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tiripou in b_eretz


If anyone needs a short-term rental in Jerusalem, my school recommends My Jerusalem Apartments.

I just received a lease agreement from them. It's straight-forward except for the final clause.

The amount paid by the tenant covers the costs of electricity use up to 200 kilowatts. Should a reading of the electricity meter indicate that the tenant has exceeded the aforementioned electricity usage, then the tenant will be liable in the amount of 75agorot for every kilowatt exceeding the abovementioned quota. In light of the terms of this paragraph the tenant agrees to use electricity sparingly and to switch off the lights and air-conditioning unit when he is out of the apartment.

I'll have to ask if that 200 kilowatts each month, but first I have to find out whether a 200 kilowatt allowance is adequate. Even after looking up the terms watt and kilowatt, I'm no wiser. (Unfortunately we don't keep our electric bills, so I have nothing to refer to.)

A standard-sized refrigerator, lights, and water heater should be the biggest energy drain. There is no air conditioning and I shouldn't need a fan. No real cooking will occur in the tiny kitchenette.

I hope someone here understands kilowatts. Thank you in advance!


First, I think this should have said "kilowatts-hour", because that's the unit in which the Israeli Electric Company measures the energy it sells. And then, indeed, it should tell you the period on which these should be spread. If the lease does not say "kilowatts-hour" and the period, you'll get into a fight in the end (though in terms of physics, the loophole is actually hugely in your favor). But the electricity meter does not read kilowatts, it reads kilowatts-hour, and it's just a source of misunderstanding.

So it should say "200 kilowatts-hour each month".

Anyway, this is a source of trouble. Remember I was impressed with the price of your apartment because the electricity alone would be a large part of it? I took a look at my latest electricity bill. It was for 1140 kwh for two months, in Tel Aviv in early winter, for one person. So my monthly would have been 570kwh. Even in the best months it's no less than 300kwh per month.

Moreover, the real price is 52 agorot per kwh. With VAT that would be around 61 agorot. So the lady is bound to profit on your electric bill. If, for example, you consume 400kwh per month instead of 200kwh, that's an extra 200kwh. Multiplied by 75ag it would be 150NIS that you didn't expect to pay (122 NIS if you paid by the real price).
Oh, forgot. Very important: does it have a solar water heater? Heating water in the spring and summer in Israel using electricity is like throwing money to the trash.
All of that is very useful information. I've e-mailed her with my questions and I'll let you know what she says.

In the meantime, I may look around the internet a bit more, to see if I can find an affordable place with a bed or a fold-out couch.

I really, really appreciate all the help you've been giving me. Thank you.
Just heard from the rental agency:

"There is no charge for electricity. I just put it in to curb abuse."
Hmm. You have that in writing, like e-mail? If so, I guess it's OK. E-mail is semi-evidence. Keep it where it won't be deleted.

If not, the contract is what's going to count. And 200kwh is a little low for an abuse limit. Granted, my own electric bill includes a washing machine and a dish washer, but still...
I printed the e-mail and created a folder to save the electronic version, but you remind me that I don't know Israeli law.

Will have to think about the best way to discuss this with the realtor.

(If I recall my contract law class correctly, in the U.S. an e-mail discussing the agreement would hold significant weight and ambiguous wording in a contract would be construed against the party who wrote it.)

I suppose it's more or less the same here, but IANAL (heh, it's been a while since I've last used this acronym). You took law classes? Did you major in law? (Don't laugh, I still haven't figured out how the higher education system works in the USA).
I didn't even know there was such a thing as "pre-law" when I was in college. Most people who want to become lawyers attend a four-year law school after college. (You earn a JD instead of an MD.) It's not essential, though; if you can pass a state bar exam, you get to practice law in that state.

Apparently, it has become fashionable to go to law school even if you don't want to be a lawyer... (don't ask me; I don't understand it either).