You recently purchased a home in Israel and want to rent it out, either for the short- or long-term.
Here are some practical tips:
Finding Trustworthy Tenants
By far the easiest way to find renters is to have a realtor show your home to prospective tenants. Generally, the owner and the tenant each pay the realtor a fee – a month’s rent plus 17% Value Added Tax.
Those wishing to avoid paying a realtor’s fee can advertise on their own via the multitude of facebook groups or websites for people looking to find an apartment.
Most towns, cities and settlements have a local Facebook page that accept apartment rental ads. Communities with active English-language Facebook pages include Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in, Gush Etzion, and Ma’aleh Adumin.
Have Your Real Estate Lawyer Write a Contract
While Israeli property law tends to favor the landlord, it’s vital to have a lawyer draw up a contract that protects both landlord and tenant.
Some important factors to consider:
The amount of rent and method of payment. Many Israeli landlords request signed, post-dated checks for the length of the contract when rent is due.
A security deposit and/or guarantors. Note that your tenant may not be able to find people willing to serve as guarantors, so make sure the security deposit is adequate.
Who pays for what. Usually the tenant pays all municipal taxes, utilities and a monthly vaad bayit fee that covers the building’s gardening costs and cleaning the lobby and stairwell. The landlord is expected to pay infrastructure repairs (for example, solar and electric heaters, plumbing, painting the building’s common areas) unless the contract explicitly states otherwise.
An inventory list of every single item in the apartment and its condition accompanied by photos taken in the presence of the tenant. Also, provide a maximum time frame during which any repairs will be addressed.
Hire Someone to Manage Your Property
Unless you live very close to your rental home, finding a property manager will save you a lot of headaches and ensure that your tenants receive the prompt service they are entitled to.
Considerations related to hiring a property manager include proximity to your home, experience, references from other clients and price.
Before hiring a manager, determine exactly what services they will provide, especially during an emergency like a broken water pipe, and within what time frame. If the repair isn’t made within a reasonable period as defined by the contract, tenants may feel compelled to hire a repair person and withhold what they spent on that repair from their monthly rent payment.
Property managers also manage empty apartments. They usually charge a flat fee that includes regular visits to the home to check that everything is in order and to take in the mail. Expect to pay extra if you want your manager to stock your fridge before you visit, or to wait at your home while a cleaner cleans or a painter paints.
While being a landlord in Israel from afar can be challenging, tackling the logistics from the start will protect your investment.