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“Grabbing” Rental for Debt Collection

What if my employer offers me a salary of $70,000/year based on weekly paycheck and then says that I want you to live close to the jobsite so I will also offer you a house to live in. After several years and raises the employer falls on hard times and owes the worker $150k based partially on money that the worker laid out for the employer and partially on owed wages.

If the employer says that I can now no longer afford to keep you as an employee, can the employer charge the worker rent for living in the house if he still owes him the money or can the worker say that since you didn’t pay me and until you pay me in full I will not move out?
What rights does the worker have according to halacha?


If the employer wishes to collect rental money, you do not need to pay the money, and you can consider it a partial collection of the debt.

However, if the employer wishes to evict the worker from the house, and the worker wants to stay in the house as collection of the debt, such a procedure will have to go through beis din.

Therefore, if there is a demand from the employer to move out, the best advice is to turn to beis din as soon as possible, and tell the employer that the matter will be taken care of in beis din.

It is possible that beis din will make an evaluation of the rental, and give you the right to remain in the house as a method of collecting the debt. There are, however, other possibilities (for instance, if the employer wishes to sell his house), and you should therefore turn to the local beis din whenever possible.

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