1 | Guide to Apartment Searching

Searching for an apartment can be exhausting… This guide will provide you with all the information needed for searching an apartment in the easiest and most useful way.

Download – The Complete Guide to Apartment Searching

  • Where do you start?

    Here are some of the main ways in which you can search for an apartment in Beer Sheva:

    Internet and Social Media – Lots of Facebook pages are devoted to students looking for an apartment. The Union’s International Affairs Office has opened up a Facebook page named “Be'er Sheva Apartments/Roommates/Sublets” where landlords and other students may post their apartments / their need for one and all in English. Websites such as Yad2 can come in handy as well.

    Notice boards – Open your eyes! Throughout the summer, landlords advertise apartments on boards and even on the apartments facades themselves. We recommend taking a stroll and looking out for some treasures.

    Real estate agent – A real estate agent is a possibility, but an expensive one. Use this option only if all of the other possibilities have been exhausted. We recommend you to not give up and start searching for an apartment ahead of time.

    Remember:

    * The landlord is not only interested in money. Factors such as quiet/tidy/responsible roommates and a possibility to remain in the apartment for more than one year will interest them as well. Remember this when negotiating the deal.

    * Ask questions! Is the furniture included in the monthly rent? What is the normal monthly rent in the area? Has the apartment been renovated? Who are the neighbors? How far is it from the University? Many factors may help you in the negotiation and lower the cost.

     

    Accommodation Options in Beer Sheva

    Students' Dorms – The University offers approximately 1800 accommodations, while approximately 170 are reserved for married couples. The dormitories are located next to the campus in Dalet and Gimmel neighborhoods. The bedrooms are furnished and the kitchen is fully equipped with electrical appliances. It is possible to connect to a Wi-Fi network for a low-cost price. In addition, at the dormitories you will find various activities, a club, a mini-market, study rooms, computers and more. For further information check out the University's website – http://in.bgu.ac.il.

  • What should you check for in the apartment?

    Furniture – Does the furniture belong to the landlord or to the previous tenants? Will the landlord pay for any missing furniture? (Try to convince him to do so)

    Pipeline – You should check for any recent leaks or explosion and signs of mold or humidity in the walls. It is also important to check the water pressure in the taps and toilets.

    Bills – Clarify with the previous tenants what the current bill average is – Water, electricity, gas and Arnona (Municipality tax)

    Boiler – It is very hot in Beer Sheva, and during the summer it is even boiling! Using a solar energy will save up electricity, even during the winter, so you better check the boiler’s condition.

    Renovation – Is the landlord planning to renovate the apartment before you move in? Don’t be shy and demand that the walls = be painted, the holes sealed and any other basic repair which will guarantee a pleasant apartment.

    Electricity – Check that there are sufficient electric outlets and that they are undamaged. You should also ask the previous tenants if there were any problems with the electricity in the past year.

    Bars – In ground / low floor apartments you should verify that all of the windows have bars.

    Noise – It can be a bummer to live in an apartment that is located on a busy street, especially during exam period. You should visit the apartment during rush hours and check the street’s noise volume.

    Staircase – Even if you don’t live in a luxury building, you should verify if there is light in the staircase and that the building committee is active and the building is cleaned on a regular basis.

    Neighbors – You should ask the previous tenants why are they leaving and if there were any problems with the neighbors. Usually, this kind of information won't be provided by the landlord.

    Proximity to the train – Some apartments are very close to the train station, you should check if the noise would be a nuisance (although they don’t run at night)

    Cellphone reception – A minor thing you can miss but a very important one! Take a tour in the apartment and verify that your cellphone has connection.

    The lease – The lease is a legal document which documents the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. It is very important to read it well and document any detail or agreement you have made, don't trust oral agreements. Standard leases can be found in the internet.

  • Important Issues

    Repairs – The landlord should be responsible to all the necessary repairs needed, as long as it wasn't made by an unreasonable use on your part. Let your landlord know about any malfunctions such as – A sewer clog / electricity / broken taps and more and agree on a time span to have it fixed.

    Payments – Notice that falling back on one payment or a returned check will not be a cause to cancel the lease. If this is part of the lease, add a reservation clause which requires the landlord to let you know if there are problems with an option to settle the debt.

    Guarantees – Anything related to a promissory note / Bank guarantee / open checks will be detailed further on. In some of the leases the landlord requires a deposit.

    Lease payment – It is customary to pay the lease with 12 postdated check spread through 12 months. The landlord will deposit the checks on the mentioned date. In some of the leases it is agreed between both sides that the landlord will deposit the checks every three months.

    Insurance – Usually, the landlord insures the apartment against any damage which may be caused from fire, flooding, etc. Usually, the insurance includes a third participant, which is used in cases where the damage is caused by the tenant. Not a lot of people know that the insurance company has the "subrogation right" which is the possibility to sue us, the tenants, because of the damage that has been caused to the apartment by us. It is recommended to issue an appendix to the insurance policy so that the policy will include the tenant or at least will cancel the "subrogation right".

    Changes – Any handwritten change on the lease form will be signed with the landlord and the tenant ‘s initials.

    Alternative tenant – Make sure that there is a possibility to find an alternative tenant in case one of the other tenants leave the apartment.

    Existing furniture – Mention the landlord's furniture in the lease.

    Lease extension – You should mention in the lease a clause which enables you to extend the lease for an extra year under the same conditions.

  • Promissory note, Bank guarantee and Open checks

    The landlord needs legal and legitimate ways to insure that one day you will not leave the apartment after having completely destroyed it. Usually, one of the following insurances are needed:

    Deposit– A cash deposit which should be mentioned in the lease. Don't forget to collect it at the end of the lease.

    Promissory note – The recommended method. The note is actually your commitment to pay a fixed sum in case you have breached the lease. The landlord will hold on to the lease and may use it in court, where you will be able to appeal. In some cases, you need a guarantor to sign as well but this will depend on the landlord's conditions. The form can be found online, please make sure to follow the instructions and remember to demand a receipt.

    Bank guarantee – This is a guarantee for the landlord. The money remains in the tenant's account but is linked to the guarantee which means that you cannot use it.

  • You should remember that…

    * People search for an apartment during the summer and Beer Sheva is well known to be very hot during July and August. When you walk around the apartments don’t forget to wear a hat, to take a bottle of water and to have lots of energy. You are invited to stop at the Student Center for some shade and relaxation!

    * Close to the University = Expansive. Usually, as the apartment is closer to the university the rent is higher. The difference can reach 100-200 NIS and even more. The “Beit” neighborhood is an exception since it offers apartments in good conditions in a nice surrounding but it is further away from the University.

    * Furniture – Don’t hurry up and purchase furniture. Sites such as Agora, Yad2 and others offer second hand furniture for free. Also, it is a good idea to walk around the city to see if people threw away pieces of furniture that you can refurbish and use.

    * It is important to choose the right roommates, decide ahead of time if you are looking for a male or female student and decide on some criteria which will help you find the perfect roommate (cleanliness, with/without animals, smoking etc.)

  • Some tips for when you move in

    When you move in, write down the electricity gas and water counters number. In addition, call the electricity, gas and water companies and the municipality and ask them to close the account one day before you move in, this way you won't need to settle the account with the previous tenants. Furthermore, you should check out with the municipality if the apartment has any debts that haven't been settled.

  • Bargain > Compare > Gain

    The prices will continue to rise if we don’t rent in a smart way

    Bargain – More than 20,000 students live in Beer Sheva! The power is in our hands so don’t be afraid to bargain. Don’t agree to overpriced rents! A good lease is a lease which is fair to both sides therefore it is in the landlords' interests to adjust themselves to us, the students, a major group of potential tenants.

    Compare – Most of the good apartments are being advertised during August. Wait patiently, compare prices and don’t give up on a price comparison which will help you find the perfect apartment for you.

    Gain – Smart consumerism will enable moderate prices to come back. The rise in prices throughout the past years is disturbing and irritating, don’t compromise!

2 | Guide to Getting an Arnona Discount

You don't really live in a city until you pay the municipality its Arnona tax.This is the city's way of demanding payment for the different services given – maintenance of sidewalks, roads, traffic lights, garbage services, etc. The Municipality of Beer Sheva demands this tax as well, but is lightening the load by giving you a 50% discount, under certain conditions.

Payment of the Arnona

This is the simple part – once every two months you receive a payment voucher at your address which is to be paid at the Post Office Bank (actually, the closest post office to you). You can also pay it through the municipality's website. All the different payment methods can be viewed at the bottom of this article.

Student discount

The more difficult part is getting the student discount. For this, you must present different forms, change the number of tenants in the apartment, present your three last pay slips or declare to a lawyer that you are currently unemployed – and send it all to the municipality.

Sounds complicated? Not so much. We've taken care of everything, even the lawyer: At the beginning of the year, the Union brings a lawyer to the campus as well as the Arnona representatives in order to help you out with getting the discount!

  • Step 1 - Do you deserve a discount?

    People who deserve the 50% discount are unemployed students, or working students whose monthly income is no higher than 3,263 NIS bruto. Bruto – meaning, including health payments, days of leave and other add-ons and scholarships (as was not in the past). Funds you receive from your parents does not count. Preparatory course students and even acting students are valid for a discount.

    If all the property holders (meaning the students renting the apartment) are valid for a discount, a 50% discount will be given for Arnona tax.

    If only some of the property holders are valid for the discount, the given discount will be proportionate:

    1. If 1 out of 2 students is entitled to a discount – the discount given for this apartment will be 25%.
    2. If 1 out of 3 students is entitled to a discount – the discount given for this apartment will be 15%.
    3. If 2 out of 3 students are entitled to a discount – the discount given for this apartment will be 37%.
  • Step 2 - Acquiring the relevant forms

    The documents you must prepare for the discount are the following:

    In order to transfer the Arnona onto your name (without doing so you can't get the student discount, of course):

    1. A copy of the lease for at least 12 months, signed by the property owner according to the municipality registers. If the lease was signed by a power of attorney somebody else, supply a copy of the ID and a document proving the power of attorney. If several leases were signed for the apartment (one for each tenant), you must present them all.
    2. A copy of the property owner's ID. If not these – a copy of the passport or driver's license. If the property is owned by a company, you must present a confirmation of the company, a signature as well as the ID of the person signing this confirmation.
    3. A copy of the IDs for the requesting students. If not these – a copy of the passport or driver's license.
    4. A university acceptance form for the current school year, for each tenant requesting a discount.
    5. A copy of the school schedule or course registration for each tenant requesting a discount.
    6. For a working student requesting a discount – the last 3 pay slips, or pay slips from the months of October-November-December 2016. If you've only started working and you don't have 3 pay slips, or if during the summer you worked in a job with a great income, but during the semester your income is lower – the municipality states that you must wait until you have the 3 required pay slips, which fit the criteria stated in the previous section. You can receive the discount retroactively a year back.

    Please note that waiting for the pay slips does not permit you to not pay the Arnona tax! Pay it in full, and after you'll get the student discount you will get a full retroactive refund. A 106 Form is NOT relevant.

    1. For an unemployed student seeking a discount you will need a declaration signed by a lawyer. Click here to download the form the lawyer needs to sign.
    2. A document requesting the discount, which you can download here. You only need one of these for an apartment; there is no need for a separate form for each tenant.
  • Step 3 - Meeting the lawyer

    Instead of you running around searching for a lawyer, the Union is happy to cut this process short. The Union has its own lawyer, and in the beginning of the year there will be several weeks during which he will be present in the Student Center, and students can get their unemployment declaration signed, according to set appointments. So first, make sure you've got the said declaration form (the same form from the previous step) and come to the designated appointment you signed up for.

    For a meeting with the lawyer it is crucial to show an ID which isn't a Student ID Card – meaning an ID, passport or driver's license. The appointments are available to Student Union members who have paid the relevant welfare payment (automatically charged by the university unless a student has specifically objected to this).

    Please note:

    – If you work, you do not need the lawyer form, only your last 3 pay slips.

    – If you're receiving a scholarship, you need the lawyer’s form as well as a certificate showing the amount you're receiving from the scholarship.

    Available dates to meet the lawyer at the university during the first few weeks of school will be updated when the academic year begins.

    What do you need to bring with you to the meeting?

    1. An ID card / Passport  / Driving license
    2. An Affidavit  – Click here to download it

    Available dates to meet the lawyer at the university during the first few weeks of school:

    At the Student Center, Room 238: November 2nd – 14th between 8:30-16:00

    At the Faculty of Health Sciences, Caroline House, ASRAN's secretary office: November 26th – 27th between 8:30-16:00

    The lawyer will also receive students on Tuesdays at his office in the Old City – 3rd floor of Beit Gozlan, 78th Hadassa St. Scheduling an appointment will be done through the Student Union Service Office at the Student Center which you may contact also at 08-6472340.

  • Step 4 - Handing in the documents to the municipality reps

    Handing in the documents can be done in several ways:

    1. Send by E-mail to mokedg@br7.org.il
    2. Fax it to [1-599-599-106]
    3. The last option is to physically go to the municipality offices.

    The municipality will take care of your request within 30 days.

  • Receiving the discount

    That's all. Assuming everything went smoothly, you will get your 50% discount letter, and receive your paid Arnona funds retroactively.

    Please note – if you've handed in all the forms until March 31st, 2018 the discount will be given retroactively from the beginning of the school year. Requests handed starting from the 01/04/2018 will only get you a discount starting from the 01/01/2018. There will be no option to receive a retroactive discount for a period of time longer than one year.

    After this process you will be registered as property holders. Please notice that your property registration begins when your lease began. If previous debts were owed by the previous holder, they will remain in his/her name and won't be transferred on to you. Once you finish your lease, meaning – move to another apartment, it will be your responsibility to officially write and notify the municipality about this. You can download the appropriate form here.

  • Special cases

    A student family composed of two spouses when one of the two works or a student family composed of 3 individuals or more will submit a request to receive a discount according to their income.

    – In the case of a roommate or a partner who is not a student and works- In addition to the requirement mentioned above, you must submit the last 3 pay slips according the date of your request or pay slips for the months of October – December of the last two years.

    -In the case of a roommate or a partner who is not a student and doesn't work –

    * An unemployed status form from Bituach Leumi (Social security)

    * A declaration that no benefits were received during 2016+2017 from Bituach Leumi (Social security)

    * A printout of your bank account from the last 3 months.

    – In case of a roommate (either a student or not) who works but doesn't fit the entitlement criteria because of the level of their income,  no document should be submitted except for the lease and a copy of an ID – His entitlement to a discount will be denied.

    – If more than one student has signed on the lease, including a tenant who is not a student, you must show income documents for each of the tenants. As we've stated before – if one or more of the tenants is not a student or is not entitled to a discount, you will get a discount according to your income.

    – A student renting one apartment, but owns another apartment for which s/he receives rent – the rent for the property will count as income only if it is higher than what the student pays for the apartment in which s/he lives. For example, if a student receives rent for the owned property, of 2000 NIS, but pays rent for the apartment s/he lives in for only 1000 NIS, the amount will count as only 1000 NIS.

    – International students are valid for discount just like any other students, they must present a passport instead of an ID.

    – If the owner of the property is one of the tenants, s/he counts as the only apartment holder. The other tenants will count as side-tenants and won't be registered in the municipality. This is why only the owner will receive an Arnona discount.

    – A tenant who leaves the apartment mid-lease and wants the apartment to not be written under his/her name, must supply a written approval from the property owner, stating the date he/she leaves, on a copy of the property owner's ID.

    – If one of the pay slips from the last 3 months is higher than the limit of the discount requirement, this does not necessarily mean you will not get the discount. The calculation is done according to an average of the last 3 pay slips, so that if only one is higher, you might still get the discount.

    – If the lease is finished and you no longer live in the apartment, wishing it won't be registered as yours (and so the Arnona payments will no longer be directed to you), you must give the right form plus your ID. There is no need to get the property owner's signature in this case.

  • Extra payment methods

    In order to find out details concerning payments and to pay on the phone, call [08-6206511], active Sunday-Thursday from 08:00-17:00. They also receive e-mails, and it's probably better to work with them via mail, mokedg@br7.org.il. You can send faxes to [08-6206491] (make sure they have arrived!). Credit card payments via telephone are available 24 hours at [1800-200-155]. The municipality also allows regular payments via the bank, so you can get another 2% discount in this method.

Emergency Contacts

100 Police
101

First Aid & Ambulance (Magen David Adom)

102

Fire Department

08-640-0111

Soroka Medical Center

144

Local Telephone Information

188

International Operator

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