Court to Tenants: No Repairs? No Rent

YERUSHALAYIM -
(Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A new ruling by a Petach Tikvah court spells good news for tenants of apartments that are in need of major repairs or maintenance that the landlord refuses to provide: Renters are off the hook from paying, even if they have a current lease.

The case surrounded a lawsuit by a landlord whose tenant refused to pay rent, with a total of NIS 20,000 owed. The tenant refused to pay because of an ongoing problem that was not fixed – a roof that leaked and partially collapsed, causing major flooding in the apartment. The flooding damaged the tenant’s furniture and personal possessions, and the tenant and his family were forced to move out and take refuge with friends and family.

Meanwhile, the landlord continued cashing the rent checks the tenant had submitted. The tenant demanded NIS 63,408 in damages, and canceled uncashed checks in order to reclaim some of his money. In its decision, the court said that the tenant was within his rights to cancel the checks, and was awarded NIS 15,400 in pain and suffering payments. Attorneys for the tenants said that the case was a precedent, and that in its decision the court made clear that it would rule in the same way on similar cases in the future.