ditor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 16, 2021.
If finding a good house to rent is difficult, finding a good landlord is near impossible. The word “landlord” often evokes strong negative feelings, and to be fair, many do justify the stereotype. However, there are a few kind-hearted ones, and a story about one such landlord was posted on Facebook. Chris Robarge, from Worcester, Massachusetts, was surprised when one of his old landlords asked for his current address. It had been a while since he moved out and all matters were settled, so it felt weird for the landlord to asking for this. He found out why a few days later when he got a letter containing a check for $2,500. He was stunned. The landlord had attached a letter with it explaining that he had managed to sell the house for a good price and wanted to share a bit with his tenants, who all contributed to paying the mortgage of the home.
Chris Robarge wrote an emotional post on Facebook, recalling renting the place after moving out of his home after his divorce. Robarge said it was the first place he called home and it’s clear now that the landlord was welcoming and kind. “It’s a letter from that person, informing me that they sold their house and that they were paying me and every tenant they ever had for what we contributed to the profit they made from selling the house,” wrote Robarge.
He was beyond shocked. “I have been sitting with this for more than a day and I am still completely beyond an actual way to describe what this act means to me. All that I can say is that there are people who talk about their values and there are people who actually live them, and the reason I wanted to share this is that I want to encourage us all to actually live our values,” he wrote, before adding that the post was shared with the permission of the landlord.
The landlord wrote a letter explaining the thought process behind the check. “I recently sold the house and the rent you paid each month contributed to paying off the mortgage. I firmly believe the capitalist tradition of retaining money after the sale of a property is exploitative and antithetical to society. I wanted to return to you the portion of the rent you paid,” the landlord reasoned. He also elaborated on how he came to the sum, factoring in the increase in the value of the home from when he bought it. The landlord concluded, “It was a great house and I’m glad that I was able to share it with you.”
Robarge added that he was going to keep $500 to do work on his car, and the rest he was giving away to help others. “I am giving away the rest of the money. I want this good deed to reach as far as possible. I have already given $500 to Black and Pink Massachusetts, I’m going to fill every Worcester Free Fridge, I’m making a donation to OurStory Edutainment, and I’m going to give some money out in the streets to people who need it. If you can’t do what my former landlord did, let this inspire you to give whatever you can spare to someone or someplace that needs it,” he concluded.
Many lauded the landlord for his act of kindness. Lin Wilcox wrote, “This made me cry. We have been through some heart-wrenching times these past few months from deaths to suicides job loss etc. I could not get people to pay me that they owed me and out of the blue, a pastor friend brought us 500 inside a Thanksgiving card. We were close to being homeless. It saved us. I intend to pay it forward as well.” Robarge replied, “This is it. This is how all the best things happen for people, and all it takes.” Another person commented, “Wonderful surprise! There are still some caring people in the world!”