Imagine being told you could only rent a vehicle if you promised not to eat food while using it.
Or being told you would no longer be able to work out of an office space you lease if you were caught having after-work drinks with colleagues.
Seems ridiculous doesn't it? When you're paying good money for the use of something, you expect to have pretty much the same liberties as the person who owns it.
After all, we're all people right? We're all equal, we all deserve to be treated the same.
Yet, when it comes to renting a home in this country, some landlords believe they can dictate the way a person lives.
In a story on Saturday, a Rotorua grandmother spoke of her fears that her family would be left "homeless for Christmas" after being rejected for rental after rental because they had pets.
The pets in question are a cat and a dog that have been signed off by a doctor as being "essential" for the woman's high-needs grandchildren.
But because of the country's undersupplied rental market, landlords have the pick of multiple applicants and can be as choosy as they wish.
This means they can bypass the family who has pets, the professional couple who cook fragrant ethnic foods or the retiree who enjoys the occasional cigarette.
They can make certain demands about what is and isn't done on their property and if a potential renter can't meet their standard, it doesn't matter because there are dozens more who are desperate for a home and can.
But the reality is these are just ordinary people who are looking for the basic human right of shelter and are being told they only deserve it if they adhere to these arbitrary rules.
We have a dog who is like our second child. He plays outside during the day and sleeps inside at night. When my husband works late, he sleeps on our bed.
We are fortunate to own our own home but should we ever have to rent again, we would be in the same position as the Rotorua grandmother.
It wouldn't matter that we have a flawless rental history, are house proud or always pay our rent on time, our big dog would mean an immediate cross next to our names for most properties.
This attitude is dehumanising. It tells renters they don't deserve certain luxuries because they are paying off somebody else's mortgage instead of their own.
Landlords want to protect their investment, that's understandable. But it's doing far more damage to tar all renters with the same brush because of a few bad experiences.
A social system where something as essential as housing is lorded over people is a broken system.
Cooking a meal from your native country, having a smoke or enjoying the company of a beloved pet are not offences. It's time the rental industry stop treating them like they are.