Slumlord Law & Legal Definition


A slumlord is an unscrupulous landlord who milks a property without concern for tenants, neighborhoods or their own long term interests. Slumlords overcharge for property in poor neighborhoods that is kept in poor repair and allowed to deteriorate. Some indicators of property run by a slumlord include number of police calls, and city and county code violations on the properties.

The following is an example of a state statute defining slumlord property:

" 3. "Slumlord property" means residential rental property that has deteriorated or is in a state of disrepair and that manifests one or more of the following conditions that are a danger to the health or safety of the public:

  1. Structurally unsound exterior surfaces, roof, walls, doors, floors, stairwells, porches or railings.
  2. Lack of potable water, adequate sanitation facilities, adequate water or waste pipe connections.
  3. Hazardous electrical systems or gas connections.
  4. Lack of safe, rapid egress.
  5. Accumulation of human or animal waste, medical or biological waste, gaseous or combustible materials, dangerous or corrosive liquids, flammable or explosive materials or drug paraphernalia."

In another example, one city defines slum property as having structurally unsound exterior surfaces, roof, walls, doors, floors, stairwells, porches or railings; lack of potable water, adequate sanitation facilities, adequate water or waste pipe connections; hazardous electrical systems or gas connections; lack of safe rapid egress; or accumulation of human or animal waste, medical or biological waste, gaseous or combustible materials, dangerous or corrosive liquids, flammable or explosive materials or drug paraphernalia.

The authority to designate a slum property rests with the city's building inspector.Slum property is subject to immediate inspection and to annual inspections for three years, with the inspection costs assessed to the property's owner. The city's law says that a slum property constitutes a public nuisance, and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal. If the property owner fails to comply with the notice and order, and does not appeal the notice, the inspector will file a certificate of designation as a slum property with the County Recorder's office. In the event the property is repaired, demolished, or otherwise abated, the building inspector will file a new certificate stating it is no longer a slum property.