ז׳ בטבת ה׳תשע״ז (January 5, 2017)

Bava Metzia 101a-b: Rental Terms

Beginning with the Mishnayot on today’s daf, the theme of the perek switches to renting houses or apartments.

The first Mishna lists protections that are offered to tenants to ensure that they will not find themselves homeless. According to the Mishna, there are differences between houses in rural areas and those in the city, and between different times of the year. Thus, in rural areas, if no specific time is agreed upon, a tenant cannot be removed from the house he is renting during the winter (from Sukkot until Pesaḥ) since during that time it is difficult to obtain housing. During the summer, the owner must give the tenant 30 days notice before moving him out. In cities, where there is always a shortage of housing, a full year of notice must be given. These protections are mutual in that the tenant must warn the owner in advance, as well, if he plans to move.

With regard to commercial property, the Mishna requires that in all circumstances notice must be given 12 months in advance, since the renter must be given time to collect debts, make preparations, and so forth. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel rules that some types of commercial renters – bakers and dyers – must be given notice three years in advance. The Gemara explains that it is because hekefan merubeh. While most commentaries explain this to mean that they extend loans for a longer period of time, the Meiri rejects this approach, arguing that their credit lines do not differ significantly from those of other artisans. The Meiri suggests that this term refers to the specialized structure that these types of workers need for work and storage. Since these are going to be difficult to find, the tenants must be given a longer time in order to arrange to move their businesses into appropriate housing.

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