Can an apartment require that candlesnot be used if it is a religious practice to do so?

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2011

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Can an apartment require that candlesnot be used if it is a religious practice to do so?

My mother’s lease states that there are to be no combustible liquids of any kind used, which I assume includes lighters that are used by those that smoke. They are not permitted to burn candles or have any possible fire hazards. She is in a senior apartment complex. She wishes to light candles for Hannukah. They told her she would have to use only electric lighting. Also, she is having trouble now because of the other tenants who are allowed to smoke. She has no adenoids and it causes her to be very sensitive to smoke. She doesn’t understand why smoking is permitted and candles even for religious purposes are not.

Asked on August 18, 2011 Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read your mother's written lease regarding prohibition of the combustible liquids and other items to see if cigarettes and cigars are mentioned in that the written agreement sets forth the obligations owed to the tenant by the landlord and vice vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law on the subject.

You make a good point about tenants smoking cigarettes and other items on the premises but religious candles are not allowed by the landlord. Sentiment is that if flame generated items are not allowed on the premises, all flame genertated items should not be allowed as specifically defined by each tenant's lease.

One problem could be that your mother's lease might be different that the leases of other tenants concerning the prohibition of combustibles.

I suggest she have a meeting with the landlord and/or the property manager to air her grievances and try to reach some compromise.

Good luck.

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