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A Crowd-Displeaser

The owner of the condo wanted me to draft a new lease for her. I asked if there terms would be similar to the lease I’d done a few years ago so I could save her some money.

“No, I’ve learned a lot being a landlord. I have a lot more restrictions this time,” she said, and dictated a laundry list of prohibitions, including no fire in the fireplace, no dogs who bark, no music or TV after midnight, no large loads in the washer or dryer, all showers under 10 minutes, and no “ethnic cooking.”

I wondered how enforceable many of the conditions would be, but more importantly, I was concerned that “ethnic cooking” was a coded phrase that could be deemed discriminatory.

“I see what you mean,” she concurred, “but I paid $500 in fines to the condo because the last tenants cooked Indian food every single day and all the neighbors complained.”

How about a universal lease provision such as the tenant must control odors? My client refused, insisting that “you can’t control the stink of curry.”

I shared with her that my father used to say that about plain old steamed cauliflower, and that wouldn’t fall under any cultural cuisine that I knew about.

“I thought you were on my side,” she feebly protested, before saying, “Fine. Just say if the neighbors smell your cooking you must stop making that dish.”

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