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?

5 comments:

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 www.mylawyer.com:

"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:

race
religion
ethnic background or national origin
sex
age
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.