Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/50

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48
HOMES OF THE LONDON POOR.

itants and their surroundings must be improved together. It has never yet failed to succeed.

Finally, I would call upon those who may possess cottage property in large towns, to consider the immense power they thus hold in their hands, and the large influence for good they may exercise by the wise use of that power. When they have to delegate it to others, let them take care to whom they commit it; and let them beware lest, through the widely prevailing system of sub-letting, this power ultimately abide with those who have neither the will nor the knowledge which would enable them to use it beneficially;—with such as the London landladies described at the beginning of this paper. The management of details will seldom remain with the large owners, but they may choose trustworthy representatives, and retain at least as much control over their tenants, and as much interest in them, as is done by good landlords in the country.

And I would ask those who do not hold such property to consider whether they might not, by possessing themselves of some, confer lasting benefits on their poorer neighbors?

In these pages I have dwelt mainly on the way our management affects the people, as I have given elsewhere[1] my experiences as to financial matters and details of practical management. But I may here urge one thing on those about to undertake to deal with such property, the extreme importance of enforcing the punctual payment of rents. This principle is a vital one. Firstly, because it strikes one blow at the credit system, that curse of the poor; secondly, because it prevents large losses from bad debts, and prevents the tenant from believing that he will be suffered to remain, whatever his conduct may be, resting that belief on his knowledge of the large sum that would be lost were he


  1. Cottage Property in London.—Fortnightly Review, Nov. 1, 1866.
    Organized Work amongst the Poor.—Macmillan's Magazine, July, 1869.