Tenancy Agreement with Interest-penalty clause

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Dear Rabbi Simon,

I hope you are well. I wondered if you could assist please with a Shailah [halakhic question].

I currently use a Standard AST [Assured Short Term Tenancy] agreement for when I rent out properties to tenants. There is a clause in the contract which states that if a tenant is late paying rent then the landlord will charge interest of a daily base amount. This is sometimes done between two Jews, as many of the people I deal with are Jewish.
I was just thinking, is this OK for me to do? I am not getting any benefit from this and it is a standard clause in the agreement. It is also very rare a tenant does not pay rent, but just wanted to check as I know that we should not charge interest to Jews and just wondered if there was any anything wrong with this as I am supplying the agreements?


Dear Donna

TY for your interesting question. In the circumstances you describe, you may leave the standard formula in the contract as it is. Note that this guidance is specific to the question as you have formulated it.


Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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