A vegan landlord in New York has demanded prospective tenants not to cook meat or fish at his property as he lives in the building and would be disturbed, a request that not only seems sensible and consistent but is also legal under New York law.

The property listing in Brooklyn advertised two townhouse apartments in Fort Greene for a price of $4,500 and $5,750 a month, but among the conditions for the rent are that tenants are not allowed to cook meat or fish in the building, as the landlords, who lived in the block, do not want to have to smell the burned flesh of sentient beings.

The tenants do not need to be vegan or even vegetarian, and they can eat takeaway meat if they so wish, but the cooking is another story as it would disturb their vegan neighbours and infringe on their rights. New York City’s Human Rights laws dictate that landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants regarding 14 specific characteristics (such as race, sexual orientation, etc.) but diet or cooking habits are not on the list, which means that technically the landlord’s request does not appear to be unlawful.

Motti Lerer, the landlord, said to Bon Appetit, “I’m not going to try to convince people to become vegan. As a landlord, it’s not the way to do it because I’m coming from a place of power, and that is wrong. It’s much more about the smell and how we feel living in the buildings. I wish I could show people what eating meat means for the animals, but I don’t try to sway my tenants this way. People think we are discriminating. But most people also start to drool when they smell meat. I try to explain it like smoking, loud music, or partying all the time.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.