Property Rental in Israel

Property rental in Israel is not terribly complicated, but does come with some aspects that may be unfamiliar. In this article, we’ll try to give you all the information about what is different, and what to lookout for.

Property Description – When looking for a rental, the description includes the number of bedrooms plus the living area. A five-room apartment has 4 bedrooms. A two-room apartment has one bedroom. The number of bathrooms, the kitchen, and other areas are mentioned separately. The entry-level floor is numbered zero, with the first floor being one flight up from the entry level. There is more information about property descriptions in the Buying Property article.

Ownership – To be safe, you may want to verify that the person or people renting the property are the legal owners of the property. The Israel Land Registry (known as the Tabu), can verify details of ownership if you provide the names(s) of the owner(s), Israeli national ID number(s), and block, parcel, and sub-parcel numbers of the property. If you are using an attorney or agent, they can perform this verification for you. When renting property owned by more than one person, it is important to have all owners sign the agreement, to avoid problems from a divorce or other situation where one or more of the owners is not in agreement.

Utilities – Electricity, water, gas, telephone, television, and Internet fees are usually the responsibility of the tenant.

Arnona – The municipal tax known as Arnona is generally paid by the tenant, and is not mentioned in the rental price. This tax, based on apartment size, location, and building type, can be a significant amount. It may be best to inquire about the Arnona rate, and get the information in writing or get a copy of the recent bill. As the tenant, you will need to bring a copy of the lease to the local municipal authority to get the Arnona account registered in your name. This is especially important if you are eligible for any discount based on new Oleh status, etc.

Vaad Bayit – Multi-unit buildings often have a Vaad Habayit (house committee) to administer cleaning, maintenance, utilities, and other matters related to common areas. The Vaad administers the budget, and apartment dwellers contribute their share of the budget. This amount, often paid monthly, is usually the responsibility of the tenant, not the owner of the apartment. It is another charge that it is wise to get in writing, as the lease usually makes it your responsibility, but without specifying the amount. Occasionally, the Vaad Bayit must make a special collection, such as for a major roof repair. It is wise to make sure that such special collections remain the responsibility of the apartment owner.

Painting – Many Israel property rental leases include a clause requiring the tenant to paint the property interior at the end of the lease period if it is not renewed. This end-of-lease painting can include making ay repairs needed to complete the painting, so if something occurs that is not your responsibility during the tenancy, it is important to get the property owner to address it promptly, or at least to exempt it in writing from end-of-lease repair.

Appliances – Major appliances, such as refrigerator, oven, and cooktop are not often in ‘unfurnished’ rentals. A clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher are also subject to inclusion or exclusion. It is important to confirm exactly what appliances are included, and also to clarify who is responsible for any repairs needed to appliances that are supplied. It is important to have this in writing, and also to know how to get repairs done if the property owner is responsible, but lives outside Israel.

Security – Israel property rentals often require one or more of the following types of financial guarantee: A personal check to the property owner, dated for the lease expiration date; a promissory note signed by yourself and up to two guarantors (with local pay stubs to prove income); a bank guarantee. The custom of paying 1 or 2 months’ rent in advance as a security deposit is not common in Israel property rentals.

There are a number of details that need to be understood, and are best to have in writing. These include:

  • Rental amount, rental period, renewal options, payment schedule, and acceptable payment methods/currencies.
  • Rental purpose (business or residential), owner’s rights to enter premises, and insurance.
  • Inventory of furnishing and appliances, return of securities, tenant/landlord maintenance obligations.

If you are thinking about renting property in Israel, we can put you in touch with Olim who are in your target location, and professionals who can guide you and offer advice and services in law, real estate, finance, and other topics.

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