The Va’ad Habayit system was founded in 1968 in Israel. A va’ad habayit is basically a “committee of an apartment buildings owners” who take responsbility for managing funds that are contributed by each apartment owner for the upkeep of common areas and related services, such as elevator and garden maintenance, the costs of communal heating and hot water systems, cleaning, gardening, and National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) for the cleaner/s. The amount varies enormously in accord with the type of services provided, and is usually collected on a monthly basis. A va’ad head is elected or appointed to ensure that the cleaning is done, supplies paid for and that everything, including repairs to the roof, is shared equally among all the residents in the building.
Also initiated in 1968, the Assocation for Better Housing (Ha’aguda letarbut hadiyur), a non-profit organization was formed to help protect tenants’ rights in apartment blocks. To become a member of the association, each apartment owner needs to pay NIS 25 per year to receive legal services and council. In a 2007 interview with jpost.com, Sami Israel, the legal advisor to the Association for Better Housing, estimated that 80 percent of the apartment buildings in Tel Aviv subscribed to the va’ad habayit system. The person who volunteers to head the va’ad, says Israel, needs to take care of all the maintenance problems associated with the building. “Usually no one wants this position,” he notes, “but it is an important one, especially to ensure that property values increase. We check houses where there is no va’ad. They are dirty and no one wants to live there – the value of the house goes down. Where there is a va’ad in place you can see a garden and other facilities that are well maintained.”