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Suppose a Jew will be vacating an apartment or other property rented from a gentile. In such a case, he is permitted to take down his mezuzos before leaving. How long before actually moving out may he take down the mezuzos? Must it be during the last day of the lease, the last minute of the lease, or after the lease ends? Or may he pack up his mezuzos in the normal process of packing his things?

Hypothesis: Based on the laws of eiruvim, it seems to me that food plays a role in the halachic definition of "one's own" dwelling. Therefore, I would suppose that he may take down and pack his mezuzos as soon as he has removed all his food (or perhaps only his bread) from the property.

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    The mezuzah protects you. You should keep it up as long as you would like to have protection. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 19 '16 at 16:07
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    @avrohom It protects you by helping you fulfill a mitzvah. The question is when does the mitzvah end. – Double AA Jun 19 '16 at 18:43
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R Eliyahu Yaniger, a sofer at mezuzah.net (question 78) writes

Your mezuzot should remain in the house as long as you are living there. Ownership is not what matters, but whether you are actually living in the house. If you have moved to your new place, even if the old one is not yet sold, you may remove the mezuzot. If you haven't yet moved out, keep the mezuzot on.

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