Your apartment is set up and ready to go and then the hiccups begin. I have provided for you tidbits of information and experiences I have had in this area that will help you minimize those bumps. Make sure you clarify which issues you have to cover and which your baal dirah has to cover. In addition are references for all these services that you may need throughout your stay in Israel.
My wife and I returned to our apartment after Pesach one year and we started noticing bees in our bedroom. We couldn’t locate the source of these bees. We called an exterminator who located the hive (in the wall from the outside) but failed tremendously in destroying the hive. He was obnoxious and very unhelpful. He even sealed up our window so we couldn’t open our window. On top of all this, he charged a fortune, 750 NIS. After coming back twice and still not getting rid of the bees, we decided to call someone else. This second exterminator was way more erlich. He told us the other guy was a ganav for charging so much and that it will only cost 250 NIS. He did the job and we haven’t seen a bee since. He gave me his business card, which was written on a book on emuna and bitachon. The name of his service is Ahavat Shalom and he can be reached at 025822148. From my experience and hearing others, most exterminating services should be between 250 and 450 NIS. Anything above that, you’re probably getting ripped off.
It is not uncommon in Israel that your electricity blows. There are many different reasons why this could be happening. It may be because you have many large appliances running at once such as a dryer, washing machine, and three air conditioners, or you have a faulty appliance that is blowing the fuse. To figure out which appliance is blowing the fuse, go to the electric box and turn on the switches one at a time. The switch that triggers all the others to fall is the one that is problematic. Call an electrician to come down. If the fuse blows and `none of the switches are down, a regular electrician will not be able to fix it – you must contact the Israeli Electric Company (IEC) to send one of their guys down to asses the problem. Again, these are large issues that your baal dirah is most likely responsible for.
Over the years, we have had many handymen come over to fix small issues that were pushed off for months until it came to a point where we couldn’t push it off anymore. As mentioned above, some issues are definitely the baal dirah’s responsibility in which case you want to be in touch with him or his apartment manager. But for the small jobs, there are so many handymen advertising, it’s hard to know which are good and won’t rip you off.
A problem almost every apartment has is mold. Mold is most common in the bathroom because there is a lot of moisture and it doesn’t get aired out. In order to avoid mold build-up, keep windows open, especially after showering. Mold either comes from the moisture or because there is a leak somewhere and the water is pooling up in the walls.
The do it yourself solution to the mold problem is to scrub the moldy area with bleach. This will temporarily get rid of the mold but it will come back with a vengeance.
The other option is to hire a painter who scrapes off the mold and coats your walls and ceiling with an anti-mold paint which should last for a few years.
A recommended service for this is called Walls R Us Painting. The information is as follows:
Walls R Us
Phone Number: 0526119500
One of the first things people do when they settle in Israel is they sign up for the internet. Whether they’re here for the six-month honeymoon or the long haul, signing up for the internet and having Wi-Fi is a must for most. There is only so long you can bum it off your neighbor for (unless they go 50/50 of course). The main service people use is Bezeq. You call Bezeq and they come down to your house to set it up. They should be able to come the day you call. Their number is 039203008. Make sure you record the information that you set up with them such as the username, password, and the landline that comes with your service, even if you don’t actually get a physical landline. In addition, make sure to put a password on your Wi-Fi unless you enjoy having yeshiva guys and seminary girls sitting in front of your building. The more usage, the slower your internet will go.
When you call to get internet service, there are two things you are signing up for תשתית and ספק (“Sapak”). Bezeq is the תשתית and the ספק is the provider. Xphone (018) or Netvision are examples of providers. In order to get Wi-Fi, both are required. Make sure you are paying both. There are some plans available from Bezeq where you just pay one bill to bezeq and it includes the תשתית and the ספק. With other plans, it will be two separate bills. Bezeq sometimes will have a deal that for the first year of subscription, they will pay the provider and then from then on, you must pay it. There is a good chance the provider won’t reach out to you to get your information to continue charging you for the second year and on. In that case, you must call up and provide your information such as your email address and your credit card information so you pick up the bill when Bezeq stops paying it. If you don’t take over that bill, you can be billed years later for a large sum of money.
I personally experienced this because I was unaware that I needed to pay both and take over after the first year. Only after five years did the provider shut off my internet and they were claiming that they wouldn’t turn it back on until I paid. I felt that I was being wronged because I had never received a bill from the provider in four years (officially starting from after the first year I signed up with Bezeq). It didn’t make sense to me that it was my responsibility to call up to give my information. If they were providing me a service for so many years, they should have sent me the bills. So after a long yelling match between me and the customer service lady, she agreed to a 15% Hanacha (discount). I told her she can keep her agurot (pennies), and demanded a higher discount. I was only adamant because I was told by people that the provider was completely at fault and should provide a more reasonable discount. After speaking to a manager, I was fiiiiinally granted a 25% discount. The point of the story is to be clear on the plan that you sign up for and what it includes so you can avoid such headaches.