Sin City: How Apartment Managers Can Avoid Crime, Disrepair

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 12:00 am  

“If you’re really cash-strapped, it makes it a real challenge to say you’re not going to accept a tenant because of background issues,” Bolden said.

Warren said 90 percent of the battle is screening tenants.

“Frequently, you have a landlord who allows bad tenants, and they treat the place badly,” Warren said. “Then the rent received does not begin to cover repairs.”

One bad apple spoils the barrel — a cliché, but, Warren said, “ultimately, it’s true. If you have a murderer living at your place, and you have a single mom living with a kid, she’ll think, you know, ‘I need to move.’ That goes for anybody with a family. Who wants to live near where murder happens or armed robbery happens?”

Tenants who see crimes in progress won’t always contact management, Bolden said. Instead, they’ll vote with their feet.

“Then you have a bad property with good tenants, and they’ll go somewhere else,” Warren said. “The landlord has been boxed into a corner. He can’t get new tenants except bad ones, and he can’t fix what the previous bad ones did.”

The Section 8 Challenge

Landlords must keep their properties full for them to thrive, and at this point, some turn to Section 8, the housing assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

This is true of Valley Heights and other blighted Henry Management properties.

“There are just bad apples in the system that feel entitled to be able to destroy your property,” said Jordan Haas, owner of Rental Realty Inc. in Little Rock.

“You’ve got a lot of people, a lot of owners, who won’t deal with HUD housing at all, since there’s been a bad taste left in their mouth.”

It doesn’t help when local Section 8 authorities are wrapped up in their own problems, either.



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