Absentee Landlords Help Kill Philly Neighborhoods

Investors have been snatching up houses in Philly and then applying a “rent ‘em n’ forget ‘em” policy. Once-picturesque blocks where neighbors competed to have the nicest flowerbed have degenerated into ones where they seem to be fighting to see who can have the highest unmowed lawn.

Philly.com reports that the problem is these outside investors rent out the properties without doing proper credit or background checks, letting in rowdy folk who don’t bother keep up their property’s appearance.

The investors would bought up 10, 20, 30 properties at a time on a block and then just rented them and collect the checks from afar. When the city tries to track down these absentee landlords and let them know about their problem tenants, they’re often unsuccessful. Usually these investors registered the deed in the name of an LLC, whose address just leads to an infrequently checked PO box.

The problem has seemed to surge within the past five years, and is pretty new to the Northeast in general. State Rep. Mike McGeehan told Philly.com, “People are angry. They’re upset, and the census shows that folks, unless we do something drastic, are going to leave Northeast Philadelphia. And that has dire consequences for all of Philadelphia.”

Are absentee landlords killing once-good NE Phila. neighborhoods? [Philly.com]