Shivat Zion

Apartment Rental

Haskarat Dira
השכרת דירה
Last updated: 19.2.24
A quick guide through the process of finding and renting an apartment in Israel.

Where to Look for Rental Advertisements?

The following sites (in Hebrew) Yad2, Nadlan, Madlan, Komo are a good place to start. You can use Google Translate for help. Select location, number of required rooms, etc. from the menu to see appropriate properties.

In Israel, Facebook is a popular platform for finding rentals. Search for “Rent in [city name]” or “Sublet in [city name]” (for short-term rentals) in Facebook’s search bar, and join relevant groups. Both Hebrew and English language groups are available for major cities.

To join WhatsApp rental groups, you need an invitation link from an already existing member.

Ask friends or acquaintances familiar with these groups in your desired city for an invitation link and join.

This is always an option, but you will have to pay an agent’s fee. The accepted fee for rentals in Israel is usually equal to one month’s rent.

Israeli newspapers can also be a good source for rental ads. In addition, some cities have local magazines rich in rental advertisements. Try to find out if your desired city or area has such a magazine and review the ads there.

In Israel, the number of advertised rooms is the total of bedrooms plus the living room, excluding kitchens and bathrooms. For example, a “five room” listing means four bedrooms and one living/dining area. A kitchen/kitchenette exists of course, but mostly it will not be mentioned as a room and the number of bathrooms is stated separately. A “half room” refers to a smaller room without a window.

Mandatory Bills for Renters

Other than monthly rental fees to the landlord, renters are required to make the following payments:

In Israel, Arnona and utility bills are due every two months, so plan your budget accordingly.

In some cities or smaller communities, a security tax is added to the Arnona.

Many buildings in Israel have a Va’ad Bayit that is responsible for the maintenance of the building and its common areas. The fee for the Va’ad Bayit is monthly and contributes to these costs.

Members of the Va’ad Bayit can be elected by the residents, but often they volunteer. If you wish to be part of the Va’ad, ask the existing members.

Many people in Israel prefer to use their cellular phones at home too. A landline is not required. However, some communication companies offer a landline in a bundle that also includes internet and television services.

In general, all the above bills need to be paid by the renter, however, with some housing units (often within a free-standing house), partial bills may be included in the monthly rental fee paid to the owner.

In general, the landlord is responsible for structure maintenance and repairs, including electricity or plumbing malfunctions. This is as long as the damage is due to normal usage or aging of infrastructure. If the renter caused the damage, then the renter must pay for repair.

Note: Any repairs or improvements to the building are usually the responsibility of the owner.

TIP: Despite the landlord being responsible for maintenance, the renter may be asked to be present when repairs take place in the property. Only agree if this is convenient for you, you are not obligated to miss work for the landlord’s required repairs.

TIP-2: The landlord may ask you to pay for the repairs now and he will reimburse you later, or ask you to deduct the repair cost from next month’s rent. Only agree if this is convenient for you.

When renting a property with a garden or yard, your lease should stipulate who is responsible for its upkeep. If the apartment is furnished or includes electrical appliances such as a refrigerator, washing machine etc., refer to the lease to understand who is responsible for repairs. Most rental leases stipulate that the property must be returned to the landlord in the condition in which you received it. You may have to paint the property before you leave, and fill any holes left by hanging art or mirrors. If the property was not painted before you move in, you are not required to return it painted.

Although the owner of the property must have insurance on the structure of the property, this insurance does not cover the renter’s possessions. Therefore, it is the renter’s responsibility to insure their possessions in case of damage or theft. It is also recommended to include third-party damage insurance for the duration of your lease.

A new Oleh can receive some financial aid for rent for up to five years, starting from the 8th month after Aliyah. The amount of this benefit is calculated according to government criteria. Click here for more information (In Hebrew).

Prices vary widely between cities, making it difficult to estimate a general rate per room or property size. Cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv tend to have the highest rental prices, while rentals in the peripheral areas of northern and southern Israel are usually less expensive.
Check other rental listings to gauge prices in your desired area.

In Israel, a standard rental contract is for one year, after which you can usually extend it. If not specified, assume a minimum lease of one year. If you need a shorter rental, consider taking over someone else’s lease, or subletting.

Note: It is common that the rental fee increases after one year, unless specified otherwise in the contract.

Advertised rental fees may be negotiable with the landlord. If you want a lease longer than one year, the landlord may agree to a lower monthly rent in exchange for a longer commitment.

Rental contracts in Israel often include an “Optzia” (option) clause. This means renters can extend their stay in the property – with the same monthly rent and conditions – for an additional year after their first year of rental. Note this may be legally binding phrasing.

Ensure your lease agreement includes a clause allowing you to vacate the property before the end of the lease term. Without this provision, you may be required to pay rent until the lease expires even if you no longer wish to live in the property.

TIP: Pay attention to how much advance notice you need to give the landlord regarding extending or leaving at the end of the lease.

Often the title of a rental lease will state that the rental contract is “unprotected” – חוזה שכירות בלתי מוגנת – or refer to the property as an “unprotected property.” Do not be concerned by this phrase, it is only legal language which means that the renter cannot squat in the apartment. At the end of the lease term, the renter must either extend the lease or move out.

TIP: Sign two copies of the contract with the landlord. Ensure both his and your signatures appear on both copies. You will need your copy to actualize your address at Misrad Hapnim and receive your Oleh Chadash Arnona discount, etc.

Most rental leases require a full year’s rent paid in advance, in the form of 12 post-dated monthly checks, at the time the lease is signed. The checks must be signed and delivered prior to moving into the property. Some landlords may request other payment arrangements, such as six payments of two months rent each, etc. In addition, it is common for landlords to request a blank, signed, and undated security check, which they can use in the case of significant damage to the apartment after it has been vacated.

It has become common practice for renters to sign a Shtar Chov – שטר חוב – promissory note (alone or with other guarantors) instead of a security check. This is a legally binding document, so it is advisable to seek legal advice before signing.

TIP: Most Israeli rentals are paid in New Israeli Shekels (NIS). Some landlords may accept payment in US Dollars or Euros.

It is advisable to verify the identity of the property owner before signing the rental lease. This can be done using the Israel Land Registry website, also Tabu – טאבו by inserting the landlord’s full name and Teudat Zehut number, and the property’s Block, Parcel, and Sub-Parcel number. You may choose to do this on your own or with the assistance of a friend or lawyer.

TIP: Keep in mind, some landlords may object or consider this process unnecessary, but it is your right to do so if you so choose.

It is advisable to have a lawyer review your rental contract before signing it to ensure that the lease is legally binding and in line with Israeli laws and regulations. Having a lawyer review the contract can help protect your rights and avoid potential disputes in the future.