New York Apartment Building


  • Nearby locals said that the owner is out of the line and has no say on what people can or cannot eat
  • As to the legality of the preference, it seems that the landlord's rule is well within her rights to do so
  • A tenant may challenge the meat ban if they need meat- or fish-based food for a medical condition

A vegan landlord in New York City refuses to let meat or fish eaters rent at his spacious apartment in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, according to an online listing.

The landlord, Michal Arieh Lerer, was described in the listing as a "wonderful vegan landlord," the New York Times reported. But she had only reserved the two pricey one-bedroom apartments at 90 South Oxford, especially for those on a plant-based diet.

The broker of the properties, however, said the owner is only prohibiting on-site cooking of meat and fish, but tenants are still free to order meat- and fish-based dishes.

"It's not vegetarian-only, but the owner lives in the building and doesn't want the smell of cooking meat drifting upstairs," broker Andrea Kelly from Douglas Elliman told a prospective tenant at an open house Sunday.

Both the landlord and the broker refused to comment when the New York Post tried to contact them about the meat ban.

Meanwhile, nearby locals said the owner is out of line and has no say on what people can or cannot eat.

"You can't tell people what to eat and what not to eat," a superintendent of a nearby building told the Post. "That ain't right. I wouldn't be able to rent there."

Lerer's ex-husband, Motti, also a vegan, defended their decision, saying the rule has nothing to do with discrimination.

"It's not about discrimination," he said. "You have to fit into the building."

As to the legality of the preference, it seems that the landlord's rule is well within her rights to do so since under the city's Human Rights Law, dietary preference is not one of the 14 listed characteristics that landlords are not allowed to consider in deciding whether to rent an apartment to someone.

However, a tenant may challenge the meat ban if, for medical reasons, they need to have meat- or fish-based food.

This would trigger some "reasonable accommodation" on the landlord's part, New York Law School professor Lucas Ferrara told the New York Times.

"Absent an exception of that type," Ferrara said, "the restriction would otherwise be permissible."

A curious couple who did not know about the meat ban and was in the area to check out the apartments were shocked to learn the rule.

"Oh, we don't fulfill those requirements," the woman, Tessa Ruben, said.

When her partner, Darian Ghassemi, thought they ordered a lot of food anyway, they decided to take a gander at the apartment.

However, they were not accommodated because they didn't have a scheduled appointment.
Ruben said that it was probably for the best.

"What makes me more nervous than the rule itself is knowing there's someone upstairs making sure you follow it," she told the Times.

New York's tenant laws permit renters to withhold rent when there is a problem with the apartment, a right that can give renters leverage in court
AFP / Angela Weiss