Renting off-campus housing is an alternative option for students. Monthly rent for an individual sharing an apartment will generally cost US$ 400-600, depending upon size, location, and amenities as well as the number of roommates. When renting an apartment, please take into account additional expenses such as electricity, water, gas, municipal taxes (arnona), and monthly building maintenance fees (va’ad bayit).
Questions to Ask
We recommend asking a few key questions before signing a rental contract:
How much is the rent and va’ad bayit (building maintenance committee fee)?
Inquire about rent and the monthly building maintenance committee fee. Rent may be quoted in US Dollars and linked to the current rate of exchange (sha’ar hayatzig), but it is illegal for landlords to request actual payment in dollars.
How are rental payments to be made?
Landlords often require several months of rent in advance. The standard request is the first and last month’s rent.
How is the apartment heated?
Apartments with a high va’ad bayit fee are often centrally heated. Otherwise, there may be private central heating or the tenant will need individual room heaters, which may or may not be provided by the landlord. Using individual electric or gas heaters can be expensive.
Is the water heated by electricity, gas, or solar energy (dud shemesh)?
The difference in cost (e.g., the electricity or gas bill) may be significant.
Is there a bus line to the university within walking distance?
The following bus lines go to the Mount Scopus campus: 17, 19, 30a, 34, 42, 48, 53, and 68.
How much is the lawyer’s fee (if any) for signing the contract?
If you are a member of the Student Union, you are entitled to free legal counseling regarding apartment rentals.
What is the general location of the specific apartment?
Is the apartment on the ground floor? Are there protective metal bars (soragim) on the windows? Is it located on a noisy thoroughfare or on a quiet side street?
How to Search
Here are some ways to look for off-campus housing:
- Check the student bulletin boards on campus, located near the libraries and in the lobby outside the cafeteria in the Boyar Building.
- Consult the classified ads in the Friday editions of local newspapers. (These ads are often linked to realtors, who will charge around one month’s rent as their commission fee.)
- Check the Student Housing Board.
- Sign up with an agency on the Internet that will provide you with access to its extensive listings of apartments for rent, and to share, for a reasonable monthly fee.
- Search on Facebook! There are many groups, such as Apartments for rent in Jerusalem (דירות להשכרה בירושלים), that can help you find decent apartments with no commission fee.