(photo credit: Uriel Messa)
The legislative agenda of the 2011 housing protests moved one step closer to becoming law on Monday morning when the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee approved the “fair rental bill.” A final vote has not yet been scheduled.
The bill was originally proposed by Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir, who was a leader of demonstrations in which people pitched tents in parks across the country in protest of high housing prices. She was elected to the Knesset in the subsequent 2013 election and almost immediately put forward her proposal to regulate landlord-renter relations.
The bill states that landlords are responsible for certain repairs in the rental property. If they shirk that responsibility, renters may deduct the cost of repairs from their rent.
Another provision of the bill stipulates that landlords may not demand a guarantee of more three months’ rent.
The bill also defines a livable home: It must not cause unreasonable risks to the safety or health of a tenant; it must have working electricity, lighting and sewage; and it must have openings for air.
The current version of Shaffir’s legislation was drafted with MK Roy Folkman of Kulanu.
Shaffir called the bill “a revolution that will, for the first time, grant certainty and security to two million people,” adding, “I’m proud and excited to lead this revolution. Regulated fair rules to the game in the rental market is one of the most important foundations of soling the housing crisis in Israel.”
Folkman said the bill was part of a broader plan to stabilize the rental market in Israel.
“The bill will change the reality for owners and tenants.” he said. “Rented apartments are not seen as an alternative to buying today, because of an unstable and unregulated market.”