The Knesset takes on Criminal Landowners

Renting in Israel can sometimes be analogous to the final scene of Westworld (don’t worry no spoilers). The owners have a lot of power due to a low supply and the renters are left to scramble. Luckily for renters, MK Stav Shaffir’s pet legislation, amendments to the existing renting law, passed its first reading in the Knesset. I thought it might be helpful to open up the Kalpi email account to answer questions about the amendments. These are totally fake emails inspired by completely true stories.

Hey Kalpi, this is the best blog since sliced bread. Anywho, my landlord put up a “For Sale” sign immediately after we moved in. Does this law help with that?    – Gal G.

Hey Gal! Thanks! The law stipulates that the landlord must inform renters of the sale in writing and give the details of the new owners including ways to contact them. (13: 25j)

Kalpi, let me first say that when it comes to blogging, you have got it down. My landlady left much of her stuff in our apartment. I was OK with some of it, but I feel like she should have put away her slippers.    – Avigdor L.

Hi Viggy!  Apartments will need to be empty of all people and items when you move, except for these agreed upon beforehand. (13: 25f (b))

Hi Kalpi, first time writer, long time reader. There was a leak in our apartment in the fortunate position of right over the toilet in the bathroom. We notified the landlord, who took months to fix it ineffectively. What should I do?       – Bibi N.

I can’t believe that I’m on Kalpi! My boyfriend’s apartment was leaking into the apartment below. The landlord sent a handyman to fix the problem so he ripped out the toilet and the shower. But that’s it. Eventually, after repeated complaints for over a month, he was given a key to use a bathroom in an empty place nearby.      – Lance B.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to give us a like on Facebook! Could the problem have been fixed by a non-professional? Was it caused by unreasonable use of the apartment? If not, the owner has 30 days to fix problems after being informed of them. If the problem does not allow reasonable living in the apartment, then they have 3 days. (13: 25g(a-b)) In addition, if an apartment does not have a drainage system, it will be considered unfit for living (addendum, 13:25e1). I was surprised as to how many people had serious drainage issues.

Shakespeare, Hemingway, Kalpi. That’s it. That’s the list. We once had a major mosquito problem in our apartment. We looked around and found that our septic tank was wide open and had become a brothel of sorts for the Jerusalem mosquito community. The landlord told us that all Israelis have open septic tanks, but I was skeptical.       – Tony K.

Thanks for the compliment Tony! Not only are issues within the apartment covered by the law, but the amendment expands the responsibility of the owner of the apartment to problems in area of the apartment as well (3:6b)

All hail Kalpi! (But not in that uncomfortable white supremacist way). My apartment has 3 walls, is that a problem?      – Zahava G.

Alright there Zahava, settle down. Apartments in Israel traditionally have 4 walls dating back to the British Mandate. The new law demands that there be openings for natural light, but it also demands that there be doors and windows for these openings. Technically, it doesn’t say walls, but I’m gonna go ahead here and assume. (addendum, 13:25e3)

Kalpi’s kind of meh. I could beat Golden State with the amount of points you miss. But once I’m writing, I once was handed the keys to an apartment that was littered with holes, marks on the wall and mud. The bomb shelter door wouldn’t close and the bathroom tub was about to collapse.    – Taylor S.

Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate. At least Ashley Simpson did us the favor of lip syncing. Section 5:8 of the law states that any contract condition that exempts the owner from paying for damage is void if the owner did not inform the renter of problems that the owner should have known of beforehand.

Mold!  – Every O.

Good question! It’s unclear to me what the status of large amounts of mold is and if this law effects it. Sorry.


So that’s it (though there were many more stories). Check out the law for yourself (pdf file). There are more goodies in there such as giving the renter more freedom to sublet and extra rights for long term renters. It looks great, though renters will still have trouble taking owners to court for issues as they tend to have less money and knowledge. In addition, the landlord friendly rental market may convince tenants to put up with illegal practices to hold onto an apartment. It may be interesting if the city offers tax breaks for owners who prove to be good landlords, giving them an economic incentive to be on top of their obligations. Kudos to Stav Shaffir for working hard on this. The law passed its first reading unanimously and is headed to committee.

I also want to note that all of my landowners have been fantastic.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in! The follow button on the right of the page works really well. Give us a like on Facebook too!



4 thoughts on “The Knesset takes on Criminal Landowners”

  1. Anyone who rents in Israel knows that pretty much every standard lease begins with “This lease is not protected by the renter’s act of 1978” (or whichever year, I don’t remember). Is there any provision to prevent this law from going the same way, and just becoming another line of the lease, like “The lease will not have any of the provisions applied to it which were thought up by Stav Shapir, at any point”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m not a lawyer so I can’t answer definitively. Some of the provisions in the new law say something like “even if agreed otherwise”. I also imagine that courts may not be so sympathetic to clauses that attempt to cancel laws. Many Israeli contracts also have strict no compete clauses that frequently don’t hold up in court. Just because its written doesn’t mean its legal.


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