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Paying apartment rent by bank deposit: does it constitute a kinyan?


Reuven rents an apartment from Shimon (in Jerusalem) for a defined period of one year. There is a signed contract with start and end dates. The contract prohibits sub-letting without Shimon’s consent. Towards the end of the contract period Reuven asks to extend the contract for a further year. Shimon agrees and states explicitly that the extension must be for the full year, not less, just like the original written contract, as he will not be able to manage a change in tenants at any other time, as he lives outside Israel. All other conditions (including the rent) remain unchanged. There is no new written contract: the extension/renewal is left as a purely verbal agreement. Reuven makes three or four rent payments during the second year by depositing the rent payments into Shimon’s bank account. He then misses a month’s payment and Reuven protests. After 5 months, Reuven phones Shimon and says that he will be vacating the apartment in 2 weeks’ time, 6 months before the end of the ‘extension’ year. Shimon protests and says that he considers Reuven responsible for all remaining rent for the full year. Shimon gives Reuven the names of two potential new tenants who could ‘pick up’ the tenancy but neither turns out to want the apartment. The apartment stands empty for the remaining months of the agreement.

Reuven claims that in the absence of a written contract, there is actually no binding contract in place and he is free to terminate the tenancy without penalty.

Shimon claims that Reuven remains responsible for and obligated to pay the rent payments for the remainder of the year.

Who is correct?


Technically it should, and it sounds like you have a decent case to go to bais din with, but these things cannot really be known until both sides say their story.


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