Vegan landlady roasted for banning tenants from cooking meat and fish in their own home

Vegan landlady roasted for banning tenants from cooking meat and fish in their own home
Upset Vegans have beef with neighbour

A landlady has been accused of “outrageous” and “control freakish” behaviour for setting unusually harsh restrictions for prospective tenants.

The homeowner used an estate agent to advertise her two “spacious, sun-drenched” apartments in Brooklyn, New York, which were valued at $4,500 (£3,580) and $5,750 (£4,490) per month.

When you’re charging such eye-watering rates, you’d hope these flats – with “spectacular outdoor spaces” – would be pretty exceptional homes.

And yet, for many interested parties, the dream was shattered when they spotted that the “wonderful vegan landlord” had one eye-catching house rule: “No meat/fish in the building."

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Andrea Kelly, the agent managing the flat, explained to the New York Times (NYT) why the landlady had made such a strict stipulation.

She told the paper that the apartments weren’t, technically, “vegetarian-only,” but added that “the owner lives in the building and doesn’t want the smell of cooking meat drifting upstairs.”

To be fair, this means that tenants could enjoy the likes of sushi, ham sandwiches and even meaty takeaways without causing a scene. But woe betide anyone harbouring hopes of a Sunday roast or sausages barbecued in their “spectacular outdoor space”.

The owner, Michal Arieh Lerer, refused to speak to a NYT reporter about her controversial regulation, but her ex-husband, who co-owns the building and is also vegan, admitted that they’d refused to rent their property out to keen carnivorous cooks since they bought it in 2007.

“It’s not about discrimination,” ex-husband Motti Lerer insisted. “You have to fit into the building.”

The smaller of the two apartments is stunning but comes with a pretty moderately-sized kitchenDouglas Elliman

For anyone wondering whether this could legally be classed as discrimination, the answer is, perhaps surprisingly, no.

New York’s Human Rights Law lists 14 characteristics that landlords must not consider when choosing a potential tenant. These include age, race, family status, and sexual orientation – there's no mention of dietary preferences.

Lucas A. Ferrara, an adjunct professor at New York Law School told the NYT that an interested renter might be able to fight the meat ban if they could prove that they had a medical condition which required some sort of “reasonable accommodation” on the landlord’s part.

Still, we’re not familiar with many illnesses whose sufferer needs to regularly fry steaks or grill fish as a matter of urgency.

The original listing which caused such a stir was taken down from on Friday, a day after it was posted.

However, the apartments are still listed on the estate agent’s own site, although there’s no mention of the cooked veg-only policy.

The listings do note: “Cats welcome on a case-by-case basis (only one, please).”

We just hope those felines are happy to forgo mouse hunts or particularly pungent meal pouches, for their sake.

Social media commentators have shared their horror at the meat-free rule, with a number suggesting Lerer "shouldn't be a landlord".

One Facebook user wrote: "[She] can’t just tell people they can’t cook meat in a home they rent off [her]. It’s like telling a kid they can not play with toys."

Another said: "Well I hope they/them enjoy paying the mortgage when they get no tenants."

But a third suggested tenants should just find a way around the restrictions. "[Her] property, [her] rules," they pointed out, before adding: "If you lie to [her] and cook meat while [she] doesn't get to know then it's a win-win situation."

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