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Voting on Communal Heating System

Continuing the questions in regards to the “hasakot” powered by oil (“solar”)….

In recent years this has become a ridiculously expensive system to run. Many buildings have already switched over to other systems. If let’s say 2 buildings sharing 1 system with 19 neighbors take a survey and find that 11 people don’t want to continue with the system and 8 people do. In such a case could the fact that rov people don’t want the system be enough to decide that the building will no longer use this heating system? Or does the decision have to be unanimous? Perhaps we could look at it the other way if even 1 or a handful of people wouldn’t want (for legitimate reasons that it doesn’t heat the house properly, is way to expensive, the times it runs they don’t like, etc) could this be enough that in order to “force” the system upon everyone and take money from people would this need to be a unanimous decision. Or would rov be enough?

How do the dinim in Choshen Mishpat in terms of deciding things with a vote play in here?


In matters such as these the halachah is that the majority decision (based on the majority of householders) is binding. The decision does not have to be unanimous.


See Rosh (7:5) who writes that we go after the majority, as ruled also by the Rema (Choshen Mishpat 163:1). The Chasam Sofer (61) writes that it is possible that we only follow the majority in Beis Din, whereas in other cases the decision must be unanimous, but in practice he agrees that the majority decision is binding.

There is a dispute among authorities concerning whether we follow the majority of homeowners, or the majority of people (does somebody who owns 2 apartment get one or two votes), but the common custom is that we follow the ownership of apartments (2 apartments = 2 votes), and this is also the guideline of the takanot for jointly owned buildings.

A majority cannot pass a decision that is ‘outlandish,’ and the Chazon Ish writes that the minority is protected when the majority is clearly looking out for its own good. However, in this case, where all apartments have basically the same issues (central communal heating versus private heating), both sides of the argument are relevant to all apartments, and the majority vote will therefore be binding.

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