Renting in Israel

Renting in Israel….

When moving to Israel many people decide to rent a property before purchasing. This makes sense and has a number of advantages. It allows you to become familiar with a specific neighborhood whilst keeping your options open, giving you time to visit other cities or locations and perhaps more importantly it allows you to take the time to shop around for your dream home.
So here are some pointers and FAQs to consider when renting. For further questions about renting (or buying) in Israel, feel free to email me at simon@seitzlaw.net.

1. Do I really need a legal representation for a simple rental contract?

The answer is YES, YES and YES. All too often Tenants approach my office requesting legal representation after signing a contract that had not been reviewed by an attorney. In many cases legal representation at the time of negotiating the contract would have prevented a problem from arising. Unfortunately some landlords try to take advantage of potential Tenants and only a competent attorney will be able to review the contract to ensure it includes the essential terms and conditions to protect you, accommodate your needs and consider your rights.

2. Rental- most rental fees are paid in NIS.

If the landlord lives abroad and your income or bank account is in his currency it may make sense to pay him locally, this will save fees on exchange rates. Rental may be paid on a monthly, quarterly or even half annual basis- this is subject to negotiation between the parties; a competent attorney will assist in these negotiations.

3. Rental period.

It is worthwhile trying to secure an option. An option grants the Tenant the right to extend the rental contract for a further period. In most cases the remaining terms and conditions of the original contract remain the same. Some landlords will grant an option but provide that during the option period the rental fee may be increased by an agreed amount. Again a competent attorney will assist in this process.

4. Security

In consideration for letting an apartment the landlord is within his rights to demand security to ensure performance of the rental contract. There are no hard and fast rules and the final form of the security is subject to negotiation. Security may be in the form of any of the following:
a. A cash deposit into the landlord’s client account.
b. A promissory note.
c. Cheques made out to the Water Company, Gas Company, and local municipality – in the event utilities are left unpaid these cheques may be used to cover the debt.
d. A guarantor.

5. The condition of the apartment and its furnishings.

When negotiating the contract ensure any agreed furnishings are included in the rental contract. Upon receipt of keys make a list of any defective furnishings or other faulty items and ensure the landlord signs the piece of paper. It would also be good practice to make a photographic record of the apartment in the condition it was received.

6. Repairs.

As a general the landlord is liable to fix any structural faults in the property as well as anything that has become defective through normal wear and tear. It xan be difficult for a tenant who needs to make a repair and is unable to contact the landlord or his representative for permission. In order to facilitate this it is essential that a competent lawyer drafts a carefully worded clause into the rental contract, which, in specific cases allows the tenant to make the necessary repairs and offset the expenditure from the rental.The above represents a quick summary of some of the issues you need to be aware of when renting property in Israel.

This article has been re-printed with the kind permission of Simon Seitz at www.seitzlaw.net