War of Building Rights

Tama 38 Affects Everyone

Tama 38 is a national plan for strengthening buildings against earthquakes.  The plan stipulates that the contractor reinforcing the building pays all expenses in exchange for the right to build and sell additional apartments in that building.   In the past, consent was required of all of the building’s apartment owners to undertake a Tama 38 project, but a new law requires only a majority of 75% of the apartment owners.  However getting apartment owners on board is still a hurdle on the road to a successful Tama 38 project.

A recent case in Rishon Lezion demonstrates how problematic this can be.   An apartment owner in a building on Shenkin Street submitted a request to the local zoning authority to add a room on the roof of the building.  The other owners in the building objected to his request claiming that they intended to promote a Tama 38 project and they needed the roof in order to offer the Tama 38 contractor the option of building additional apartments on the roof.   Without this incentive there would be no Tama 38 project.

The local authority allowed the building’s apartment owners an additional nine months to put forth a Tama 38 project request.  If by end of that time the residents failed to put forward a request, then the building permit would be granted to the owner who wanted to build an addition on the roof.  If all of the apartment owners (excluding the one who wished build on the roof) submitted a request for a building permit under Tama 38 within the nine months, the permit would be granted.

The apartment owners appealed the decision to the Regional Council claiming that the nine month period is shorter than what is required by the Tama 38 law.  The owner hoping to build privately claimed that the subject of a Tama 38 project had been brought up by the other owners in the past but was not promoted.  The council decided to keep the nine month period in place because the issue of Tama 38 was nothing new to the apartment owners. However, the council did revise the requirement of getting every owner in the building to sign the Tama 38 permit request, because the new law states that 75% of the owners is sufficient.

This case highlights that the rights of the majority can conflict with the rights of the individual regarding Tama 38 and how the authorities can settle this conflict.