Updated: Aug 29, 2021
Nachi Paris, CEO and Senior Broker Ranap Realty LTD
Renting an apartment can be a very intimidating endeavor in Israel. It's best to know the tricks to save money and to avoid getting swindled in a foreign market -- Nachi covers that and more in his guest blog below!
The first thing to know is that renting in Israel is different for the better or for the worse than renting in your native country. So make sure you get professional advice before signing a contract even (in the rare case) when the contract is in English.
Over my 12 years of experience, I can say with certainty that in general Israeli landlords are honest and nice people. It's the few bad apples that give them all a bad name. That said, differences in mannerisms and culture between Israel and most Western countries are vast- you are in the Middle East after all! You have to make sure that the landlord of the apartment you have found is part of the honest majority. The easiest way to do this is to speak (even better to meet in person) with the previous renter. If the landlord says it doesn't matter or that it's none of your business- that's a big red flag. On the other hand, if he says "sure, here is their number"- that is a great sign.
While it isn't a must (and it is another expense) to use a lawyer when renting an apartment here I strongly suggest using one at least the first time you sign a rental contract. Go over the contract with your lawyer and that should help you to know what to look for in future contracts.
Make sure that the landlord is the actual owner of the apartment. There is a government deed website that shows all owners and their ID numbers by address for 15 shekalim per building. So you can check the landlord's ID against the deed. Unfortunately, this website is only in Hebrew so get an Israeli friend to help you look up the building. This will be the best 15 shekalim you spend on your rental! If you are using a lawyer he/she will probably do this before you sign the contract.
Standard damage/security deposit is usually one month's rent for an unfurnished apartment, two months for a furnished apartment, and up to three months for a luxurious, high-end furnished apartment. Anything more than that is a red flag. If the landlord is asking more than that see if you can negotiate him down before you walk away as that might just be his first offer and he might be open to the normal amounts of deposit.
Some tips of what to look for at your viewing of the apartment are as follows: besides the obvious things (# of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor, parking, mierpeset, general condition, price, etc) it's important to check for various other factors.
• Monthly property tax and building fee, as this can vary greatly even if you are moving from a property in the same neighborhood. • Is there a construction site/school/gan/barking dog/ bus stop etc right under the apartment, as these can generate noise pollution that will make it hard to work from home. • Water damage/mold. This is usually easily noticed in the winter but not in the summer. Special attention should be taken to the ground floor and top floor apartments. Don't mistake mold on the ceiling of the shower as water damage as that is most usually the result of condensation and poor ventilation in the bathroom, and can be easily solved. • The closest makolet for that loaf of bread or milk when you need it ASAP.
About the author
For the past 12 years, Nachi has been a Jerusalem real estate broker helping clients purchase, sell & rent residential real estate in Rechavia, Talbeih, Baka, German Colony, Katamon, Katamoniem, Arnona, and Mekor Chaim neighborhoods of Jerusalem. He specializes in full, from A to Z, service. In a previous life, he was the NCSY director in Vancouver from 2006-2009. Prior to that, he was the office manager of the OU Israel center from 2002-2006. He resides in Jerusalem with his wife, Racheli, and eight children. Call him anytime for a free consultation!
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