it comes to vacating the apartment or house.  The tenant is expected to turn into a super professional house cleaner.  Allow me to pull out my cape and grab my magic broom.

So here are 10 Signs that You Are Renting from a Slum Lord:

1) When you ask for a legitimate repair, you are met with an attitude of blame the tenant.

2) The landlord ignore repair or other requests even when they are in writing, as if the problem will just go away.

3) He or she usually charges a cleaning fee but expects the tenant to clean every spec of dust when they move out and jump through additional hoops to receive their deposit back.

4) The landlord often finds excuses to keep the entire deposit.

5) He or she doesn’t give proper notice (at least 24 hours notice to a tenant) before entering a rental unit or showing the unit to prospective renters.

6) He or she treats tenants like an inevitable inconvenience even though he or she knows that the building they are renting has issues with age and decay.

7) They play good cop/bad cop while scapegoating rental managers.

8) Often repair jobs are done by non-professionals and are shoddy.

9) The apartment isn’t clean when you move into it or partially clean, but not adequate.

10) They know that their tenants are living in squalor, but they still sleep at night, thinking of their next vacation or putting their children through college with income from tenants.

Last but not least, look out for the charming car sales type landlord who oozes friendliness when you are still a prospective renter.  You might even feel that you already have a deep connection with this person, but watch out.  If the home resembles squalor, don’t rent it.  Never rent out of fear or desperation, thinking that the Universe won’t provide a better situation for you. Often the perfect rental situation comes after you signed the lease with the slum lord.

I actually blew a chance to live in a beautiful crafted apartment for a reasonable price once.  It was obviously a gift from the Universe and exactly what I was working on manifesting.  But I was stuck in fear so I found a way to sabotage the situation then after four months of house hunting, I ended up renting an undesirable apartment with no amenities due to my desperate vibes.  Don’t let this happen to you.  And if it does, pick yourself up and make the necessary adjustments.  Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

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One thought on “Intuitive Coaching 101–10 Signs You’re Renting from a Slum Lord

  1. Had to laugh – we’ve probably all been there.
    Place may be an illegal residence, but if the location and price are right, people are willing to overlook…Good to listen to feelings about a place. Bad creates bad.

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