The right to offset
According to the law, “debts that the parties owe to each other due to the lease can be offset.”
While in section 20 of the Contracts Act, a similar area is remedied: “Debts that the parties owe to each other under this Act may be set off.”
And in section 53 (a) of the Contracts Law, a general part: “Financial charges that parties owe to each other from one transaction and the time has come for their existence, maybe set off by notice of one party to the other.”).
The idea is simple.
If I owe you and you owe me, we do not owe each other. But the actual application is problematic from several aspects.
First, we are entering here into the realm of ‘self-judgment’ laws at the discretion of every person.
Many times, people do not have the proper judgment, and there is a tendency to over-offset, and then the result is a breach of contract by those who over-offset.
Another thing, no one likes for his money to be deducted.
People prefer things to be done collaboratively rather than unilaterally.
When parties to a contract begin with the set-off method, this is the beginning of a slope that degrades the tenant-landlord relationship.
The right of set-off of the tenant out of the rent paid relates to a large number of laws but can be denied by the lease.
According to the law, the tenant can reduce or offset rent due to non-repair of a defect or non-compliance, or due to self-repair, or according to the countervailing clause and more.
And the question arises as to how a tenant has the power to persuade a landlord to agree to set-off? A tenant will claim that he ‘saves’ the landlord from breach of contract.
Because the landlord must make a defect repair, the tenant remedies the defect and offsets the amount of the repair.
After all, the tenant allows the landlord to correct the violation.
The landlord also has the right of set-off if he has a sum of money as a deposit and must return it to the tenant at the end of the rental period.
As I have explained elsewhere, it will be emphasized that offsetting does not mean punishment.
And in fact, the offsetting device should not worsen the landlord’s situation.
It is only meant to simplify the proceedings between the parties, and in doing so, both to pressure the landlord and upset him.
And if the claimant rightly claims that a reduction in rent due to a defect in the apartment is not a ‘set-off,’ then even if we call it a reduction in practice, the result is the same.
My conclusion in this matter is that a tenant should prioritize setting off from the rent only after obtaining the landlord’s consent.
And in case the tenant has not received the landlord’s permission to offset, then offset carefully and not excessively and only after giving notice.