A Seattle landlord is letting tenants live rent-free for the entire month of November in celebration of a Biblical holiday.
Reddit user ChemicalSupermarket a photo posted to the HumansBeingBros subreddit last week, ostensibly of their landlord stating that none of the tenants in that apartment building would have to pay rent for the month of November to observe the Biblical tradition of Jubilee.
In the letter (which Grit Post was not able to independently verify as of this writing due to identifying information being blurred out), the landlord wrote that November 2018 would mark the 50th anniversary of the occupancy permit being granted for the apartment building, which has been maintained by the builder’s family since the builder — a Norwegian immigrant — passed away.
“In the Bible it talks about the 50th year being the year being a year of “Jubilee” – a time of celebration and rejoicing – a year to release debtors from their indebtedness and any other forms of bondage,” the letter reads. “While we can’t completely ‘forgive’ all debts owed to us by our tenants, we have decided to give you all the month of NOVEMBER 2018 RENT-FREE, if you want to accept that offer, as a way of celebrating this milestone year.”
The landlord also encouraged tenants to participate in the Biblical tradition of “tithing” (giving away 10 percent of one’s monthly income) by suggesting they donate 10 percent of the rent money saved to a charity of their choice:
The actual Jubilee as described in the Bible is laid out in Leviticus Chapter 25, Verses 8-17, which instructs the people to “consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”
“It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
“In this year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property. If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other.”
The landlord’s decision to allow tenants to not pay rent in November is particularly significant for Seattle, which is America’s third-most expensive housing market according to real estate website Zillow. Rental site RentJungle calculated that in September 2018, the average monthly rent for an apartment in Seattle was $2,177. For a two-bedroom, however, the average Seattle renter would have to shell out $2,793.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.