..and then the renters moved in.

What’s worse, irresponsible owners or irresponsible renters? There’s an amusing article in the Real Estate journal about the way the speculative boom down south went sour when the market turned, spawning complaints from residents who now live in neighborhoods with absentee landlords.

“I like to know my neighbors,” says Lyletta Robinson, who says she has had disputes with some of the tenants in her 18-unit condo complex in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. “I like to know who’s coming and going out of our building, and it’s difficult to do that with renters.”

Of course, plenty of renters cut their grass, take in the garbage cans and turn down the music at 9 p.m. And not all homeowners are model neighbors. Denise Bower, of Community Management, Inc., which manages 122 developments around Portland, Ore., says renters are often more responsive to complaints because they know they run the risk of losing their leases if they don’t. “I have more problems with owners, by far,” Ms. Bower says. “They get stubborn.”

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
si fu

After living/owning for years in a condo that limited rentals, I rented a place downtown to be close to work. Where I live it is 90% renters. I have to say that absentee landlords couldn't care less about the conduct of their tenants. Downtown buildings seem to be inhabited mostly by ESL students who pay premium rent for a short term and spend their time partying.I've been looking at investment condos for sale (why not fleece the foreigners, too?) and I noticed that almost all of the rental properties for sale are trashed by the tenants. With carrying costs in this market, owners can't afford to put money into upkeep, and they can't be too choosy about tenants if they want to get high rents. They need to get tenants who will pay premium rents in order to keep the… Read more »


I agree it's a crap shoot. I rent my house and take better care of it than the previous owner ever did. I have completely landscaped a yard that was weeds and stumps because I love gardening. The house across the street was recently sold as a fixer upper but was a rental before. The landlord and tenant could never agree on who was responsible for yard work and the grass used to get literally knee high before the landlord sent in a crew to cut it down.


Having owned and lived in a strata, I think the common wisdom is that owners take better care of community resources and certainly have a bigger stake in keeping things clean, respectable, etc.However in reality I think its a crap shoot between bad tenants and irresponsible/bad owners. At least the tenants can be evicted…