Eretz Yisrael Time

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Saturday, July 21, 2007
Here is an interesting story.

My brother-in-law rents a home in a Chareidi neighborhood (probably because he is Chareidi). He lives there with his wife and 5 children. His landlord decided she wants them out.

Her first step was raising the rent. But as much as it hurt, he agreed. It’s not easy finding apartments in their neighborhood.

Next she claimed he owed her money and refused to pay. They had made a deal that he would install bars on the windows and it would be reduced from the rent.

Then she simply told them to get out, and decided to take them to Beit Din to get them to comply.

It should be noted that they are good tenants and keep the house in good condition. She even admitted that. She just claims she doesn’t like them and want to continue renting it out to anyone else.

So they went to the Beit Din, and first off, the landlord claimed they owed her rent money as the bars could only cost a hundred shekels each.

My sister-in-law pulled out the receipts that showed that bars cost at around 300-400 shekels each (which is about the cheapest price you can get in Israel).

So first of all, the court determined that the landlord owed my brother-in-law 500 shekel which she have need to pay (and not the other way around).

Then the court determined that if she planned to continue to rent out the apartment, and if they were willing to pay the rent, and were good tenants, then they had “first rights” to continue to live there - and it wasn’t right to kick out a family of 7 people for absolutely no tangible reason.

And finally, since she claimed her problem is that she simply didn’t like them on a personal level, the court said they (the court) would now be managing the property. The court would collect the rent and transfer it to the landlord and she needn’t interact with her tenants at all.

It’s an interesting and scary decision all at the same time.

Comments & Reactions anyone?


Rafi G. said...

why scary? it sounds like they came out in favor of your brother in law. She was completely out of place according to the way you describe it and the decision supported that....

JoeSettler said...

1. That I as a landlord (if I were one) could not decide that at the end of a lease I want different tenants.

2. That the Beit Din can take control of my own property away from me.

Having said that, it is a good decision for my B-i-L, especially since he spent the past month looking for where to move into without success, and now he doesn't have to pay for moving either.

Mikeage said...

In many places, secular law grants the right to current tenants to renew their lease, provided the property will be rented. Only if they decline, or if there's cause to remove them, or if the landlord decides not to rent at all can the landlord look for other tenants.

Regarding the second, it's completely halakhic in the sense of hefker b"d hefker, but I'm surprised to see a b"d use that these days

Rafi G. said...

I am not sos ure they are using the concept of hefker bes din hefker. To me it sounds like they are offering to be the middlemen. She claims her sole problem is she does not like dealing with these people even though they pay and are reasonable. It is a personality thing. So the bes din says if you cannot collect directly because you do not like seeing the guy, we will be happy to do it for you...

Am I wrong?

Ben Bayit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Bayit said...

Under Israeli civil law her position would probably have been considered unreasonable had she been refusing to allow a sub-let. As a matter of fact, Israeli civil law allows the tenant to act unilateraly in this instance even if it against what's in the contract if it is a real estate rental. when it's the rental of non-real property the law gives the court jurisdiction to act but the renter can't act unilaterally. So in that respect, the dayan in this case was being more conservative than the law (should this law be applied to the instance of a lease renwal for an existing tenant and not just the issue of a sub-let) in the fact that for real property he was demanding that the court be the one to act and not leave it at the whim of the tenant. There have been judges who have implied that they are willing to even extend the unreasonableness clause in the rental law to an initial rental and not just to sublets as the letter of law indicates. this would lead me to believe that they would certainly apply it to lease renewal's where it's clear the owner wants to continue leasing out the property.

Read section 22 of the rental law.

Anonymous said...

The party of the first part, and the party of the second part, have unilaterally determined that we understand neither part of what you wrote, and maybe you might be a good lawyer after all.

I think though this is an initial rental, not a sub-let. And it was the whim of the landlord that was in question.

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