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The Evil Practice of House Rent / Tenancy as a Tool of Oppression


The practice of house rent (letting) is a relatively modern phenomena in human history, specially in its pervasive form. This single practice causes millions of people great oppression and suffering. Almost everywhere in the world, half of the income of any wage earners are forced to spend their earning into the house rent. This has become a tool of oppression for the 99 percent.

If we look at the history of renting housing we find that since medieval times in Europe – some 10 to 12 centuries ago – when the role of landlord first developed, roughly from 800 until 1200 A.D., the centralized power of the Roman Empire had disappeared, and Europe consisted of small farming villages scattered all over the place, with only a few small cities here and there.

At that time in principle, each landlord “owned” all the farming land in a village and the forest around it. But their primary job was to be warriors – sometimes we call them “knights” – to protect their villagers which were often attached by robbers, vikings and hostile forces. The villagers’ primary job was to farm the land and produce food.

In this medieval farming economy, a form of barter became established between the landlord and his serfs, the name for village farmers. In exchange for protection, each serf owed his landlord a fixed portion of the crop yield from the farmland that he occupied usually for his lifetime. That fixed portion (food, not money) was the serf’s “rent,” and the rent literally fed the lord and his household. We now see the historical origin of the term “landlord.”

Originally, then, rent was actual produce from the land and linked entirely to the land, not to a building or a part of a building. At the same time, the serfs were also bound to the land for life. They were not “free men.” [1] Then came modern industrialize economy and as a result urbanization where tenants as serfs became tenants in apartments. Barter (food crops, fruits) based rent changed into money based letting.

In places like Indian Sub-Continent, only few decades ago we had the practice of landlord. Just like current rent, the landlord would impose tax and levies upon his subjects. The apartment owners have become the new landlord. In their action they are like the close relative of usurer.


The Nature of Renting


Whenever someone possess something that is excess and in addition to what they really need, only then the question of renting comes. From this perspective, when one understand the true meaning of sharing, and who care for others, they can never hoard anything excess, anything that is just a resource sitting idle. This is very uncaring and inconsiderate towards others who have less.

One who wish to give out something as rent must have ownership over that object of rent first. Now there are two important question to ask:

1) Why are we not selling or giving away in charity things which we no longer need? Or why are we not giving it away to whom we need may need them?

2) How can we be so adamant about being owner os something when God, the Creator, the Almighty in reality is the owner of all? If anyone by force control the ownership of land, water, air, resources and force others to pay money, or tax on it (which are essentially given to human family for free), how do we feel about that? This is occupation, colonialization and tax-enslavement.

We, humanity are here to live on this planet earth, made as our residence for a limited time. We have residency permit, not tenancy. Those who believe in tenancy and make everything rentable are oppressors of the highest degree.

God, the Almighty Creator has created and gifted us everything without anything in return. We are given residency permit here. Those who believe in God and the Day of Reckoning gratefully acknowledge the gifts whereas those who deny God and the Day of Reckoning are ingrate and act without any regard for the Grand Accountability in the Day of Reckoning.

Just like God do not take any rent or tenancy fee from His guests on earth, this is also our teaching to treat everyone who are our guests.

The One Who Created our body, heart and mind demands that we worship none but the Lord alone. We shall worship Him alone without associating anyone else.

To give rent of our body is the violation of the sanctity of our body, also known as prostitution and thus forbidden by God.

Giving rent of our money is the violation of the chastity of the transaction, also known as usury and thus forbidden by God.

Similarly the practice of rent for housing purpose destroys the beautiful practice of guest and host, it systematically destroys affordability of housing, create hotel and eventually brothels, force people to enslavement (serf) to owner of property.

In reality those who understand the reality of usury (interest) and its devastating effect overall on every aspect of economy and life, understand that it is the single most destructive tool of oppression. From printing money (fiat money) out of thin air based on interest based contract between governments and their central banks to vicious credit loans to poor, all of these give rise to inflation, diminishing of purchase power of general mass and keep them running on the hamster wheel.

God always forbid usury and its seen as a evil practice. Messenger of God, Muhammad used to warn about many shades of usury. He used to use the symbolic term seventy, a number often used to indicate many and quoted to have warned that Usury has seventy kinds (meaning many many different forms, not just money based interest).

In truth, house rent is one of those variation of forbidden evil practice of usury because it helps perpetuate wealth and keeps it in circulation of those who are wealthy. It robs money from the poor and continue to pump money to the already rich and wealthy. Not only that, the practice of rent / tenancy sky rocket rents in urban areas making others next to impossible to have their own housing.

Just as in usury or interest based transaction the principal amount remains intact and additional profit is reaped without participating any risk and the risk is put entirely upon the lender, which is why its oppressive because it can easily trap the needy into increasing risk - similarly in a rental agreement, the principal remains intact (the house) where as the owner of the rental property continue to reap profits every month or week. Not only that as advanced rent, they get advanced profit.

If we look at any major city and take a look at the price of property we can easily realize how oppressive this system is, how it pumps the price of residence to such level that it practically render ownership of residence impossible. In places like USA for example, America’s new generation, particularly in its alpha cities, seems increasingly destined to spend their lives paying off their overlords - like medieval serfs in pre-industrial Europe. [2]

From religious perspective, we will see the model of all Messengers were such that they never hoarded anything excess. Prophet Muhammad always always gave away anything he had in excess, whether its clothes, money or food. Thus tenancy or rending was impossible for them.

The oppressive practice of tenancy crept into humanity and accepted as 'normal' practice is highly questionable. Just imagine what would happen if people were told that the practice of rent must be abolished (if not in one go, but step by step) and those who have excess property must sell them off - this alone can reduce the crazy price of property and provide massive reduction of houses to such extent that housing would be super affordable and everyone could have a shelter above their head.



Let us take a moment and imagine how the world would look like if rent / tenancy was declared forbidden as part of Divine Economic Principles.

We would have a world much much peaceful? How? We would not have any homeless people, no landless farmers. Tenancy on house and land both are antithesis to the kingdom of God where residency is permitted, tenancy is not. Everyone would return to the beautiful practice of host and guest. Whether in urban or village, the property price would normalize. A massive amount of income that goes into house rent due to this sick practice would reduce, which in turn would reduce inflation of other good such as food etc. The same amount of income would increase in its blessings and purchase power.

The abolishing of the evil practice of house rent or tenancy is part of the necessary strategy and protocol towards establishing Heavenly Kingdom of God on earth again and realize the prayer of Jesus:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. 
Thy kingdom come. 
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

May we realize the truth and contribute and participate in ushering the Kingdom of God on earth. Amen, so be it. Peace!



# References:

[1] Small Property Owners Association
[2] The High Cost of a Home Is Turning American Millennials Into the New Serfs

I am grateful to Nazmus Saquib Chowdhury's writeup On House Rent in Bangla towards writing this article.

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