Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Person to Person: Landlords are witness to failing morals in society

Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen, Tribune News Service on

Published in Helping Yourself

As we all learn more coping skills for relationship problems, our society seems to keep creating new craziness. People caught up in everything from financial problems to love triangles to drug issues are adding complex pain to our world.

Landlords across America say their tenants are experiencing more stress, so the tenants are acting out their misery in every direction. Lack of integrity is at the root of the problem.

"I have to find a little humor in my day, or I'd be very depressed," says a property manager near Knoxville, Tennessee. "I called a guy the other day who had not paid rent in four months. He told me he'd move as soon as I paid him the $2,000 I owed him. He kept insisting he'd done that much in cleaning and improvements."

While most people who lease or rent a home are moral, upstanding people, we've learned that lack of cash is causing more violence and craziness.

Reader's Digest (November 2017) features an article about a policeman who had to shoot a tenant he came to evict. Why? She was wielding an ax when he pulled up in the driveway to serve the papers.

"I rented a property to a guy who wrote me a bad check for a lease-purchase," says a dentist we'll call Fred. "He came to my office with the story he'd just bought a local business. He wanted to rent my parents' empty house with an option to buy in four months. He even brought a realtor with him."

Fred goes on to say that when the check bounced, he found out the renter-buyer had pulled this same scam on four other landlords in the area. "He pretends he's bought a local business, using fake paperwork. Then, he rents a home with a bad check. It takes a good 30 days or more to evict him. Then, he does the same thing somewhere else."

Whether you're dating someone, renting him a property, hiring someone for a job, or lending money, be sure to find how who the person truly is.

Checking people out thoroughly is your only protection. Judging character by smiles and handshakes won't work anymore. Getting a professionally-conducted background check and calling all references is critical.


In today's world, morals are still just as important as they were in the days of our grandparents. Why? Those without them become their own worst enemy.

"If your life is overly complex, you might be veering from a good moral path," says a friend of ours we'll call Mike. "By the time I was 30, I had four kids by three different girlfriends. Yes, I love these children, but boy, my life is so very complicated. The kids' lives are tangled up as well."

Landlords are inheriting the problems of mentally unhealthy tenants, too. "Their families work hard to get them pushed into an apartment and run," says a friend of ours we'll call Ted. He owns an apartment complex. "I've gotten in harm's way many times, mainly due to drugs in the picture.

"We have to work on mental health issues," says Ted. "I think mental health starts with knowing right from wrong. Having good morals means you can steer your life properly. When we lie or steal, it takes way too much effort to get through the day. If everyone had a good moral compass, our world would be a wonderful place."

(Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe at Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)

(c)2017 Person to Person

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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