Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jesus is our Guarantor

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13‭-‬14 NIV
In this verse from Ephesians, the Holy Spirit is described as being a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.
When we think of deposit guarantees in modern times, we think of the rental market.
"No DSS" is a common tag on rental property searches, usually hidden at the bottom of the listing, ready to disappoint the families who claim housing benefit.
In 2015, 4.8 million families were receiving housing benefit, of those 2.7 million were unemployed and in receipt of other benefits such as income support or job seekers allowance. So 2.1 million families are working and yet still need that top up to make their rent payments each month.
This isn't surprising. Minimum wage currently stands at £8.21. If someone was working full time at 30 hours they would make £1067.30 before tax deductions. The average rent on a 3 bedroom house in Liskeard is £650 per month, which is cheap for the rest of the country. In Reading, the average rent for a 3 bed house is £1300...more than the average monthly wage. Council tax is another £112 a month, utilities are another £100 on average, food shop is another £80 per's not hard to see why so many people need that bit of help towards their rent. If both parents are working, you can add childcare costs into the equation, which can cost around £200 per week. So you can see we have a problem here, think of the number of people who would need a guarantor to secure a tenancy.
Working families, families where one parent works and families where noone is employed need to claim housing benefit, which puts a hurdle in place when trying to rent a home.
For the unemployed, things are far more difficult. The amount of tenants in arrears is double the national statistic if the person is claiming the controversial Universal Credit. 2.7 million familes in 2015 (and I believe the figure is around 4 million in 2018), have the added hurdle of needing a guarantor.
I had a friend recently who needed to move due to being overcrowded in her flat. She had to pay more money as a deposit to make up for the fact that she could not get a guarantor. She was very lucky to have the landlord accept a bigger deposit in lieu of a guarantor.
Now, a guarantor is somebody with a good credit rating who is forced to pay your rent should it fall into arrears. Whether the arrears are due to illness, loss of a job or other unforeseeable circumstances, the guarantor will be liable to pay up on your behalf.
I'm not sure about you guys, but no matter how much I trusted someone, no matter how much faith I had in their character and financial stability, I would not be able to predict whether they will be made redundant, or whether they will become sick and unable to work, or whether a relationship breakdown will leave them struggling.
I couldn't afford to be lumped with the bill, which would most likely come after a couple of months of no here in Liskeard that would make me liable to pay £1950! No thanks.
Not that I would be accepted as a guarantor anyway, due to some unwise decisions as an 19 year old who had discovered the joy of online catalogues!
But in the same situation, how could I ask someone to be liable for my debt? I wouldn't want to risk it, so why should I expect a friend or family member to risk it themselves? And just to note that most people who are asked for a guarantor are either unemployed or first time renters.
The unemployed are susceptible to sanctions, to underpayements and to overpayments. So through no fault of their own, their guarantors can be billed.
It's such a shame that the people on low incomes and the people who are unemployed are penalised in this way. It is yet another example of people falling short and failing people in need. Landlords must know how hard it is to secure a guarantor. 79, 800 families were homeless or living in temporary accommodation in 2018. 320, 000 people in total are homeless (according to the charity, Shelter). Surely it is a right for every person to have a home?
Of course there are reasons behind this, we have probably all seen the stories of "tenants from hell" and seen the devastating photographs of the mess and destruction that some tenants can leave behind, on top of rent arrears. According to Property Times, "Ten per cent of all landlords had serious problems with tenant damage to the property. Landlords who let property in the North East of England reported serious problems with tenant damage most frequently (25 per cent) compared to only one per cent in the East of England or four per cent in East Midlands and South West." This means that in general, 90% of landlords have had no issues. 
It must take a person with alot of faith in the tenant to take on the role of guarantor.
I will bring this back around to what the verse meant in the times it was written in, now that we know the role and huge responsibility of a guarantor in the present day. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is deposited in us as a mark of Jesus' faith in us. Jesus, through our faith in him, guarantees our place in heaven, as the ultimate guarantor. He has already been lumped with the bill of our sins and he paid our debt in full.
Jesus is also helping us in a practical way today by inspiring Christians to help people in debt through Christians against Poverty, a charity aimed at providing help, support and debt counselling to anyone who is in debt. If you need help, or would like to donate to CAP, please visit There are Cap debt centres all throughout the UK and they are ready to help.
Shelter is a Christian charity set up to help people who are homeless or facing eviction and need help and support. They give advice on renting, deposits, eviction and benefits. You can find them at if you need help or would like to donate to their cause.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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