Just as a person may make any stipulation that he desires with regard to a purchase or a sale; so, too, may he make any stipulation he desires with regard to a rental. For a rental is a sale for a limited amount of time.

Whenever a person's sale of his property is upheld, the rental of his property will also be upheld. Conversely, when a person is not granted power to sell his property, he may not rent out that property. The only exception is when all he owns is the right to the produce of the property. In such an instance, he may rent out the property, but he may not sell it.


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַּתְנֶה אָדָם כָּל תְּנַאי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה בְּמִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר כָּךְ מַתְנֶה בִּשְׂכִירוּת שֶׁהַשְּׂכִירוּת מְכִירָה לִזְמַן קָצוּב הִיא וְכָל שֶׁמִּמְכָּרוֹ בִּנְכָסָיו מִמְכָּר שׂוֹכֵר שְׂכִירוּתוֹ שְׂכִירוּת. וְכָל שֶׁאֵין לוֹ לִמְכֹּר כָּךְ אֵין לוֹ לִשְׂכֹּר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יֵשׁ לוֹ פֵּרוֹת בִּלְבַד בְּאוֹתָהּ הַקַּרְקַע הֲרֵי זֶה שׂוֹכֵר וְאֵינוֹ מוֹכֵר:


When a person rents out a house to a colleague for a year, and a leap year is declared, the extra month is granted to the tenant. If, by contrast, the agreement is made according to months, the extra month is granted to the owner.

If the rental agreement mentions both months and years, the extra month is granted to the owner. This applies regardless of whether the owner said: "A dinar every month, twelve dinarim a year," or "Twelve dinarim a year, a dinar every month." The rationale is that the land is in the possession of its owner and we may not expropriate anything from the owner of the land without a clear proof.

Similarly, when the owner of a home says: "I rented out the house for a specific time," and the tenant says: "I rented it without any specifics," or "for a longer period," the renter must prove his claim. If he does not prove his claim, the owner may support his claim with a sh'vuat hesset and have the tenant removed from the home.


הַמַּשְׂכִּיר בַּיִת לַחֲבֵרוֹ לְשָׁנָה וְנִתְעַבְּרָה הַשָּׁנָה נִתְעַבְּרָה לַשּׂוֹכֵר. הִשְׂכִּיר לֶחֳדָשִׁים נִתְעַבְּרָה לַמַּשְׂכִּיר. הִזְכִּיר לוֹ חֳדָשִׁים וְשָׁנָה בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ דִּינָר לְחֹדֶשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר דִּינָר בְּשָׁנָה. בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר דִּינָר לְשָׁנָה דִּינָר בְּכָל חֹדֶשׁ. הֲרֵי חֹדֶשׁ הָעִבּוּר שֶׁל מַשְׂכִּיר שֶׁהַקַּרְקַע בְּחֶזְקַת בְּעָלִים וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין דָּבָר מִיַּד בַּעַל הַקַּרְקַע אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה. וְכֵן בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁאָמַר לִזְמַן זֶה הִשְׂכַּרְתִּי לְךָ וְהַשּׂוֹכֵר אוֹמֵר לֹא שָׂכַרְתִּי אֶלָּא סְתָם אוֹ לִזְמַן אָרֹךְ עַל הַשּׂוֹכֵר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת וּמוֹצִיאוֹ מִן הַבַּיִת:


The following rules apply when the tenant claims: "I paid the rent that I was obligated for the house," and the owner claims: "I have yet to collect it." The same rules apply whether the agreement was recorded in a contract or observed by witnesses.

If the owner demands payment within 30 days of the beginning of the rental, the burden of proof is on the renter. Alternatively, he must pay. He may then have a ban of ostracism issued against anyone who took money from him. Or the tenant may lodge a suit against the owner for the money he originally gave him as a separate claim and require the owner to take a sh'vuat hesset.

If the owner demanded payment after 30 days passed or even on the thirtieth day, the owner must bring proof that he was not paid. Otherwise, the tenant may take an oath that he already paid him the rent and thus be released from any obligation.

Similarly, if when the tenant rented the property, he stipulated that he would pay him the rent annually - if the owner demands payment within the year, the tenant is obligated to bring proof that he already paid. If he demands payment after the year - even if he demands payment on the twenty-ninth day of Elul - the owner is obligated to bring proof that he was not paid.


הַשּׂוֹכֵר שֶׁאָמַר נָתַתִּי שְׂכַר הַבַּיִת שֶׁנִּתְחַיַּבְתִּי בּוֹ וְהַמַּשְׂכִּיר אוֹמֵר עֲדַיִן לֹא נָטַלְתִּי בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה בִּשְׁטָר בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה בְּעֵדִים. אִם תְּבָעוֹ בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם עַל הַשּׂוֹכֵר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה אוֹ יִתֵּן וְיַחֲרִים עַל מִי שֶׁלָּקַח מִמֶּנּוּ אוֹ יִטְעֹן עָלָיו בְּדָמִים שֶׁנָּתַן תְּחִלָּה טַעֲנָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ וְיַשְׁבִּיעֵהוּ הֶסֵּת. תְּבָעוֹ הַמַּשְׂכִּיר לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וַאֲפִלּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים עַל הַמַּשְׂכִּיר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה אוֹ יִשָּׁבַע הַשּׂוֹכֵר שֶׁכְּבָר נָתַן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ וְיִפָּטֵר. וְכֵן אִם שָׂכַר מִמֶּנּוּ וּפֵרֵשׁ שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ הַשָּׂכָר שָׁנָה בְּשָׁנָה וּתְבָעוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׁנָה עַל הַשּׂוֹכֵר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה. תְּבָעוֹ לְאַחַר הַשָּׁנָה וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּיוֹם תִּשְׁעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים בֶּאֱלוּל עַל הַמַּשְׂכִּיר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה:


The following rules apply when a person rents out a house to a colleague for ten years, has a rental contract composed, but does not date that contract. If the tenant claims: "Only one year passed from the time the document was composed," but the owner claims: "The entire period of the rental agreement has passed, and you have dwelled in the house for ten years," the tenant is required to bring proof to support his claim. If he does not do so, the owner may take a sh'vuat hesset and compel him to leave the dwelling.


הַמַּשְׂכִּיר בַּיִת לַחֲבֵרוֹ בִּשְׁטָר לְעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים וְאֵין בּוֹ זְמַן הַשּׂוֹכֵר אוֹמֵר עֲדַיִן לֹא עָבַר מִזְּמַן הַשְּׁטָר אֶלָּא שָׁנָה וְהַמַּשְׂכִּיר אוֹמֵר כְּבָר עָבְרוּ וְשָׁלְמוּ שְׁנֵי הַשְּׂכִירוּת וְשָׁכַנְתָּ עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים. עַל הַשּׂוֹכֵר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע הַמַּשְׂכִּיר הֶסֵּת וְיוֹצִיאוֹ:


The following rules apply when a person rents an orchard - or it was entrusted to him as security - for ten years and it dries up. The tenant should sell the trees, purchase land with the proceeds, and benefit from the produce of that land until the conclusion of the rental contract or the period for which the security was entrusted. As a safeguard against the violation of the prohibition against taking interest, both the owner of the orchard - the borrower and the creditor are prohibited against taking the trees themselves that became dried out or were cut down.


הַשּׂוֹכֵר פַּרְדֵּס אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מַשְׁכּוֹן בְּיָדוֹ לְעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים וְיָבֵשׁ הַפַּרְדֵּס בְּתוֹךְ הַזְּמַן יִמָּכְרוּ עֵצָיו וְיִלָּקַח בָּהֶן קַרְקַע וְיֹאכַל פֵּרוֹתָיו עַד סוֹף זְמַן שְׂכִירוּתוֹ אוֹ זְמַן הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן. וְגוּף הָאִילָנוֹת שֶׁיָּבְשׁוּ אוֹ נִקְצְצוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן אֲסוּרִין בָּהֶן מִשּׁוּם רִבִּית הַמַּלְוֶה וְהַלּוֶֹה:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


The following rules apply when a contract for rental or security mentions "years" without stating the number of years. If the tenant claims that the agreement was for three years, and the owner of the land claims that it was for two years, and the renter - or the creditor - came and made use of the produce of the third year, we assume that the produce belonged to the person who made use of it unless the owner of the land brings proof that this is not so.

A difficulty could arise if the tenant or the creditor derived benefit from the property for three years and the legal record became misplaced. If he said: "I am entitled to the produce for five years," and the owner of the land says, "The agreement was only for three," we tell the concerned parties: "Show the legal record."

If the owner says: "It was lost," the tenant's claim is accepted, for if he would have claimed that he had purchased it, his claim would also be accepted since he derived benefit from it for three years.


שְׁטַר הַשְּׂכִירוּת אוֹ שְׁטַר הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ שָׁנִים סְתָם. בַּעַל הַפֵּרוֹת אוֹמֵר שָׁלֹשׁ וּבַעַל הַקַּרְקַע אוֹמֵר שְׁתַּיִם וְקָדַם זֶה הַשּׂוֹכֵר אוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה וְאָכַל הַפֵּרוֹת הֲרֵי הַפֵּרוֹת בְּחֶזְקַת אוֹכְלֵיהֶן עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא בַּעַל הַקַּרְקַע רְאָיָה. אֲכָלָהּ הַשּׂוֹכֵר אוֹ הַמְמַשְׁכֵּן שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְכָבַשׁ הַשְּׁטָר וְאָמַר לְחָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים יֵשׁ לִי פֵּרוֹת וּבַעַל הַקַּרְקַע אוֹמֵר שָׁלֹשׁ אָמְרוּ לוֹ הָבֵא שְׁטָרְךָ וְאָמַר אָבַד הַשּׂוֹכֵר נֶאֱמָן שֶׁאִלּוּ רָצָה אָמַר לְקוּחָה הִיא בְּיָדִי שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲכָלָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים:


The following rules apply when a person brings his produce into his colleague's property without his consent or beguiled him into allowing him to bring in his produce and then left it and departed. The owner of the property may sell that produce in order to pay for workers to take it away and bring it to the market place.

It is pious conduct for the owner of the property to notify the court and rent a storage place with part of the funds in order to prevent the destruction of his colleague's property, even if that colleague acted in an improper manner.


מִי שֶׁהִכְנִיס פֵּרוֹתָיו לְבֵית חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהִטְעוּהוּ עַד שֶׁהִכְנִיס פֵּרוֹתָיו וְהִנִּיחָם וְהָלַךְ יֵשׁ לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת לִמְכֹּר לוֹ מֵאוֹתָן הַפֵּרוֹת כְּדֵי לִתֵּן שְׂכַר הַפּוֹעֲלִים שֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָן וּמַשְׁלִיכִין אוֹתָם לַשּׁוּק. וּמִדַּת חֲסִידוּת הוּא שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ לְבֵית דִּין וְיַשְׂכִּירוּ מִמִּקְצָת דְּמֵיהֶן מָקוֹם מִשּׁוּם הֶשֵּׁב אֲבֵדָה לַבְּעָלִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה כַּהֹגֶן:


The following rules apply when a person rents a mill from a colleague on the condition that the renter will grind 20 se'ah of grain for the owner every month as rent and afterwards, the owner of the mill became wealthy. Since he no longer needs to have his grain ground there he asks the renter to pay him the equivalent of the wage he would earn for grinding the 20 se'ah.

If the renter has wheat of his own or of others that he can grind instead, we compel him to pay the owner the wage he receives for grinding 20 se'ah. Not to pay him would be an expression of the qualities of Sodom. If the renter does not have wheat of his own or customers, he may tell the owner: "I don't have the funds. I am prepared to grind grain for you, as stated in the rental agreement. If you don't need this, sell the ground wheat to others." Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


הַשּׂוֹכֵר רֵחַיִם מֵחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁיִּטְחֹן לוֹ עֶשְׂרִים סְאָה בְּכָל חֹדֶשׁ בִּשְׂכָרוֹ וְהֶעֱשִׁיר בַּעַל הָרֵחַיִם וַהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִטְחֹן שָׁם אִם יֵשׁ לַשּׂוֹכֵר חִטִּים שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לִטְחֹן לְעַצְמוֹ אוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לִתֵּן דְּמֵי טְחִינַת עֶשְׂרִים סְאָה שֶׁזּוֹ מִדַּת סְדוֹם הִיא. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ יָכוֹל לוֹמַר אֵין לִי דָּמִים וַהֲרֵינִי טוֹחֵן לְךָ כְּמוֹ שֶׁשָּׂכַרְתִּי וְאִם אֵין אַתָּה צָרִיךְ מְכֹר לַאֲחֵרִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה: