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Malmö man in hot water over blue curtains

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13:00 CET+01:00
An apartment owner in Malmö is in trouble with his building's tenant-owner's association because his curtains don't match those of other apartments in the building.

Jonas Rosenthörn chose blue curtains to compliment renovations he began shortly after he purchased his apartment in December 2006.

But Rosenthörn's interior design taste has led to a dispute with the building's tenant-owner's association, which has regulations stipulating that curtains must be white.

“This is totally ridiculous. The curtains are hanging inside a glassed-in balcony and don't bother anyone. I'm not about to take them down. Soon the association will probably set up some guidelines about what sort of flowers I can have in my window,” said Jonas Rosenthörn to the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper.

Of the 312 units in the building, Rosenthörn's apartment is the only one to have run afoul of the curtain colour code.

In contrast with traditional balconies, the balconies in the building are all encased in windows framed by slate-colored metal beams, creating a uniform, glass-and-steel façade. Standing on the balcony can feel like standing in a sun room, although tenants can open some of the windows to allow fresh air in and look out over the building's lawn.

Rosenthörn claims he was unaware of any rules governing how people could decorate their apartment and is puzzled as to how the tenant's group can regulate colour choice inside someone's apartment.

“I had no idea that there could be some sort of ban on having blue curtains. There wasn't anything in the regulations. Besides, the curtains are inside the window. If it had something to do with an awning or something on the outside of the apartment on the façade itself, then I'd understand,” he said.

However, the tenant-owner's association claims that the regulations are laid out clearly in a large binder given to the owner of each apartment.

In a section of the regulations on balconies, it states that no color other than white is allowed for blinds. And panels to block the sun that are placed along the lower edge of the balconies' outer windows must be in line with the wave design that was found in the façade's original design.

Moreover, residents may not hang laundry within sight of a balcony's edge, grilling is not allowed, and the edges of any cat net someone wishes to put up must also have the same color as the framing of the balcony, reports Skånska Dagbladet.

Last fall, the association formally requested that Rosenthörn remove the blue curtains and replace them with the same white curtains found in every other apartment.

So far he has refused, and on Monday the dispute is set to be heard by the regional rental tribunal (Hyresnämnden).

“This whole thing is totally incomprehensible to me. Bear in mind that the curtains and assembly cost about 12,000 kronor ($2000), so replacing them is going to cost the association money if the association follows through on its demands. And as a part-owner in the association, I also see this, on top of everything else, as making no economic sense,” said Rosenthörn.

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