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When someone moves from one rental apartment to another, may they take mezuzot from their old apartment and use them for the new one?

Let's assume that the next tenants in the old apartment and the previous tenants in new apartment are very likely not Jewish (so it cannot be expected that they will take proper care of the mezuzot that are left or that the new apartment will have mezuzot from the old tenants).

Thank you!

  • What about the building owner? Are they Jewish? – user6591 Sep 8 '14 at 22:26
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    Hi k-zar! You should make sure to check with your local rabbi who can appreciate the specifics of your situation. Anything you read here is just stuff you hear from friends, as we aren't a Rabbi nor do we want to pretend to be one. – Double AA Sep 8 '14 at 22:29
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    I took the liberty of de-personalizing your question, in reflection of what @DoubleAA said. Welcome to Mi Yodeya! – Y     e     z Sep 9 '14 at 0:01
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When I moved apartments, I was given the following psak from R' Yosef Berger:

When you leave an apartment, the expectation is that the landlord will be doing some level of renovations, painting, replacing carpets and the like. The crew that does the maintenance will most likely not care about your mezusas. Therefore, even if you know that a Jew is moving in after you, if the norm is for the apartment to be repaired/touched up between tenants, then you should take your mezuzos with you.

As always, consult your personal Halachic authority.

  • Interesting psak, I wish I had received the same when moving and having to leave 13 mezuzot behind.... On the other side the notes to artscroll's Kitzur Shulchan Aruch cite Tosfot to Baba Metzia 101b that taking off the mezuzot is viewed as causing damage to the future residents since the mezuzot afford protection tho the house. So I can see the rationale for leaving them there – mbloch Dec 24 '15 at 16:04
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The main point is if the landlord or tenants will be Jewish and maintain the mezuzahs. In any case, you may change the (expensive) cases for cheap cases as the case is not the mezuzah but a way of keeping it safe or an adornment. There are many sources on the net and here is one of them.

Mezuzahs While Moving

CHAPTER 7

Mezuzahs While Moving

QUESTION: What if I am in the midst of moving and I temporarily own two homes. Which one requires mezuzahs?

ANSWER: If you are actually living in both homes, or storing items in both homes, then you are obligated to have mezuzahs in both homes.

QUESTION: Am I obligated to leave my mezuzahs up after moving?

ANSWER:

When moving to another house or apartment, mezuzahs should not be removed, unless:

The new tenant is a non-Jew, A new tenant did not move in, and there is concern that were the mezuzahs to be left behind, in all probability they would become defaced.

QUESTION: May I remove my mezuzahs if the new Jewish tenant has his own mezuzahs?

ANSWER: It is preferred that the new tenant or owner should remove your mezuzahs, or he should at least instruct you to remove your mezuzahs. This halacha is a very serious matter and should not be treated lightly. Rather, an observant Rabbi should instruct you what to do.

QUESTION: What if the new owner is Jewish and he wants my mezuzahs, am I obligated to leave all of my mezuzahs behind?

ANSWER: Yes. You may, however exchange the mezuzahs themselves for less expensive ones, providing that they are 100% kosher. The mezuzah cases may certainly be exchanged for the least expensive mezuzah covers.

You may also demand the new owner or tenant to pay you for the mezuzahs. He will then be obligated to compensate for the mezuzahs at fair market value. If he refuses to pay for them, an observant Rabbi should be contacted. This Halacha is a very serious matter.

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