OSEB, I see way too many eviction indicators for properties along Broadway (from the Zoo in towards downtown). That area is a hard-luck zone that must attract both kinds of bad elements in the landlord-tenant equation.
What seems to really start the process off is the flight of those who can leave the area either early or later on but still within their means. That "hollowing out" of the population produces an increase in the number of dicktards who remain. Just ONE dicktard can destroy the social investment of 3 or 4 entire families in the South End. There must be over 200 of pure-bred dicktards who are wandering up and down Broadway, looking to kill off any remaining amount of sane culture.
And we really need to discuss all the assumptions behind this statement of yours:
« The owner of a vacant house cannot win for losing. »
A man should not own or otherwise control more than he can take care of. Firstly, having a mortgage on the property doesn't mean you own it. The bank does. Secondly, "owning" more than one home is fairly aberrant for the middle class since you only live in one of them. Since the other one is necessarily empty, it creates a big hole in the finances of the real middle class. That creates a need to rent the 2nd property out, but you are in an entire other regime of socio-economics. You have to be a landlord, which demands direct responsibilities like maintenance. You also have to be in a market for renters, which is always fairly perilous. In short, all this so-called investment has created "accidental landlords", which plainly put doesn't work.
I have no sympathy for these vacancy owners and debtors. They are overextended by definition due to the vacancies. They should sell out at a much cheaper price (i.e. whatever it takes to unload the asset from their control) and move on in life with a smaller set of financial assets which should be easier to manage in a prosperous fashion.
In any event, nothing I say here will make any difference, really. There will be even more poor people by next winter and we slump into a national Depression, and then the real, LETHAL fun will start. We're going to see a significant uptick in the number of heating-related fires in Toledo, and particularly along Broadway ("The Avenue of Doom"). There will be more burglaries this summer than the last, and in 2009 there will be a significant uptick. Probably in 2009, the police will notice a remarkable spate of burglaries during the cold months, as people desperate for cash will brave the elements to ply their terrible trade.