Why Landlords Are Neglected in the Media (& How To Avoid Contributing To It)

Estimated read time 5 min read

Press is a foundation of our country. Press has a unique ability to influence public opinion. They have played a vital role in bringing much-needed sunshine to some very dark areas. They can ask for and receive action. They can inform and educate. They can fight for a cause they believe in and support.

Not all the work of the media is good. They can spin stories and slant opinions. They can distort the truth. They can also spread lies and rumors. In my role as a government employee and a landlord, I’ve had many experiences with the media. The majority of these experiences were positive, while others weren’t.

We have to be cautious as landlords and investors when we deal with the media. It can be fun to talk with the media. You will either get your name out or correct the story. has discussed this before, but the press already has a preconceived opinion about us. We are slumlords and scammers. Nothing you say can change this opinion. When I read about real estate investors or landlords, I am always amazed. Yes, it amazes me that we are all given such a bad reputation. I’m more surprised that investors and landlords even speak to the media. I wonder what they thought it would accomplish.

Should you ever talk to the press?

It begs the obvious question: As a real estate investor or landlord, should you ever speak to the media? Real estate investors may not consider this a fair question, but they will eventually come into contact with the media. The answer is, it depends. The answer depends on the person you’re talking to, and what you’re talking about.

It is difficult to find a better word for it but there are good and bad press sources. We can speak to a local or national business publication that wants to write a story about the rental market or the growth in the real-estate industry. Or perhaps they want to feature your business or Biggerpockets.com’s phenomenal growth. These sources are likely to write positive stories about you and your business.

This kind of press can be very beneficial to you. This can help you to get your name known and bring in business. You and your company will gain some credibility. It will give you and your business some credibility.

Even this “good” media can, on the other hand, have negative effects. One, your words are now available to search and will remain there forever. It can also make you or your company a target. You never know who will read it — government officials, activists and competitors.

There are also the “bad” sources. They are those who go after sensational stories like the black mold story or the eviction . A reporter may have been contacted by a deadbeat tenant, or a neighbor that does not approve of your rehab project. They may have decided to focus their attention on you, for whatever reason. Should you speak to these journalists?

I answer in general no. Even though I am aware that you are likely to have done nothing wrong, and you want desperately to share your side of things, I still say this. What you say will also be used against your interests. Do not believe me. Think about how many of us are treated badly, or about the stories that you have read or seen where a real estate investor or landlord is criticized. It’s hard to believe that the whole story was not told. Guess who left it out or twisted it to make someone look bad. It is better to read a “no comment”, than a misspoken quote.

Five Tips on How to Talk with Reporters

You will ultimately have to decide whether it’s worth it to talk to the media when the opportunity arises. It might be helpful, but I know people and organizations that refuse to talk to the press because they’ve been burned before.

Here are some important things to consider.

  1. Watch what you say. Don’t trust anything “off-the-record” unless the reporter is credible. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to hear. You can always search for it. You can be used against by others.
  2. Take the high road. Show kindness to everyone.
  3. The enforcement will be on the lookout. I’ve read stories where someone has pointed out a code or zoning violation and guess what happened? In the next few weeks, code enforcement will arrive and drag them into a red tape maze. It’s possible they didn’t even know that they were violating the law and thought all was legal. It doesn’t matter.
  4. Reporters are a bit of a swindler. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Many are only interested in a story, not the facts. You are already aware that they know you’re a rich and greedy landlord, so anything you say is just a spin to support that narrative. How will you ever know if all journalists are like this? Be careful.
  5. The reporter always has the last say. It doesn’t matter what you have to say or what side you are on, they always decide what is printed.

You may think that the media will never care about you. But, it only takes one lawsuit, one eviction or an angry tenant to get a call from someone asking for your opinion. Remember the tips from this article if you decide to comment. You may avoid embarrassment or lose the case by following these tips.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours