Housing Upgrade Permits Now a Matter of Weeks, Not Years

YERUSHALAYIM -
Buildings glow before sundown on a Tel Aviv street near the sea. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

To cut bureaucracy, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has signed into law an order that will make it easier for homeowners to make changes and upgrade their homes. According to the order, local authorities, planning boards and any other body responsible for approving home improvement projects must do so within 45 days.

Until now, regulations required that homeowner improvements to the exterior of houses had to wait until boards that regulate such matters convened. A part of the process of granting permits for home improvements is providing an opportunity for members of the community to register opposition to the changes, a process that could take months, if not years, as the homeowner might be required to submit alternate plans to accommodate the concerns of neighbors. Often, boards would simply sit on requests, causing a lengthy amount of time to pass before work could actually get done. Unless an approval was granted, the request was considered denied.

Under the new rules, requests for construction improvements will be considered approved if a homeowner has not received a response within 25 days. An additional 20 days must pass for community members to voice opposition; if none do, the project is considered automatically approved.

The new rules apply to building jobs that will add 25 square meters or less to a home, or add a terrace or another feature. Among the most common scenarios where the law is expected to apply is regarding enclosing porches in order to create a new room in an apartment.