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Landlord Sins - Lust

Classical advice on moderation can benefit modern day landlords, as many self-inflicted losses can be seen as a result of falling prey to one of the seven deadly sins.

Wouldn't it be nice ...

Lust doesn't have to be romantic.
Sure, you could lust in the conventional sense after a tenant, worker, or agent, but apart from that example being too obviously inappropriate, it's also misleadingly narrow.

More broadly, I see it as the undue attachment to a set of circumstances, present or future.

You could be smitten with the desire to:

  • Hang on to a great tenant at all costs.
  • Sign on a prospective applicant at all costs.
  • Achieve a target at all costs.
  • Realise a favourable decision at all costs.
  • Avoid a bill, decision, or outcome at all costs.

'At all costs' is a warning sign that lust is at work, as it characteristically subverts propriety. When you can picture the best outcome - replete with theme music - you'll be more likely to cut corners to get there.

I want you to want

This can be confusing as completely undesirous landlords probably wouldn't have become landlords. Desire in itself is not wrong. However, the notion that even good things can be lusted after indicates that what gives lust its sinful nature is its intensity.
(Luke 22:25-16 "And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I shall not eat it, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.")
Judaism is helpful here as it considers the conversion of good into evil reversible, with evil inclinations (yetzer hara, יצר הרע) capable of being redirected into producing good.

Losing that loving feeling

Remedying lust while acknowledging the good of desire is a balancing act. Keeping this in mind will be difficult when our decision-making is degraded in the grip of lust. So I have included pop-music memory aids in my tips on how to be a less lustful landlord.


Re-channel your efforts

Medieval societies used prostitutes and red-light districts in attempts to reduce sexual frustration.
Yeeah. I don't think I need to expand.
That said, re-directing your focus towards another ... outlet ... is probably the most difficult remedy as intense desire often clouds its target, and without a clear picture of what it is you really want, doing something else may end up being a temporary distraction.
Nevertheless, distractions can be the perfect remedy. Think cold showers.
If you think your fixation is too substantial to be dislodged by tricks, don't. It may itself be a mere distraction from a desire to compensate for control lacking in other areas. Would Romeo have pursued Juliet if not spurned by Rosalind?
It would be thus poetic, not to mention worthwhile, to tear yourself away from your desire by working on other investments, other endeavours, or another aspect of your property.
Remind yourself that there is more to life than your dream scenario. Whatever you need to do to re-take yourself into your own, uh, hands.
Musical mnemonics: Cyndi Lauper, "She-Bop"; Green Day, "Long View"; That Divinyls song.

Recognise Lust's Ephemerality

Redirection and distraction work partly because lust, although powerful, is thankfully fleeting. A most apt image comes from Dante's Inferno where the lustful are lost in a whirlwind.
Schopenhauer viewed lust particularly dimly, thinking that its dissipation inevitably revealed regret. I won't venture so far, but will say that the frustration of desire is seldom harmful.
So pause a moment to notice that even if you can remember that thing you wanted when you were 9, you probably don't want it anymore.
Skip to the present. That insurance claim, that warranty issue, that dream tenant. Did you get it? Did it work out? Do you care?
Musical mnemonic: The Shirelles, "Will you still love me tomorrow?"


The traditional remedy for lust can be described as conducting yourself according to current best practice, sticking to the decorum that lust undermines. Such objectivity suggests that oversight will help, and while we may not need chaperones outside our chambers, it's fair to say that we think and act differently when we think someone's watching.
Working with an ally helps us avoid taking shortcuts like compromising too much, making false statements, and chasing something too far. If friendly scrutiny is not available, just imagine being walked in on with your metaphorical appendages in the pie.
Musical mnemonics: Meat Loaf, "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"; Ice Cube, "Check Yourself".


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