Saturday, November 26, 2005

Never Rent When You Can Buy

As part of the big move to Ra'anana, Bryan and I embarked on 2 more mini-adventures, which have made our aliyah far more complete.

The first Adventure: Subletting our apartment (in our language) or "Trying to break our lease" (as the landlord put it).

I figured this would be very simple - we had no trouble finding someone to assume 6 months of our lease, and there was a definite clause in our contract about allowing someone to assume our lease if we had to leave.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Israeli landlord. I assume that many of you already have, so you'll understand what I'm talking about. With no regard for the law, even less regard for people and with $$$ signs in his eyes, the Israeli landlord is a breed unlike any you've ever met in the old country. Our landlord is actually native French, and he has been thus far the worst landlord I have ever had.

We called the LL as soon as we knew we were definitely moving, and when we had a vague idea that it woulnd't be too hard to find a new tenant. His immediate response was to accuse me of lying, saying that I knew in advance we were going to be leaving, but was only telling him now. I pointed out that if that were the case, would I have enrolled in school in Jerusalem, requiring the purchase of a car and 1-hour commute each way? Would Bryan and I have spruced up the apartment, springing for all kinds of repairs the dear landlord wouldn't?

I think I got the point across, and then the LL started on 'if you would have told me Bryan didn't have a job and you were in school when you moved in I would never had let you have the apartment because you're unreliable'. I'm not sure what difference that makes...for all he knows we are retired quabillionaires at the age of 30 and anyway, we've never been a second late with the rent (he had 12 head checks, so we couldn't have if we wanted to, plus 2 months cash deposit, plus guarantors, plus a shtar hov - a surety bond).

Anyway, with those rants out of the way he started listing his "requirements" for subletters: No singles, no roomates, no unmarried couples living together, no homosexuals, no tourists who would be likely to leave after finishing our lease, etc. I explained to him that although he considers all of the above "unreliable" tenants, the risk to be assumed was ours - we were willing to stay on the lease and simply sublet the apartment. But the LL didn't care about that. He said he'd have to think about it for 2 days.

Then we found a woman who was quite keen on subletting, so much so that even though she knew about the crazy landlord, she still wanted our place. I called the LL up, and let him know we had someone stable, her cousin is a good friend of ours, etc. After yelling at me for not giving him his full 48 hours to think he said he'd spoken with some buddies and his demand was this: He would "allow" us to bring in a subletter, IF the the subletter agreed right now to not only finish out our contract but to add an extra year onto the lease. Basically he wanted to better his situation at our expense. He said that when we met with him the first time we told him we were likely to stay in the place for more than one year if all went well, and he had chosen us out of all the available tenants for that reason, and now he was going to have to find a new tenant come June, because we were irresponsible and LIED to him about staying in one place for more than one year. I told him that the way he was treating us, even if we weren't moving to Ra'anana we would be leaving come June.

Anyway, he went on and on, while I sat and fumed. The next morning I called our lawyer who told me that it was totally illegal, both the tacking on of the extra year and his refusal to allow us to sublet to some of his "undesirable" subgroups. We decided to see what a phonecall from our lawyer could do, but before we even got the chance, the LL called to say he'd spoken to a lawyer who told him he was being a bit harsh (and illegal) so he said he would be willing to meet interested parties.

We've come far enough - the woman who was originally interested will be taking the place. She lied to the LL and told him she would seriously consider re-signing at the end of June - except she knows she's leaving the country. Good for him, he'll have to look for a new tenant without any help of ours. Of course, his new "requirement" is that not only do we have to stay on the lease, not get our cash deposit back and not get our head checks returned until the end of our original lease, but the subltter also has to bring gurantors, head checks and a deposit. Which we won't allow. He basically wants 2 leases on the same palce for the same time period.

This is a perfect advert for why everyone who can, should buy a place as soon as is feasible. And secondly, from my experiences, whenever possible do NOT rent from someone who owns the one flat and uses the rent you pay, to finance his mortgage payments. They tend to be cheap as hell, require unbelievable deposits, and hard to get deposits back (I am still waiting for mine from the flat I moved out of in July - and I even have the k'tav siluk saying I have fulfilled all my obligation and am owed the deposit of $300 back). If at all possible, rent from a large company, who has a manager/managing company that is unrelated to the owner.

Our second adventure - buying a car in Israel is another post unto itself. But I pose the following question to those of you who have read this far: Would you buy a new Toyota Corolla or a new Citroen C4 knowing the prices were the same, the service at Citroen was better, the warranty at Citroen was better, the financing at Citroen was better....Please explain your answer (not: I always buy Japanese or I hate the French):)



Blogger Fun Joel said...

Mazal tov, and b'hatzlacha on the move! I'm excited to have another city to visit people in on my next trip to Israel! :-)

6:29 AM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

I will ask my Israeli mechanic husband about the cars - my understanding is that Toyota is ridiculously reliable but the Israeli resale market and servicing costs are really important - machanics will bleed you dry there.
So hang on, will try to have an answer later this afternoon.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Jeru Guru said...

Apt reading the parsha of Chayyei Sarah and then your problems with the LL.

Always thought that Ephron (unfortunately) was a perfect example of someone in the real estate business.

As for the car - I'm not sure.

Hope it all works out.


10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go for the toyota. In israel, the name is everything in terms of resale value and top of all the brands is toyota. Also important is the reliability. Toyota corollas are ridiculously reliable. Until recently i had a 1975 (!!!) t.corolla that ran without a problem. I'm suprised you can get it for the same price as the citroen.

4:36 AM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

OK - as to the car. My husband says that Citroen has a bad reputation in Israel and is not that popular which may explain why they are offering a great deal. This would of course effect resale value unless the model becomes really popular - which did happen a few years ago with the Peugot 306. Toyota is generally a fail safe car.
That said, the C4 is getting rave reviews, both for styling and build quality (Israelis tend to like "hot" and fashionable cars) and the Corolla is a really old name, my understanding is that the Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are more popular there now.
So the question is ... which one do you like the best and are you planning on keeping it for a really long time?

6:51 AM  
Blogger Sarit Safadi said...

Go for the Toyota. Stepson's best friend is a Toyota mechanic and won't drive anything else, swearing it is the most reliable car in the world.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I agree with all the reasons above for buying a Toyota. Honda is second to Toyota's reliablity and resale value. If you do the basic maintenance and upkeep on the car, it can and probably will last for just about ever. Toyota has an extremely reliable and very decent engine and low emissions. They're comfortable and look good. I just saw the new Corolla, and I'm very impressed with the improvements they've made to what used to be a very plain and ugly looking car. It's sleek and has a very nice interior. You can't lose with a Toyota. You could put 500,000 miles on it, and it'll still purr like a kitten.

On the other hand, Citroen is a poor quality car. The reason you're being offered what appears to be a "better" deal for it is that Citroen is imported more popularly than Toyota. French and most European cars, with the exceptions of high end cars like Mercedes, BMW, Land Rover, etc. are made as economy cars and city cars. They have no engine. They are not reliable. They don't look nice, nor do they feel good. This along with poor handling is very important given that you'll be driving it 2 hours every day. It won't last you much past 100,000 miles. Their upkeep is considerable the older it gets. Meaning, even though it costs the same as the Toyota, you'll probably have to buy another car much sooner than you would have had you bought a Toyota.

Listen, the reason you're being offered better servicing and a "better" warranty for the Citroen is because they know you'll have to use it quite often. I had a Honda Civic. I took it in for the required check-ups, etc, and I never had one problem with it. It ran great and had good pick up. And, it's second to Toyota. Go with the Toyota. You won't look back once you do.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citreon are really unreliable - my brother just sold his cos everything was breaking.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote Toyota as well -- reliable, and when you do need service, they are an excellent company to deal with (their Israeli importers.)

And what everybody else says about resale.


1:46 PM  

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