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When Rent Becomes Theft

Updated on June 20, 2017
Homeless Family Shelters New York A gathering in front of the Auburn Family Shelter.
Homeless Family Shelters New York A gathering in front of the Auburn Family Shelter. | Source

Rent is theft.

Chances are, you're coughing up 50%, or more, of your income and handing it over to your landlord whom, 1.) probably doesn't even live in the city 2.) yet, owns a ridiculous amount of property - preventing you - a working, productive member of your community from owning a home and investing in yourself, your family, and your future. This reality, one that some would call classify as "economic freedom", is, what I would call, theft.

And, yet, politicians, such as New York City's Major Bill de Blasio, somehow believe that low-income, subsidized, and public housing can combat the catastrophe of ridiculously high rent and the overall landlord-tenant culture that not only exists in New York City, but all metropolitan cities. As long as only the elite few and the ultra-rich can realistically own property in NYC, there can no economic freedom.

'Affordability Crisis' Threatens New York City

The problem of affordable housing not only effects low-income families, but middle class families as well.

Let's say you're looking to invest in a barely-modest mid-size townhouse in Brooklyn - it still wouldn't make sense economically to do so. Not for a minimum of 500k, it doesn't. And, so, you rent. Not by choice. No one is choosing to be a slave to their landlord, yet the only other option, for us modest non-millionaires, is to then be a slave to our bank - assuming you make that ridiculous choice of buying a house.

So, why is this theft?

Because you have taken all of the property from me. By selfishly taking all the homes, you're forcing me, against my will, to give you my money in order to fulfill the most basic human right, which is shelter and safety from the elements. I would not hesitate to call landlords leeches, nor a parasite - not when they're quite literally sucking up all of the resources and offering nothing worth while in return.

If you can't pay, you can't stay.

Yet, for reasons beyond reason, we ask our law enforcers to protect them and their property, while taking all measures possible to prevent the renter, or tenant, from exercising their own rights.

If you're poor, the chances of you being evicted from your home is sadly quite high. All of which is due to an erratic housing market completely out of your control, and completely controlled by greed. Don't be fooled by the illusion of "tenant rights" either, because your rights are only as significant as the amount of money you have in the bank. Say your landlord takes you to housing court for a non-payment case: Unless you have the money, resources, fairy godmother, or luck to not only get a lawyer or attorney, to represent you in court, the chances of you receiving one that is just as good, or better than your landlord's is highly unlikely.

And, so, you'll end up being strung along in court for months on end, only to be thrown out by the very law enforcement that is sworn to protect you, with an impressively high bill following behind you. And, unfortunately, your landlord could be completely in the wrong - they could destroy your apartment, they could refuse to supply water and heat in the winter - not even trying to adhere to the terms of your lease, and it won't matter because you're poor and they're not.

NYC vs. San Francisco: Cost of Housing Rapidly Rising

Your landlord will throw a fit because they're trying to exploit you and it's not working.

Then, you'll be homeless.

Thankfully for them, they'll still be rich. Unfortunately for you, obviously, you'll still be poor. And, you'll sit at shelter in-take for 10 hours and they'll do the same thing they did to you, but to someone else.

The landlord steals from, not only the tenant, but each and every hard-working, tax-paying citizen.

They steal from you in the same way that Walmart owners, the Walton family, steal from you - they perpetuate and participate in a capitalistic system that require you to supplement their greed. Because the Walton's do not offer their millions of employees a fair and livable wage, you must, with your taxes, supplement their employee's income through a suffocating welfare system. In this same way, the landlord steals from you - because the landlord doesn't allow it's tenants safe and affordable housing, you must supplement the tenant's cost of housing. Or quite literally, give them housing, because there is no housing.

And, this is how rent becomes theft. That is how property is theft. And, in many ways, "economic freedom" - whatever you want to call it, is theft.

© 2017 Jocelyn Figueroa


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    • Jocelyn Figueroa profile image

      Jocelyn Figueroa 4 months ago from New York, NY

      We're experiencing the same thing here, Tim. In not even 6 years, the rent in Washington Heights, NYC has quite literally doubled - pushing out many families that have been residing in this neighborhood for decades.

    • TimRBerman profile image

      Timothy R Berman 4 months ago from Seattle, Washington

      The average rent is about $2100 for a decent one bedroom in Seattle. The housing crisis is quite real as the middle class appears to be on a rapid and steep decline. The tide of poverty increasing.