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Is It Wrong for Christians to Raise Rent on Tenants? Dave Ramsey Sparks Controversy With His Answer

“But grace and mercy because rents went up in general, and I can’t afford to live here anymore because my job didn’t go up as much as the cost of a loaf of bread or a gallon of gasoline went up, because welcome to inflation? This is not something you caused,” Ramsey continued. “Now, you didn’t cause the cancer either, but that is a temporary thing. This other thing is going to be better forever. That family is never going to be able to afford to live there if they can’t afford to live there. It’s not going to change.”

“Now, if they come in and they go, ‘I’m getting a raise in four months, and here’s the contract. Can you wait [until] then?’ Yeah, I’ll give them a little mercy,” Ramsey said. “But this idea that you have to equate ‘Christian’ and ‘kindness’ with not having good marketplace experience is not true. It’s not a factual way of viewing this.” 

“You don’t have to be unkind. You don’t have to be cold and transactional. You can go, ‘I understand and it hurts my heart,’” Ramsey later said. “But if you really would expect to get to live there on rental rates that are 75 percent of the market forever, just because your landlord is a Christian, then you’ve got something screwed in your brain.” 

“Now, we don’t need to overcharge,” Ramsey said. “But sometimes people get in their head that anybody who sells anything can’t be a Christian…It’s not an un-Christian act to have interaction in the marketplace.”

Twitter Responds

After the clip was shared to Twitter, Ramsey’s remarks were met with a mixture of criticism and support. The original tweet referred to Ramsey’s words as “incredible mental gymnastics.”

Some noted that dramatic raises in rent lead to an increased profit margin for the landlord more than an adjustment to increased expenses in most cases, with others arguing that raising rent unnecessarily to the point of displacing families is incompatible with Christian values. 

“Landlords expenses rarely ever go up on their properties (besides taxes bc amounts go up if your home value does) so they have no incentive to raise rents other than making more money for no apparent reason besides ‘market rate,’” said one Twitter user.

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“As it says in the Bible, whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord unless market value rises, then it’s ok to evict the poor,” said another. 

Christian author Danté Stewart said, “James Baldwin is right: ‘I think this nation should be, for the foreseeable future, in mourning; one must face the fact that this Christian nation may never have read any of the Gospels, but they do understand money.’”

“The problem with this is the same problem with a lot of Christian political work – it assumes that to do something Christianly is to tack Bible verses on the world’s rules, to play the same game but take a break on Sundays,” said Christian author and podcaster Kaitlyn Schiess. “We’re supposed to have a wider imagination than this.”

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dchamberlain@outreach.com'
Dale Chamberlain (M.Div) is the Content Manager for ChurchLeaders.com. He is also a blogger and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings. He lives in Southern California with his wife Tamara and their two sons.