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Electronic Key on Shabbos


I recently signed a 12 months lease for a flat in london after just getting married a couple of weeks ago.

We moved in to find out that there is no keys to access the main building. The only form of entry is by using a fob which is a small piece of plastic that you hold against the door and it opens.

Is there any way we can continue to live here. Should we not be able to we would have to find elsewhere to live and still commit to our contract for 12 months and pay the rent.

Please advise us.

Many thanks


Mazal Tov for your wedding. I wish you many years of joy together.

Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the problem you raise. The key presumably works by means of an electromagnet, which involves closing an electric circuit. Poskim agree that this is forbidden on Shabbos (each for a different reason – mav’ir, makeh be-patish, boneh, or simply rabbinically prohibited; either way, it isn’t permitted).

The only way of getting in and out (if the door is locked) will be to rely on a non-Jew opening the door for you (if there’s no other way, you can ask a non-Jew to open it, though it’s much better if he’s doing it for himself), or somehow to leave the door open (for a short time, when you know when you’ll be coming back).

If you feel it’s not possible, perhaps you can sub-let the apartment.

Best wishes.

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