In Israel, most rental properties are typically unfurnished, unlike many other countries. Limiting your search to furnished options may significantly reduce the available choices. However, furnished apartments can still be found, albeit at a higher cost.
Landlords often require substantial guarantees to secure the contract and the apartment, especially for tenants who are new Olim (immigrants to Israel) without local income. Common types of guarantees include:
- Cash deposit: Typically 2-3 months' rent, held directly by the landlord.
- Bank guarantee: The bank issues a guarantee by either freezing the specified amount in your account or charging a higher fee without any deposit.
- Guarantor: A person who vouches for your fulfillment of the contract.
It is also essential to have a checkbook for monthly payments and advance securities. Otherwise, you may encounter difficulties in finding a property or be required to pay rent several months in advance.
Tenants are usually responsible for paying all utilities. It is important to transfer all utility bills into your name as soon as you enter the property.
D. Unprotected Tenancy Agreement
Every rental agreement includes a clause stipulating that you are obligated to vacate the apartment at the end of the lease term, without any inherent right to continue residing in the unit or pass the tenancy on to family members.
E. Fair Rent Act
All residential long-term rentals are subject to the Fair Rent Act, regardless of any contradictory clauses in the contract. For instance, the lessor is responsible for repairing reasonable wear and tear, even if the contract assigns that responsibility to the tenant.
F. Luxury Properties
Luxury apartments, with monthly rents of 20,000 NIS or more, are not subject to the Fair Rent Act. Therefore, it is crucial to pay close attention to the contract terms when renting such properties.
Now, let's delve deeper into the step-by-step process of renting a property in Israel.
When choosing the perfect location to live, consider the following factors:
- Weather and environment: Determine if you prefer mountains or proximity to the beach.
- Public transportation and traffic: Decide whether immediate access to buses and trains or the convenience of driving your own car is more important.
- Occupation: Take into account the location of your job and the commute time you are willing to tolerate.
- Schools and community: Consider the social environment in which you want your child(ren) to grow up, such as living in a neighborhood with other English speakers, a religious community, or a secular one.
- Relatives and friends: If applicable, living near relatives or close friends can provide occasional support during your early months in Israel.
- Future plans: Renting in the area where you plan to buy property allows you to become familiar with the location before making a long-term commitment.
Establish a budget that aligns with your financial capabilities and suits the area you are interested in. Take into account ongoing payments such as Arnona (land tax), Va'ad habayit (tenants committee fees), and utilities (gas, electricity, water).
While many apartments can be found online, it is important to note that a significant portion of English listings, even on Israeli websites, may be outdated or unavailable. A reliable agent can help you find real and available options, saving you time and reducing frustration. Consider enlisting the services of a reputable agent who can negotiate on your behalf.
Most rental contracts are in Hebrew, but you can request a second version in your native language or opt for professional translation services. It is crucial to review the contract carefully with your agent or a knowledgeable real estate lawyer to ensure compliance with rental laws. Luxury properties may have additional clauses outside the scope of the Fair Rent Act.
5. Option to Extend
Some contracts include an option to extend the rental period for an additional year before the initial term expires. If you are granted this option, ensure that it is one-sided and binding on the landlord without limitations. Also, confirm that the rent amount for the next year is specified.
6. Payment and Guarantees
Rent is typically paid monthly in advance. Most landlords require 12 postdated checks for the rental period, which serve as either a deposit or a guarantee. Additional checks may be required for security purposes. Serious guarantees may be necessary for new Olim or expensive rental properties. According to the law, the landlord must return all guarantees within 60 days after the end of the rental period unless specified otherwise in the contract.
7. Moving In
Schedule the move-in date with the landlord in advance to avoid any surprises. Take note of water and electricity meters and ensure that the apartment matches the agreed-upon terms, including furniture, appliances, cleanliness, and paint condition. Transfer all bills into your name promptly, usually within seven days, as stated in the contract.
Effective communication with your landlord or a reliable intermediary is essential in addressing any issues or repairs that may arise during your tenancy. While the lessor is responsible for reasonable wear and tear, ongoing maintenance and specific repairs are typically the tenant's responsibility.
9. Consider Buying
If feasible, consider purchasing a property. Even with non-local income, it is possible to obtain a mortgage. Property prices in Israel tend to increase continuously, so delaying a purchase may result in significant additional expenses in the long run. For assistance, contact Sabras.
10. Moving Out
Ensure all bills are settled before moving out, leaving no debts behind. Return the property in the same condition as received, including any necessary cleaning or painting. Schedule a final property tour with the landlord to address any concerns and ensure a smooth departure.
Learning some Hebrew in advance can be beneficial, both for better understanding your surroundings and for creating a positive connection with the locals. Resources such as language-learning apps, private tutors, or audio courses can help you acquire basic language skills before your arrival.
Good luck! If you require assistance, Sabras is ready to help make your dreams of finding a home in Israel a reality.