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Bal Talin – Paying Wages On Time – part 5: Rentals


The issur of bal talin applies not only to the paying of workers, but also to rental agreements. In this section, we shall examine how this applies to movables and property.

  1. The issur of bal talin applies to objects that are rented, e.g. car, lawnmower. ((Bava Metzia 111a, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 339:1.))
  2. According to many opinions, bal talin also applies to land. ((Shaar Hamishpat 339:1 quoting the Semag and Yere’im, based on the Sifra Kedoshim 2.)) Others disagree. ((Maharam Mirotenberg quoted by Tosfos Harosh ibid.)) It is correct to follow the strict opinion. ((Ahavas Chesed 9:10 and Aruch Hashulchan 339:2 based on the Bi’ur Hagra.))
  3. Opinions differ regarding apartments. According to some opinions, they are like movable objects. ((Ketzos Hachoshen 339:1.)) According to others, they are like land. ((Shut Mishnas R’ Aharon 2:72.)) If the apartment is furnished, even partially, bal talin will certainly apply ((Mishpat Shlomo page 11.)) to the furnishings. ((This refers to any detached item; tables, chairs, closets, etc.))
  4. Using a mikveh is regarded as renting land (to which bal talin certainly applies), therefore the payment must be made by the end of the day. ((Chut Shani Shabbos page 332.)) A man who has a monthly pass must pay by the end of the month, ((Tosfos Bava Metzia 48a s.v. nasno lebalan, quoted by Mishpat Hapo’alim chapter 36 note 66 and Minchas Shlomo page 14.)) even if the payment was not explicitly requested.
  5. According to some opinions, electrical appliances that can only be used when they are plugged in are like land. ((See Chelkas Yaakov Yoreh De’ah 41 and Minchas Shlomo 2:66:4 that these appliances do not require immersion for this reason. However, many opinions disagree – see Shevet Halevi 2:57:3 and Igros Moshe Yoreh De’ah 1:58.)) Although opinions differ whether bal talin applies to land, it is correct to assume that it does apply to electrical appliances. ((The reason that bal talin does not apply to land is that the work is not done with the land but rather on the land. This logic clearly does not apply to electrical appliances. In addition, according to many opinions, bal talin applies to apartments.))
  6. A person who borrows an item from a friend and pays only for his consumption does not transgress bal talin if he pays late. ((Since he is not renting the item but borrowing it, see Choshen Mishpat 340:4 and Nesivos Hasachir 43:1.)) For example, paying for the gas in a car, for a call from a mobile. However, if he also pays the car insurance or for more that the cost of the call, bal talin will apply. ((Since the extra money that he pays is regarded as rent.))
  7. If a worker is hired for a year but paid at the end of each month, bal talin applies ((Tashbatz 1:64.)) each month. ((Even though his employment may not be terminated before the year is up.)) The same applies to an item that is hired.
  8. Strictly speaking, rent money must be paid at the end of the period. ((Bava Metzia 65a.)) However, the custom today is to pay for long-term rental agreements at the beginning of each month. It is unclear if one transgresses bal talin if one does not pay at the beginning of the month. Equally, it is unclear if one transgresses bal talin if one does not pay at the end of the month.
  9. When renting a room in a hotel, the custom is to pay before one leaves, and bal talin applies. Similarly, when renting a hall for a simcha, one usually pays after the simcha and bal talin will apply. ((According to the opinions that bal talin applies to apartments, see point 3 above.))
  10. When renting an item for a number of days, the payment is due at the end of the period even though he has not yet returned the item. If the rental period was not specified, the payment is due only when the item is returned. ((Avnei Milu’im 28:46.))
  11. When renting an item to perform a specific task, the payment is due once the task has been completed even though he has not yet returned the item. If the owner is unaware that the task has been completed and therefore does not ask for payment, the issur of bal talin nevertheless applies. ((Ahavas Chesed 9:11.))

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