The real estate sector in Israel in general – and individual apartment owners in particular – has continued to see an increase in the number of obstinate tenants who do not pay any rent and who also refuse to vacate their apartments. For this reason, many landlords were looking forward to the amendments brought to real estate law by Daniel Friedmann, the former justice minister. Although they were designed to protect landlords by speeding up the process of evicting tenants and suing for rent owed, they have had little effect in deterring this type of tenant.

The Effect of the Friedmann Amendments

Until late 2008, Israeli real estate laws only allowed a landlord to take action against a tenant within 30 days of the tenant moving into their house or apartment. After this 30-day period had elapsed, the landlord’s only recourse was to sue for eviction of the tenant and to receive any rent money they were owed. This entire process could take as long as 2 years, during which time the tenant would often squat in the home rent-free. The Friedmann amendments were enacted in December 2008, aimed at reducing the time it took for eviction suits to be processed to a mere 60 days.

Eviction Procedures

However, the new procedures contain loopholes that landlords should be aware of: After the court issues an eviction order, a landlord cannot just call the police to remove the tenant from their house; they must make an application to the Bailiff’s office first. This is a lengthy and costly procedure. Upon eviction of a tenant, the landlord must then pay for removal and storage of the tenant’s belongings, a police escort and even the cost of a vet if the tenant keeps pets.

Receiving Compensation for Money Owed

It is important that, before landlords take up tenants, they should have a secondary address, such as a workplace or place of business. This is because, despite the shorter time it takes to evict a tenant through the above procedure, the suit is only with regard to their eviction. They will have to take the tenant to court again, after their eviction, for payment of any rent or utility bills owed.