Legal Eviction of an Uncooperative Tenant (Unlawful Detainer Suit)
Attorney Michael Decker, a Jerusalem real estate lawyer at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm, explains what to do when an Israeli landlord is forced to evict a tenant who refuses to pay rent from his property.
In the past, the owner of an apartment that would fall victim to what Israeli law refers to as a “disobedient” tenant (that is, a tenant who refuses to pay the rent or to honor other conditions of the lease) was forced to conduct a lengthy and exhausting legal process before he could evict the tenant from the apartment. Needless to say, during the entire period, the owner of the house suffers cumulative damages for loss of rent, as well as non-payment of taxes (in addition to the building committee, payments for gas, water, electricity, municipal taxes, etc.) by the tenant. In addition, the landlord cannot evict a tenant from the apartment by force (even though he owns the apartment). Even the police will not intervene without a court order.
How Do You Evict a Non-Cooperative Tenant Who Blatantly Violates the Terms of the Lease?
Precisely for this situation, there is a procedure dedicated to removing a problematic tenant from the apartment or house by the owner of the property. This is a special procedure in Israeli law called “a claim for the eviction of an unprotected tenant.” In English-speaking countries, it is sometimes referred to as a suit of “unlawful detainer.” The purpose of the proceeding is, inter alia, shortening the process of eviction from the property. Therefore, in certain cases it is possible to obtain a ruling requiring the vacancy of the tenant from the apartment within 60 days of filing the claim.
How Does a Claim for Eviction Work in Israel?
The procedure begins with the submission of a statement of claim including affidavits and the submission of all necessary documents relating to the legal process to the proper court that can hear the application. After submitting the claim to the court, the tenant will have the right to file a statement of defense within 30 days. Once the defense is submitted, the court will set a date for the hearing within 30 days (a very short period of time, by Israeli court standards).
What Can Be Requested in the Eviction Suit?
In this proceeding, it is possible to ask the court for nothing more than a writ of eviction. In other words, such a suit cannot include a claim for money as compensation for loss of rent or compensation for other damages.
What about the Evicted Tenant’s Unpaid Rent?
However, this procedure does not prevent the apartment owner from claiming the money due to him from the lodger in respect to unpaid rent, including monetary compensation for the financial damages caused to the owner of the apartment in a different proceeding, such as the Small Claims court or another legal court if the claim exceeds the jurisdiction of the Small Claims court.
What Are the Benefits of Filing an Eviction Claim against an Unprotected Tenant?
Since the entry of this procedure into the Israeli legal system, apartment owners have been given a recourse to the phenomenon of the uncooperative tenant. By submitting the suit, the landlord has an efficient and quick procedure to remove a problematic tenant from his property.
In conclusion, everyone aspires to become property owners in order to rent the properties to good tenants for a fair profit, but sometimes it happens that things get complicated and tenants do not meet their obligations under the lease. If you have a problem with a disobedient tenant, you do not have to panic; you just need to know how to proceed correctly. Eviction litigation is a process that requires knowledge and experience in order to achieve the quickest and most effective result. As a result, it is recommended to carry out the procedure through attorneys familiar with the field.
Please call us if you need legal advice regarding the eviction of an uncooperative tenant.