The Resident's Committee & Monthly Levies
Hebrew: ועד בית
So you are setting up home in Israel for the first time, there is a knock on your door and the person standing there is collecting money for the Vaad Bayit. Vaad Bayit in Israel is a housing term used when referring to the tenants (residents or housing) committee in a communal residential building (Heb: Bayit Meshutaf). Vaad Bayit is also used to describe the monthly tenant levy.
What is a Bayit Meshutaf?
A Bayit Meshutaf is any building that has two or more residential units and where part of the area or facilities are shared by the residents. A Bayit Meshutaf should have a Vaad Bayit.
Shared Areas, Facilities & Repair
Shared areas include the roof, the entrance, the stairwell, the public utility area, swimming pool, elevator, common garden and parking area etc., and the repair, general maintenance and upkeep thereof.
Ha’aguda LeTarbut Hadiyur
Ha’aguda LeTarbut Hadiyur is a government office that inter alia, oversees laws and practices pertaining to communal residential dwellings including Vaad Bayit. The Aguda LeTarbut Hadiyur offers guidelines for good Vaad Bayit practices. For a small monthly fee, you can become a member of the Aguda and this fee will entitle you to take advantage of some of the facilities and services offered by the Aguda (and also in the case of disputes). They have a Hebrew only website.
How does Vaad Bayit work?
A house committee with a chair-person is elected. Home-owners/landlords and NOT tenants have voting rights. The house committee will establish the monthly levy that is to be paid by each tenant (it can be anything from 50 - 500 shekels per month). In a rental apartment the tenant is responsible for paying the monthly levy and NOT the landlord. The committee will also establish how the funds are to be managed; will the monthly levies be paid into a bank account or will the funds be kept in a petty-cash or shoe-box? (Small buildings operate well on the shoe-box system). Whatever system you choose, your committee is responsible for keeping track of all revenue and expenses and provide a written report of all expenditure.
Next year the tenants will meet again and vote for a new committee who will then discuss, plan, argue and fight over the plans for the coming year. Vaad Bayit is much like the PTA - once you're on it you never get off it. It is most likely that your committee has been operating with the same members for the past 20 years. Nobody wants the job.
Typical Vaad Bayit Annual Meeting Agenda
- New committee
- Roof maintenance: whitewashing and sealing
- Stairwell: new cleaner needed
- Electricity: replace broken light bulbs and switches on the 3rd floor
- Plumbing: blockage in main line - access required via Mrs. Cohen's apartment
- Outstanding bills
- Other important matters
Typical Vaad Bayit Minutes of the Last Meeting
- The meeting commenced at 8:00pm and all tenants were present.
- The existing committee was voted in for a further year by an overwhelming majority. Mrs. Cohen remains the chair-person
- The monthly levy for the coming year remains unchanged at 50 shekels per month. All tenants are requested to pay their dues in a timely manner and give their money to Mrs. Cohen - she cannot be expected to go to each tenant to ask for money all the time.
- It was decided that, owing to the large number of dead cockroaches and rats, the common area should be fumigated once a year.
- The gardener has retired. Mrs. Cohen to get names and quotes from 3 new gardeners
- All tenants agreed that in 2017 the stairwell will be repainted in "Snow White" by Tambour - color no. OW210P
- Tenants are asked to contribute refreshments at the next meeting. Refreshments will no longer come out of the Vaad Bayit kitty.
- The meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm
Jokes aside, a good Vaad Bayit and a well maintained building is really quite wonderful. Also, if you have the time and sufficient Hebrew skills, familiarize yourselves with services offered by HaAguda LaTarbut Hadiyur - they do offer some useful services.
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