Finally Jerusalem to Solve Housing Crisis By Requiring Double Tax on Ghost Homes
Most Jews that live Chutz Le'aaretz know that their time living out of Israel is limited ....watching in horror as anti-Semitism leaps out of bounds in France, UK and in all the US campuses,
So those that have some money, buy an apartment in Israel, hoping to run there, if the situation in Chutz Le"aaretz heats up!
They then leave it empty........
you can walk blocks in Rechavia that now looks like an abandoned Hollywood set!
Finally the government is cracking down on these Euro'pishers & American Shvitzers ... who leave apartments empty!
A new Jerusalem municipal regulation is affecting some 1,700 owners of so-called ghost apartments by taxing them a double-rate municipal tax (arnona) bill.
The homes in question are left unoccupied most of the year and the tax bills are averaging 224 shekels ($58) a square meter annually, working out to about $5,800 for a relatively small, 100-square-meter residence.
The city has sent warning notices to some 4,800 other homeowners who have since appealed the municipality’s designation of their homes as ghost apartments.
Thousands of these apartments exist in Jerusalem, most of which are owned by foreigners leave them empty most of the year aside from the couple of weeks out of the year when they use them as vacation homes. The higher arnona rate is expected to yield about 18 million shekels in extra tax revenues in 2016. A side benefit is to the hope that it will alleviate the city’s housing shortage and high home prices.
“Doubling the tax will put ghost apartments into the rental market, as well as create significant additional revenues for the city which will be used for affordable housing,” said Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Ofer Berkowitz. “Just this week, I heard of an apartment being sold because of the higher tax we’ve imposed.”
When social-justice protesters spoke out in 2011 in Jerusalem they blamed ghost apartments for part of the city’s housing shortage and high price. Until now the city was dealing with legal problems over the definition of ghost apartment.
The Knesset Finance Committee finally solved the problem by officially designating ghost apartments as those occupied for less than three months a year. Officials checked water meters to determine whether a house meets the standard. Some 6,500 homes where usage is zero most of the year were designated a “house not in use” and received warning notices.