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Shabbat Parashat Vaetchanan| 5767

P'ninat Mishpat

The Effect of Notification of Desire to End Rental - Based on Halacha Psuka - vol. 12 - A Condensation of a Psak by the Beit Din of the Religious Council of Yerushalayim - vol. I - pp. 39-42
Case: An organization rented an apartment for a period of two years. The contract included a provision that the renter could stop the rental earlier with three months warning. During the rental period, one of the organization’s directors sent a letter which expressed the organization’s intention to terminate the rental in three month’s time. A month later, they sent a letter in which they withdrew their intention to end the rental, which was signed by the same director. The landlord refuses to accept the second letter. His condition for their continued occupation of the apartment beyond the date stated in the first letter is the doubling of their rent. The organization says that the director was not authorized to inform about the ending of the rental, as the full secretariat must do so. In any case, they say that they withdrew the letter in time.
Ruling: Even if the member of the organization’s directorate is not officially authorized to make decisions of the nature involved here, his actions are binding in this case because he was apparently acting upon the will of the organization as a whole.
 The Rivash (510) discusses a renter who informed the landlord in front of two witnesses that he is nullifying the rental agreement, only to retract that statement later. The Rivash rules that the renter can withdraw his decision “because the land was acquired for the time of the rental with a full kinyan (act of acquisition)… it is his for that time, and he cannot remove himself from it with words alone even in front of witnesses without a full kinyan, as rental is a temporary sale.” The Machane Ephrayim (Sechirut 9) argues on the Rivash and says that since the house itself remains owned by the landlord, when the renter removes himself from it, the landlord recovers all rights automatically without a kinyan. Kovetz He’arot (Yevamot 53:5) explains that the dispute between the two authorities is whether a renter acquires a level of ownership in the property or only acquires rights to use it.
 However, it appears that there will be no dispute regarding our case because the rental contract limits the rental period to two years or any previous time with warning. Just as there is no need for a kinyan after the stated end of the rental period, so too it is not needed when the rental period can be moved up with notification.
 Despite the fact that the rental could be ceased without a kinyan, in this case, the organization can withdraw their notification and continue renting at the original price. This is because the notification did not effect any legal change when it was given. Only if and after three months would pass would the rental period cease and the notification was withdrawn prior to that point.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
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