Ah Yes, The Curry Defense

I guess he wouldn’t like my hanging of salted fish by the window or my wife’s love for durian…


Interesting. I do agree that South Asian cooking leaves a very strong smell in house (I don’t think it is due to curry but likely other spices). I have being in vacant units (vacant for 1+ months and professionally cleaned) and have smelled this.

I’m sure other types of cooking also leave some smell, like Chinese stirfry. But somehow South Asian lingering food smell in residence is very strong and immediately noticeable. I suspect others folks might eat more variety of food, so there is less repetition of the same smell over and over. Plus possibly also the strength of the spices & smell.

Right, so is it really discrimination (based on skin color)? He said he rents to African-Americans…

It’s not discrimination based on skin color, but then is discrimination only based on skin color? Are other types of discrimination OK?

Just throwing it out there for discussion…

And, I am only discussing :wink:

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This is absolutely discrimination. But then people discriminate based on many things. Some people discriminate against section 8 low income. Some only rent to people who can speak their own language. Some only rent to women. You just have to be smart about your actions so you don’t get flagged for being blatantly racist.

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Can the smells ever be considered more than just normal wear and tear on your property?

Smart and also relatively a small fish. When a LL owning one SFH subtly discriminates, no one complains. But when someone owning hundreds of units discriminates, it’s a problem since it affects so many people.

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Good point. I wouldn’t think so.
And, a smarter move on this particular case would have been to add an extra mandatory cost at move out for deodorizing the unit. That way, if the concern really was odors and not a facade for racial discrimination, then LL is protected against all kinds of smells and all curry-loving tenants :smiley_cat:

Interesting article. My previous landlord actually mentioned this being a problem. He said we weren’t allowed to paint the walls black because “A friend had an issue where it took 3 coats of paint to get rid of the black paint and the curry smell.”

Can’t he just forbid anyone from cooking curry? Then it wouldn’t be racist at all.

But yes, definitely all sorts of smells damage a property–pet smells, food smells, urine smells (human or pet), smoking smells.

Not just their food, they like to use some kind of oils on their body. Sweet curry attract ants too. If we can discriminate against pet lovers and smokers, why not cooking? In any case, I think his cooking setup is for western cooking. My setup is for Chinese and Indian cooking, strong fan in cooker hood and real big one that cover the entire cooktop, not the silly microwave oven cum fan. Wooden floor has special smell that repel insects. So can rent to South Asians no problem. Every change in tenant, just call in professional to clean and de-odorize the house, easily solved.

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It would be better and easier to just put in a clause for mandatory cleaning/deodorizing fees. Then, irrespective of race/ethnicity, if property has any smell (curry, pet urine, durian, etc etc); LL deducts cost to make things right plus an admin fee for the pain. Money solves most problems!

Seeing this clause either curry cooking tenants will not rent the place, or LL will be adequately compensated.

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That’s the thing, in practice a tenant to be is not going to see this clause until accepted for the most part. I suppose you can mention that you do charge for mandatory cleaning to all prospective applicants so that no one can say you discriminated.


That’s what I was proposing. Use it as a deterrent. Be transparent and upfront about it. And be fair when collecting the fees at move out. That’ll cover you as LL without being discriminatory.


Did a search of the forums and found this topic which I’m hoping to get more thoughts on.

Saw a property that looked wonderfully staged and freshly spiffied up (new paint, completely clean, etc), but there was clearly a lingering scent from what smells like South Asian spices.

It’s a mystery what else may be left to do to try to remove the smell given how nice the property looked.

I did some googling and read stories about how difficult it is to remove the smell (multiple pro carpet cleanings doesn’t completely remove the odor, heating and cooling duct work are affected, absorbs into the wooden cabinets and flooring, etc.). Sounds challenging.

Does anyone have experience with completely eliminating those sorts of lingering odors? What steps need to be taken and what are the costs?

From a landlording perspective, for your rentals, do you pass those extra cleaning costs onto the tenant or would they challenge you about a smell they can’t smell?

One Google search result I found involved a tenant who denied there was any smell and was asking others if the landlord was just trying to pull a fast one with the security deposit. Almost everyone with few exceptions said the landlord was in the wrong and likely racist (yikes!). A few spoke up and said it’s not a scam and not racism, they just want their properties returned to its original condition without any lingering smells that many prospective tenants don’t like. They were pretty much dismissed.

I had a party from that country stay at our Airbnb property for 2 nights (New Year’s party) and it took me 6+ weeks to get the curry smell out. I had to keep all windows and patio doors fully wide open, put 6 big box fans on the window sills and ran them for 6+ weeks straight.

Not a good situation to have the house wide open when I live 20 minutes away. During the rain season, to make it worse.

They were there for a New Year’s party only. I cannot imagine how bad it would be if they had stayed several months. Oh, this was brand new construction and could not be listed until March, I think.

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Does the house have a curry discount? If so how much?

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@ptiemann, wow :flushed:!

@manch, if only there was a chance to negotiate a discount. The area is very popular with Indian buyers, so they’ll have no problems selling to someone who’ll love the place just as it is.

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I flipped a house with curry smells that lingered. Repainted replaced the carpets and put fresh ground coffee in all the kitchen cabinets in bowls for a week. Coffee works