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Am I Allowed to Prepay For a Bungalow Rental? 

Rabbi Yosef Kushner

Case: I want to rent a bungalow for the summer and I found one that is available. The owner says that I can reserve the bungalow if I sign a lease and prepay now, while it is still wintertime. 

Question: Is this a problem of pesika

Answer: There’s a shailah in the Rishonim if one can prepay for a rental before the renter is ready to move in. Some forbid it because of pesika, while others permit it and say that it is considered prepaying because the renter is making a kinyan now by signing the lease for the rental. 

Rav Akiva Eiger writes that it certainly is prohibited to pay in advance if the rental is not usable now at all. He says that it would only be permitted if the renter could technically move into the house now, but not if the rental is not usable right now. Since a bungalow is locked up and not usable during the winter, it would seemingly present a problem. 

This is also very relevant when booking wedding halls. If a person books a hall and the venue asks for payment in advance, it could be argued that the hall is not available to him until the night of his simcha, which would mean that prepaying would be a problem. (Asking only for a deposit would not be a problem. It would only be problematic if the hall asks for a larger advance payment.) Rav Akiva Eiger seems to take the view that this is a problem; therefore, if the hall demands payment in advance, some sort of heter iska should be used. 

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