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Shmitta in garden of shared apartment

Question:

We bought an apartment to rent out in a secular area. The building has a garden, which might be watered and worked on in shmittah. What are our obligations in this regard? We don’t know yet who will be paying vaad bayit.

Answer:

Thank you for your very practical question.

Many people in Eretz Yisroel apartments in secular areas, which are rented to secular people. You should do the following. If you will not be able to dissuade them from doing melacha during shemitta, you should declare your part in the garden hefker in front of three people. If your wife’s name is also on the purchasing contract of the apartment, she should also do the same. Additionally, if you are paying vaad bayit, mention to them that you don’t want them to work on the garden during shemitta, and if they won’t listen, then tell them that the part that you are paying should go for cleaning the building and other expenses.

Best wishes

Sources:

Derech Emuna (Shmitta V’yovel) chap. 1-9, Shmitta Khilchos 1-6.

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