10 Things You Should Never Ask Your Israeli Landlord​

3 min read
Alva Yaffe
Alva Yaffe

If you’re living in Tel Aviv, there’s a 99.9-percent chance you’re renting an apartment. And that means you have a landlord.

Here are some things you should never ask him or her.

1. “Can you lower the rent?”

Yes, you’re probably paying too much for your tiny and/or old apartment. But there’s always someone else ready to move in tomorrow and pay even more.

2. “Can I do Airbnb?”

Landlords don’t want you to make a profit from their business. Especially if they’re Israeli, they’re going to take the business opportunity themselves. So don’t give them any ideas … or you might have to move out next month.

3. “Can you reserve the apartment for me?”

If there’s anything your landlord will never do, it’s reserving the apartment for you. It’s always first-come, first-serve. If you like the place, you have to act fast. Chances are there’s a line of people waiting to see the apartment with a check already in their hands.

4. “Are dogs allowed?”

The truth is, if there’s nothing written in the lease contract specifically about pets, just don’t ask. And if they ask if you have a dog, just say it’s really small and quiet.

5. “Can I see the blueprints? I want to know if the Arnona is correct.”

Don’t be a stickler. Almost all square footage is rounded up and it’s no big deal. (The price of Arnona is calculated according to the size of the apartment.)

But don’t even try asking your landlord. They’ll either ignore your request or just laugh at you.

6. “Can you spray the apartment for cockroaches?”

Good luck with this! Most landlords don’t care. Cockroaches flock to apartments like cats flock to garbage cans. They’re everywhere. So they’ll just tell you to buy some bug repellent or use your shoe.

7. “I was gone for half the month, can you reimburse me?”

Yes, it sucks to pay rent for an empty apartment. But it takes חוצפה to ask something like that. Which makes you Israeli. But an Israeli landlord has more חוצפה than you, and will tell you why it’s a ridiculous thing to ask.

8. “Can you put bug screens on the windows?”

Ever notice how most buildings lack screens on their windows? Everything comes into the apartment: bugs, birds, dust. It sucks, but your landlord has no interest in your dislike for bugs flying in. You have to suck it up. Unfortunately.

9. “Can you paint the walls?”

Your apartment is likely not freshly painted and the walls are dirty with tons of holes. But your landlord is not going to paint it for you. Most contracts say the painting is your responsibility. So if you like clean walls, take it into account that it’s on you.

10. “These floor tiles are from the 70s. Can we update the flooring to this decade?”

Most Tel Aviv apartments are old. And that means that the flooring is likely outdated and tiles are different in each room. As ugly as it is, your landlord will never invest in aesthetics. It’s wishful thinking!


Alva Yaffe is a content writer and creator. She made Aliyah from Toronto in 2013. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and daughter and enjoys almost every minute of it.

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