There are many ways to affect someones life in small ways. Send a handwritten note. Offer to buy lunch. Give your friend a lift to the airport. Each of those things is influential and meaningful in its own way. But, what if you could find a way to touch the large parts of someone’s life?
Enjoy a though experiment with me: Where do people spend most of their time and money?
Work? School? The local Starbucks?
As true as each of those may be, for the vast majority of American’s the answer is home.
To ignore the fringes, people typically spend 30% of their income on housing. That number is much higher if you factor in the furniture, utilities, and insurance. No other line item on a budget sheet boast such an obtuse figure. Average numbers for groceries or transportation fall far below the 30-40% of housing.
What about time? If you count 6-7 hours of sleep each night (who actually gets 8?), an hour or so in the mornings and maybe 2 hours in the evening it equals at least 10 hours a day. If you count in the time people spend at home on the weekends, the average probably swells to around 12-14 hours. Except for the workaholics among us, who might boast of 12+hours a day at the office, your time at home is the largest of any long hand on the clock.
Your home is a huge part of who you are. You spend a huge amount of time and money invested where you live. This remains true whether you rent or buy.
What if there were a way to shape someone’s life through their housing?
This is why I want to be a landlord.
Long story, irrelevant for the moment, but my wife and I closed on our first house a couple months ago. For a number of reasons, we intentionally purchased a duplex. Our plan is to live on one half and find tenets to rent the other half.
Yes, that’s unorthodox, but the possibilities thrill us. We are now positioned to provide a great service to someone in the place where they spend most of the resources — home.
Many people are going to be renters for some or all of their adult life, and honestly, there are a lot of terrible places to live. For many, they have disengaged landlords who don’t care for their tenants or property but only that the rent check is on time.
My family wants to explore what a Christian approach to landlording looks like. Rather than just serving people in the church walls, what would it look like to be a Christian neighbor and landlord who provides a great place to live?
We are still praying and thinking through what a benevolent landlord looks like. It might look like doing proactive and preventative maintenance to avoid things breaking down. It might mean screening potential tenants well so that no one is stuck with a rent payment they actually can’t afford.
We hope, and it seems to be true, the possibilities are endless.