A few weeks ago I told the story of my friend Hussein, who had to advertise his flat under the pseudonym Rami in order to rent it out. The other day, my neighbor Yifat, who owns two flats in our block – she lives in one with her two children and rents the other out – told me about her attempt to raise the rent from 4000 to 4500 shekels a month.
The tenant, she said, tried to haggle, offering her 4100 shekels. Yifat was willing to come down to 4400, arguing that many military bases are being relocated to the Negev, which would surely lead to a steep increase in rents. Indeed, an air-force pilot had already contacted her and was willing to pay 4500.
The tenant didn’t yield. She said she was willing to meet halfway, but no more. ‘4250 shekels is a hefty price,’ she said, ‘particularly if one takes into account the new circumstances in the neighbourhood.’
‘What new circumstances?’ Yifat asked.
‘Didn’t you hear?’ the tenant said. ‘Neve is going away for a year and has rented his flat to an Arab.’