Apartment owner denies ‘western cooking only’ was part of the deal

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The owner of two apartments at the centre of a media storm last week about ‘western cooking only’ has told the Volkskrant that she never made this a condition of renting out a flat.

Last week, Iraqi expat Maysaa Munaf, was shocked when she inquired about an apartment at Executive Home Rentals and was told tenants who ‘cook for hours using lots of herbs’ need not apply.

‘If you cook the ‘western way’ we can offer you a viewing on Friday,’ the email said. Munaf shared a screenshot of the offending letter on Facebook post titled ‘In today’s episode of ‘Racism is alive and well’.

Executive Home Rentals said the clause was a demand made by the owner because the flat is sensitive to spreading smells. But owner Carolien van den Neste told the Volkskrant: ‘We are very shocked and dismayed by the discriminatory words that were used.’ She and her husband agreed with the agency ‘that they would look for a tenant with the profile: expat, single/couple, non-smokers, pets subject to negotiation. There were no other demands whatever,’ she told the paper.

On Friday EHR’s director Michel Rootring described the term ‘western style of cooking’ as unfortunate, but continued to insist that it was a demand made by the owners and the neighbours.

However, the Volkskrant contacted the owners association (VVE) and found no complaints. ‘We’ve never spoken about cooking within the VVE,’ a spokesman for the owners told the paper. ‘I’m not happy that we are being blamed for this.’

Have you faced discrimination in renting a home in the Netherlands? Send your experiences to editor@dutchnews.nl or leave a comment below.

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