“My home is my castle” my no longer apply in Israel.
On Monday the Knesset approved the first reading of a bill that would further restrict the rights of homeowners over their property.
The bill, which comes as the latest in a series of laws concerning “pinui binui” [evacuate and build] urban renewal projects, would make it easier for companies to replace small or aging apartment buildings with larger, modernized ones.
Pinui binui programs have been promoted for years with laws offering companies incentives including tax benefits.
There have been few successful pinui binui projects, however, due in large part to opposition from residents who do not wish to exchange their homes.
In the framework of pinui binui projects, developers demolish buildings in areas designated for urban renewal, and replace them with larger, modernized buildings. Developers provide current residents with temporary housing while their old homes are demolished, and gives them apartments in the new building once it is completed.
Developers benefit from the arrangement by expanding the size of the building, selling off the added housing units.
To undertake such a project, developers require the consent of current residents, who must agree to the arrangement and vacate their homes. Development firms like the Manos Group complain that construction in high-demand areas is often blocked by a minority of building residents who refuse to participate in the apartment swap.
A pinui binui law passed in 2006 already puts obstinate residents under heavy pressure to comply, giving their neighbors the right to sue them for not enabling the project to take place.
The new law, however, would empower judges to force owners into complying and expel them from their apartments if 80 percent of the building’s residents signed on to the project.
The law, which was proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), is backed by the coalition and is likely to pass the two final readings in the Knesset.