Why is it that slumlords never seem to realize what they are? There have been several articles over the past few months about the substandard conditions prevalent in many of the buildings owned by absentee landlords, the most recent published on Aug. 20 ("htt").

These landlords always say that they're "helping" people no one else will rent to -- but their tenants live in terrible conditions while paying high rents and may end up having to look for other housing if the rental license is pulled, and neighborhoods are dealing with landlords who don't maintain their properties and who too often rent to tenants who haven't been adequately screened and cause problems for the rest of the community.

Who is really being helped here? The landlord who buys a property for next to nothing and pockets the cash every month without taking responsibility? I have yet to hear about one of these slumlords living in or anywhere near their own properties. I'm sure they have excuses for that, too.