Don’t be the one caught off-guard by apartment scams.
8 valuable tips for landlords and tenants in Jerusalem and how to avoid scams!
1. Go visit
If you can ask a trusted friend or family member to go visit the apartment before you pay it will save you a headache down the road if it is not in accordance with what you thought.
2. Just like Amazon..
An established rental agency will have reviews or testimonials that have the names of clients as references. They may not divulge all the information as clients may want to stay anonymous. Ask if any have left their contact details so you can inquire.
3. The big surprise
Be aware that in Israel for rentals above 2 weeks you may need to factor in an electricity charge which is calculated according to consumption. This however should not be a big charge however sometimes in the summer or winter months when the tenant forgets to switch off air-conditioners or heating this can be a costly exercise. The landlord may stipulate that electricity is covered up to 250 NIS per month. This is a clause that protects the landlord from abuse by tenants. For long term rentals, in general, you would need to account for utilities (electricity, water, gas if any), Arnona (municipal taxes: the amount varies according to the size of the property) and Vaad Bayit (building maintenance: this cost can be expensive if it is a new building with amenities such as security 24/7, pool, gym).
4. Do this last minute and you’ll get $$$
To save on costs it may be possible to negotiate good prices on last minute inquiries. This is not a guarantee but landlords will be open to offers. The risk in this is that the apartment you have kept your eye on will be gone.
5. Market everywhere
For the landlord to make sure that an agent takes good pictures and markets the property on a number of sites. Many landlords in Israel might use a website like Yad Shteim but they are limiting there market to Israelis mostly but there are many different websites that bring in clients from all over. A majority of our clients come from the U.S. and Canada yet we have inquiries from Australia, South Africa the UK, France and Europe in general. Make sure that the agents use a number of websites in their marketing.
6. Don’t be fooled
Be aware of agents putting the price above 50% of their commission. The standard should be 10% to 20% + Vat commission for short term rentals depending if the property is managed by the agent or not. For long term rentals (1 year), standard agency fee is 1 month rent + VAT. A good agent will market the property to a large audience and will use marketing to attract other potential clients as well as a broad network of other agents in the industry.
7. Secure yourself
Exclusive arrangements can be better for everyone. This Sukkot for example 14 out of 14 of our exclusive apartments whom we also manage have been rented out. This includes apartments with or without a Sukkah. An exclusive arrangement allows the agent to put full focus on that apartment and invest in it by adding it in numerous media as well as sharing with other brokers in the field.
8. Extra services
Since we also manage our exclusive apartments this would be of help when the tenants want a crib for example. We can use one of our cribs from one apartment and move them to another if they are not being in use. This saves the landlord costs. In addition we make sure the apartment is in good shape for example to make sure the air conditioner or fridge is in good working order. We will buy whatever is needed and usually shop around for what is needed.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.tzion-apartments.com or call Tal on 058 600 1404