Landlord system morally unethical, contribute nothing to society


photo used with permission of Kurt Bauschdart, Flickr Commons, ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Landlords are social parasites that profit off of working-class incomes and exploit the human need for housing and shelter.

Irene Si, arts&style editor

The depiction of landlords in the media, to put it lightly, is less than appealing: a scruffy old man furiously pounds against his tenant’s door, demanding that the rent be paid up. Ignoring the fact that his tenant is struggling to even put food on the table, the landlord writes up an official eviction notice giving them a maximum of two weeks to get their things and leave for good.

While only a small percentage of landlords embody this portrayal, all landlords, regardless of how nice they appear or behave, perpetuate a system that marginalizes the working class.

“Landlords can be very unfair and often have a power imbalance against the tenant,” freshman Dishitha Dhakshin said.

First things first, landlords in general are greedy. They actively partake in and directly benefit from a system that commodifies a necessary element for survival: housing. Just like food and water, everybody deserves a roof over their head; thus, landlords who purchase rental properties with the sole intention of exploiting other people to simply live in them are immoral and corrupt.

There’s no actual need for landlords. Besides the case that a tenant genuinely wants to temporarily rent a home rather than buy it, those who do want to purchase and own a home of their own but can’t afford it must rent out from someone who happens to have the excess funds to own more than one living space. Available housing is already extremely scarce as it is. By buying up houses to rent out, landlords not only decrease the opportunities others have to own a home, but also restrict the supply of housing and increase their profits at the expense of others. 

“Housing should be a universal right,” senior Sneha Nagarakanti said. “Landlords are one of the reasons why housing [often] is not accessible for people with minimum wage jobs, even though they have minimum facilities and space.”

Most landlords don’t do any actual work—the work put into building the home is done by constructors and property developers, while the work put into maintaining the home is done by plumbers, exterminators, etc. In the case that individual landlords do their own maintenance repairs, the amount of money and work put into those repairs is rarely the same quality as the work put into a landlord’s own home. 

Landlords are being paid for simply having ownership over an item that another does not have, which is absentee ownership. And because landlords are profiting off of someone renting out their private property, in which they do virtually no labor upon, they are rent-seeking, a practice that allows a party to gain wealth through manipulating economic conditions. 

While a tenant must work extra hours to receive a higher income, landlords can simply raise the rent and acquire more properties to rent out, creating an endless cycle where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. 

“[A landlord] takes advantage of the tenant like a parasite while not helping the tenant,” Nagarakanti said. “Although [the landlord provides] housing, the housing cost doesn’t correspond to the quality of the housing available in regards to space and immunities.”