November 24, 2009

Second-Hand Curry

Landlords currently have the right to refuse lodging to smokers. Should landlords have the right to refuse service to people who cook traditional Indian fare?

I lived in a majority Indian apartment complex the year after college. The complex itself smelled noticeably of curry. I got used to it. But, when I transferred my coat closet to my new apartment the next year, I realized that my coats were ruined.

Last week, I attended a non-Indian friend's party. Walking in the door, I was overcome with the odor. Our theory is that a neighbor above or below must cook Indian fare, and the fragrance comes through the vents. After this 6-hour event, our clothes were married to the spice.

While second-hand smoking laws are obviously present due to the health risks involved, and second-hand curry is merely a nuisance - if you were a landlord, would you be worried about leasing to Indian tenants?


chris said...

Your apartment smells, too. But it smells like a scent more pleasing to you. A nuisance smell is only a nuisance in the nose of the beholder.

Eric Olsen said...

exactly. and if your market is largely non-Indian based, would you be worried about leasing to Indian tenants?

Kara said...

Well, for starters, it's against the law. From

"The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code §§ 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as:

ethnic background or national origin
the fact that the prospective tenant has children (except in certain designated senior housing), or
a mental or physical disability.
In addition, some state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on a person's marital status or sexual orientation."

Second, from a cultural sensitivity stand point, this question seems pretty insensitive. Don't you think Indian friends and acquaintances would be offended by this?

Third, I remember a certain person's college apartment to have a very bad odor, which was a result of a lack of basic cleaning. I think I would take a curry smell over that. :)

Eric Olsen said...

if here's not a safe place to think out loud, i don't know how we're going to get any smarter.

Angela said...

2nd hand curry smells considerably better than 2nd hand old person cooking. That's usually fish, or overdone chicken, with a tinge of burn on it.

I love the comment about this being a safe place to think out loud. I think I'm going to like it here.

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