Landlord Wants to Evict Tenant for Bringing Meat Into 'Vegetarian Apartment'

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Jul. 21 2020, Updated 3:16 p.m. ET

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Source: iStock Photo / Reddit

This post in Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" is the most ridiculous thing you will read all day. And I am also living in 2020. But I swear this is next-level. 

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OP rents out a studio apartment in the basement of their house. According to them, it is "very explicitly stated in the lease agreement that tenants are not allowed to bring any non-vegetarian foods onto the premises." Is that not the strangest thing you've ever heard? Well, now OP wants to evict their tenant because they were basically spying on her and saw that she had bought meat. I don't think this is a joke!

Source: iStock Photo
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Their tenant was unloading her groceries, and OP saw "what was clearly a meat package" inside a grocery bag. OP confronted her about the meat and told her about the lease agreement, she was "bewildered" and "claimed ignorance." I don't know about you, but if I read my lease agreement carefully, a "no-meat" clause would probably glaringly stand out to me.

Either the tenant didn't read the lease closely or she read the clause and found it so insanely ridiculous and random that she thought it was a joke or a typo or something. Both of these options seem plausible.

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In any case, OP wasn't going to drop it. They pulled up the lease agreement on their phone and showed her the vegetarian clause. "I told her to immediately either discard the package along with any other non-vegetarian foods inside the bag into the outdoor trash bin or take it off the premises," OP wrote. "I also told her to do the same for the apartment within three days, after which I will conduct an inspection."

The tenant apparently "screamed" and refused to throw away the meat she'd just purchased. Perhaps predictably, days later when OP did the inspection, they found "several packages of meat and a carton of chicken broth inside of the refrigerator."

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Source: iStock Photo

So OP gave her a 15-day "notice to quit." After those 15 days, OP will begin the eviction process if she doesn't get rid of all non-vegetarian products. "When I handed it to her, she went hysterical and started crying," OP wrote. "She's claiming that I'm violating her 'human rights' and that she'll starve to death." 

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OK. I know this is a lot to process. On one hand, it seems like a landlord should absolutely not have any control over what their tenant can buy or eat. That's bonkers. On the other hand, I can slightly understand that if you are vegetarian yourself, it might offend you to have the person in your basement apartment cooking meat. Maybe the smell can travel or something.

Still, this clause, if it's legal, should have been made extremely clear at the time the lease was signed, since it's highly irregular for a rental agreement. Commenters on the post pretty unanimously labeled OP the a-hole.

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"YTA for trying to police what people eat," one person wrote. "It clearly doesn't actually matter to living in the apartment because otherwise you would have noticed before. Also YTA for threatening to evict someone over that during a coronavirus pandemic."

Source: iStock Photo
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It's unclear how long the tenant has lived there, but she was presumably cooking and eating meat before OP saw her with the bag of groceries, and they'd never noticed before. So maybe the smell doesn't actually travel after all and OP is just being unfair.

"YTA, probably," one person wrote. "Non-standard clauses really should be explicitly pointed out to the tenant... Further, I'm not a lawyer, but you may have put yourself into a pretty bad situation: You can't just write whatever you want into a lease, and a lot of places are banning evictions in the middle of COVID."

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Whatever sympathy you may have had left for OP might be quashed when you find out in the comments that OP is actually a vegan, but their wife didn't think they could force their tenant to be vegan, so they settled for the vegetarian clause. They also compared "meat consumption" to slavery, which is all in all a very bad look. 

In conclusion, if you're a landlord, please don't tell your tenants what foods they can and can't consume. That's highly irregular and controlling and should have been beyond clear when the tenant moved in. Judging by her reaction, it definitely was not. 

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