Church-land in Jerusalem: Overview of Past, Present and Future

A few hundred years ago a variety of different Churches began to purchase blocks of land throughout central areas in Jerusalem, which is where the land gets its name – Churchland.

Once the land was developed into different popular neighborhoods (such as Talbieh and Rechavia to name a few) Leases were drawn up for 99 years. Meaning: People were able to purchase apartments built on this land, however, they would need to renew their lease (and of course, pay a fee to do so) in 99 years. Well, the 99 years will be up in a little over 30 years, and a lot has changed with the ownership of this land since.

Throughout the past few years private investors have been purchasing the rights to the Churchland property directly from the Churches. This means, that when the 99-year lease is up, apartment ownership can get tricky for many of these owners.

With the rights to the Churchland, these private investors can either decide not to renew the lease, or to charge a much higher fee to the apartment owners should they choose to renew the lease. This can create many problems for the owners that may even result of having to sell their apartment, and move somewhere else.

The Keren Kayemet L’srael Fund, the Jerusalem Municipality, and other Jerusalem lawyers are currently trying to mediate between apartment owners and the private investors so that the owners will not find themselves in such a tough situation come 30 years from now.

We sure do hope that an agreement can be made between everyone, and this new change of ownership will be for the better of everyone involved in the situation.