Slumlording in Akron, Ohio
Lower quality units rent at higher prices when supply is constrained. Commenter Charlie has pointed out in the past that one problem with demand being greater than supply in housing is that non-premier and substandard units rent for higher prices than they should warrant, because people have little choice.
Lower quality units in weak markets are often rented to desperate tenants, who then are bullied to not complain for fear of eviction. There is a kind of opposite problem too. Desperate people will live in terrible quality housing because avaricious landlords will rent it to people below market prices, because they can't afford better housing.
But then tenants are in a bad position, because if they complain about the quality of the unit, even if not up to code, they face the threat of eviction.
OTOH, I do have a wee bit of sympathy for the property owner, because unless they are long time owners, they've bought dilapidated properties, which are expensive to fix, especially when rent revenue is low, and property taxes are comparatively high given the value of the property. (Weak market cities tend to have high property taxes in a desperate attempt to raise the revenues necessary to pay for municipal services and operations. E.g., we just spent a lot !! of money to get our house "up to code" to be able to rent it out, and it was in decent condition.)
An Akron Beacon-Journal article ("Tenant hits 'slumlord' in the pocketbook") goes into great detail on such a slumlord, who also games his property taxes, figuring he can make more money by not paying taxes, although now the County is on to him, and is targeting his properties for code and tax enforcement.
It's worth a read.
One tenant has one upped the landlord through a housing court action, so his rent is being escrowed because the landlord hasn't cured building code violations.
Interestingly, when the Summit County Land Bank has taken over properties with tenants, as a result of property tax foreclosure actions, they take great pains to sell the property to the tenant.
Receivership. Ohio has a strong housing receivership statute, which allows nonprofits to take over properties and "cure" notorious nuisances. When a property is fixed, the housing court can extinguish liens and debts on the property, and award ownership to the nonprofit, which then sells the property.
I wonder why Summit County and/or Akron aren't using this tool.