Landlords have a bad name the world over and in many cases it's very deserved. I count myself rather lucky in this respect; in Manchester Mr Gorton and Mr Oogamali were always very pleasant; after moving to Israel I only saw my first landlord when we signed the contract, Tzvi liked me so much that he asked my assistance in a translation and Motti, my last landlord was also my next door neighbour - available 24 hours a day if something went wrong.
Having purchased my own place last year, I had hoped that I'd never have to go flathunting again but my brother's imminent arrival put paid to that as I got out the flathunting list, subscribed to Ma'agar Meida and began making phone calls to likely looking places.
For those of you familiar with real estate listings, you will know that they are creative to say the least with inappropriate adjectives such as "modern", "beautiful" and "well laid out", accompanying non-existent 1/2 rooms. Rehavia extends to anything that is within five minutes walking distance of Aza St and Baka includes Mekor Hayim.
Having seen several unsuitable places, we finally encountered an ad that appeared to good to be true but apart from the poetic license of referring to Talpiot as Arnona, it seemed great; a quiet location, newly renovated, huge main room, decent sized bedrooms and 2 balconies in a lovely building at a price below the going rate. The lawyer seemed reasonable, agreeing to all the minor changes in the contract that we requested. We agreed to sign some time this week.
Yesterday morning I received a call from the landlord. He told me that he had another couple who were interested and were even prepard to offer more than the original price but "he felt morally obliged towards us as we had seen the place first but he wanted us to sign asap". I was amazed - certainly not what I'd expect from a prospective landlord. In England, there is a term called "gazumping" which means that having had an offer accepted, another person makes a higher offer and the deal which you thought that you had struck is cancelled.
We signed yesterday evening; the landlord and his lawyer (also his son in law) were perfectly charming - very solid types. I guess we got lucky - but in general I have had only positive experiences with landlords in Israel. So maybe I'll conclude that there are some bad landlords out there but being Israeli has nothing to do with it.