Not everyone who moves to Israel is ready to buy property at the outset, or may not know which city and neighborhood they prefer. Renting an apartment allows you to try out different property sizes and locations, making your eventual purchase a more informed one.
That being said, finding an apartment to rent in Israel can feel overwhelming for the uninitiated, and whether you speak Hebrew fluently or not, it is important to know what makes the Israeli rental process unique, like the frustration of seeing a perfect apartment be sold in under 24 hours. In this post, we are going to share our tips for finding rentals, how to deal with owners/landlords, what to look for in a contract, and what expenses you can expect to have.
Where to start looking
Some popular websites for finding apartments are online marketplaces like yad2.co.il and madlan.co.il which have thousands of listings. Also, there is a multitude of Facebook groups dedicated just for renting apartments in all major cities.
What does the apartment include?
Unlike in other countries, you are not guaranteed to have anything but the walls and floors of the unit you purchase, meaning that at worst you could be getting a completely bare apartment. Often, owners are willing to sell their furniture and major appliances for a decent price.
There are a few different types of expenses/taxes you have to pay when you live in an apartment in Israel. An example is arnona, which is a municipality property tax paid by tenants every other month. The amount of arnona you pay is based on the unit’s size, location and the property's use (i.e. residential or commercial). When looking at an apartment, make sure to ask about arnona.
Olim, Lone Soldiers, students and senior citizens are granted a special discount on arnona during one of their first two years in Israel, usually somewhere between 70-90% off. Make sure to check with the municipality to see if you are eligible for these discounts.
If you live in an apartment, you will have to pay Va’ad Bayit fees (“homeowner’s association fees”), which cover the shared expenses of maintaining the building (elevators, stairwell cleaning, common room electricity, etc.)
You’ve finally found the apartment that’s right for you! All that’s left is to sign the contract, but don’t be so quick to sign, at least until you have had a chance to look over it. Ideally, you should let a lawyer or a fluent Hebrew speaking friend read the contract to make sure it is valid.
Here are a few pieces of information you should look for in a contract:
Contract should have the landlord’s full name, ID number and address
The duration of the lease should be specified. Can you sublease?
Is there an option to extend the lease? And if so, will the lease go higher?
Is there a penalty for leaving early?
What kind of guarantee is the landlord requiring?
Bank Guarantee (Arvut Banka’it)- A promise from a bank that if a particular borrower defaults on a loan, the bank will cover the loss
Promissory Note (Shtar Chov)- A signed document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person at a specified date
Security Deposit (Check Bitachon)- Any money that a landlord takes from a tenant other than the advance payment of rent. The security deposit serves to protect the landlord if the tenant breaks or violates the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
Guarantors (Arevim)- An apartment co-signer, or a person that agrees to be legally responsible for the apartment, its condition and the money owed for rent. Landlords want responsible renters, yet often due to history or a lack of experience, it can be especially hard for new immigrants to prove themselves to be trustworthy tenants.
It can be hard to find the perfect rental in Israel by yourself, and while an agent's fee is typically one month's rent, having the right agent on your side is a great way to help you find what you’re looking for. We are happy to provide you with the best service and professionalism to find your new home here. Call us for a free consultation today!
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