Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rat Hole for Rent


Should I give up looking for an apartment in Safed (Zfat) ?
I have looked at various available places and I could have found something if I hadn't been that "picky". 

At the moment, American as well as Israeli landlords in Zfat try renting out their last storage room / rat hole for lots of money. All over the country, the rents are on the rise and now there is a high demand for apartments in the northern part of the country. Haredim are coming from Bnei Brak and Jerusalem in order to find a cheaper place to live and maybe some fresh air as well. What the Haredim don't take into consideration: This way, they are destroying the prices. As soon as landlords sniff a higher demand, they raise the prices. 

Furthermore, the Americans have been destroying many low rent prices in Zfat. They come on Aliyah from the US. Some come with money and start buying anything they see. The Israeli population in Zfat has less money and for those people it has got much harder finding an affordable place to live.

Just recently I looked a two - room apartment. Rent was relatively reasonable but there was no window inside. The apartment itself wasn't bad but without a window I felt like entering a cave.  The landlady was anything but ashamed offering such a place: "What do you want ? Most places in the old city look like that". 
The worst is that she is right, as I have seen other places looking exactly the same. 

There are no jobs in Zfat and thus, the local population has started either renting out guest rooms or small apartments in order to earn a living. So called "apartments", as most of those places consist of one room. The real estate market has become a total rip off and the locals simply don't get it that Zfat is not Tel Aviv. Renting out a rat hole in Tel Aviv can bring a profit but the same won't work in a place like Zfat. However, the landlords don't give up and hope that someone stupid may come along and rent the place. At least a new immigrant who has no idea anyway and can be cheated easily.

This building is not in Zfat but in Tel Aviv.
However, I thought it fits the topic !

Photo: Miriam Woelke

I gave up on Zfat. Not because of this reason but due to a few demands for my work. I have to be more flexible and travel a lot. Zfat is too far away from everything and the buses don't travel too often. At the moment I am busy coordinating my schedules anew. Thinking of where I have to go and the best way of getting there. 


  1. You have my sympathy! All over Israel prices are too high for the low wages most of us make. What is frustrating is the continuous building of "luxury" apartments that can only be purchased by the rich and are only used a couple of times a year--mostly sitting empty--while those of us who actually live here are in the same position as you. Good Luck with your search.

  2. B"H

    I basically understand when landlords in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv get out of control but landlords in Tiberias or Zfat should slow down and take whom they get. I was offered many places but for Tel Aviv prices. Ridiculous, as even in TA you get something better and not a ruin like in Zfat.

    The problem is that those greedy landlords from Zfat always find someone. New American immigrants come with their Nefesh be'Nefesh money and move into the expensive dump.