Ups and downs in tenants' battle over elevator

The Justice Ministry's Joint Housing Supervisor has rejected a petition by one Ra'anana family to stop 12 other families from installing an elevator in their apartment building, reports Supervisor Tali Rahav said the minority in an apartment building was obliged to accept majority decisions, and took the unusual step of ordering the family to pay legal costs of NIS 8,000 as well as NIS 400 in compensation to each of the other families. According to the report, the family has already tried to stymie plans for an elevator in the Rehov Har Sinai building in other ways. It reportedly tried to stop the plans on procedural grounds but failed and has appealed to the Supreme Court, where the case is still to be heard. It also tried and failed to have restraining orders issued. Recently, the family turned to the Joint Housing Supervisor, a bureau that belongs to the Justice Ministry's Land Registration Department, in a plea to stop the plans. In its petition, the family claimed the planned elevator would lower the value of its first-floor apartment because the engines would be located directly under its apartment, in the building's basement. But the 12 other families in the building argued that the elevator would in fact raise the values of all the building's apartments, including those on the first floor. Rahav rejected the family's petition and ordered it to pay legal costs and compensation, saying the 12 other tenants had decided to install a standard elevator in accordance with their permit. She said that while the family believed the elevator would lower the value of the apartment, the rules governing shared buildings "oblige the minority to accept at the end of the day the decision of the majority." Lawyers for the family later said the matter had not ended, with the Supreme Court appeal still pending and with further steps being considered.