Tel Aviv is a popular destination for international students in the summer and an inviting area for those involved with hi-tech or looking to experience life in the Jewish State. Finding housing here can be very difficult for young people and if you don’t speak Hebrew this may prove to be even more of a challenge. But we’re here to help you navigate your way.
Summer Sublets: Finding a summer sublet can be difficult. Many international programs house students at dorms or hostels, and it’s not a bad idea to try contacting the dorms to see if they have extra rooms. Check out the B’nei Dan Hostel for one of these options.
Summer sublets will be more expensive per month than full year renting. You can expect to pay between 2000-3000 NIS for a shared summer sublet, with the price increasing if it is a one-bedroom apartment. Studios are rare in the city, so prepare to have at least one roommate.
Finding an apartment takes effort and sublets close quickly. If moving to Israel for the summer, it might be best to arrive one or two weeks before your job starts and stay with friends (if possible) while looking. Use Facebook and any other connections you might have—it is not impolite to ask anyone you meet if they know of an open apartment, which is the way most people end up finding a place!
Long-Term Stays: Finding a long-term apartment in Tel Aviv from overseas is not an easy task and most frequently done through online sites. However, to avoid a scam or misrepresentation of an apartment, it’s best to try to find an apartment the Israeli way, i.e. through newspapers (which are written in Hebrew) or a broker. Plan to come for a few days and do your hunting in the city. Long-term stays require a little more consideration of cost, location, and space—so it’s best to decide on the ground which neighborhood suits you best.
Rentable Neighborhoods: For cheap housing surrounded by cheap bars and restaurants and crawling with young people, definitely check out the Florentin area. While it may have bohemian atmosphere of a dusty Middle-Eastern Brooklyn, its apartments are generally newer, nicer, and cheaper.
If you’re working in hi-tech and can boast a hi-tech salary to boot, you may want to live near Rothschild Boulevard. Think a kinder, gentler Financial District, but with Bauhaus mansions and tree-lined bike lanes. This area is very expensive, but the location’s proximity to top restaurants, stores, culture, and the beach make it worth having to live in a smaller apartment.
The Old Port of Jaffa and its surrounding area are steeped in ancient history and modern culture alike. It’s a very trendy area but can be distant from the center of the city, although its proximity to up-and-coming Florentin and the beach is a plus.
These are just examples of the main areas young professionals tend to frequent. However, many parts of Tel Aviv offer nice housing at a relatively affordable rate. Revisit the neighborhood section for more ideas on neighborhood personalities.
Using the Internet: When looking online for housing, there are a couple of options. There are two Facebook groups (one in Hebrew and one in English), which post open apartments. EasyExpat.com offers a consolidated list of housing websites and how-to guides for expats moving to Tel Aviv.
Another good temporary option is to use the travel apartment-renting website Airbnb. Other good resources are the Hebrew housing websites Yad2 and Homeless. They aren’t very user-friendly and Google Translate doesn’t work well with the sites, so it’s best to use it with an Israeli friend if your Hebrew isn’t strong. Beware of the Israeli Craigslist, especially any post that seems too good to be true or asks to wire money without ever seeing the apartment.
Brokers: Apartment brokers, which can be found everywhere in Tel Aviv, can also help. Most Israelis rely on a broker for helping to find an apartment, but you’ll probably get a better deal if you bring along a native Israeli or a Hebrew speaker, if you’re not fluent.
Amenities: Because Tel Aviv is a relatively new city, many of the buildings have yet to be renovated since their original construction. Don’t arrive with super high expectations in terms of modern utilities and appliances and you won’t be disappointed. Parking and laundry machines are rarely included, and you’ll usually have to pay extra for utilities and Wi-Fi.