Annoying (and illegal!) smells

AelloFebruary 12, 2005

Hi everyone,

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do. My husband and I found a wonderful apartment and a building that we have been basically happy with since moving into. We do not want to leave!

However, one of our neighbours has a habit (ie: smokes a lot of pot). This has in the past been a small problem, occuring once about every second weekend... something we can ignore; however, as of recently (the past week or so) it has escalated. Today alone they have smoked twice, the current session having been ongoing for at least an hour. I don't enjoy the smell and my husband has mild asthma.

The problem is, there is no way to know which apartment the smells come from - although I have strong suspicions. I'm not sure if I should make a general complaint known to the super or if that's a useless gesture since it's hard to pin down a scent. If no complaint, does anyone have suggestions how to get rid of the smoke making its way to our apartment?

Thank you all!!

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Well..... what if you were to make up a few simple signs and post them around the hallway of your apartment building saying that you know that there is illegal activity (i.e., pot being smoked) and if it does not cease, you will call the police? Make it anonymous and don't let anyone see you put them up. The message will be placed, and your anonymity will be protected so you should not experience any retaliation. Whether or not you choose to contact the police is up to you. Maybe they just need to ventilate better (open a window) when they do it. Personally, I would not call the police for something of this nature. If it were something like meth, though, I certainly would.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 7:09PM
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If it is something that really bothers you guys and has been happening frequently I would call the police. You don't have to know what apartment it is. Just call and let them know you can smell it and your not sure where it is coming from. When the police come out there they will not tell the neighbor who called the police (my dad is a police sergeant). I am not in the habit of being a snitch but, it is an illegal drug and if it bothers you that much calling the police will stop it. There is always a chance that it is medicinal but, its pretty doubtful.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 10:56PM
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If you really just want to solve the problem so that you don't have to smell it and don't neccessarily want to snitch to the police, try calling managment, tell them that offensive smells and smoke from other nearby units are entering your unit and ask if they can send someone out to check and replace the seals on your doors and windows, etc. Explain that your husband is asthmatic and smoke does not agree with him, and that you are concerned it may be effecting your heating/cooling costs.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 11:10AM
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I would start w/ management, then go to police if it looked like management wasn't doing anything about it.

The thing is, it's not just the smell--it's the dosage. According to GoAskAlice, such trace amounts won't show up on a drug test, but I still personally would not want to be inhaling marijuana.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 12:17PM
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Thank you very much Mike_Pam, Celticgal, Luxum and Tally_Sue_NYC! I appreciate your feedback.

I think that I will follow through with calling management and asking them about seals and etc as I really don't want to take the police step just yet (and your words, luxum, make it seem like a very reasonable request). But yes, I don't really want to be breathing in any of the dose, so action will be taken!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 5:25PM
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Tell management or the Police. That s**t does not need to be put up with. People don't need to be doing that crap and if they are, they need to suffer any and all consequences for it. Someone needs to bust that mess up, NOW! Drugs suck!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 8:13PM
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happycthulhu harsh.
It's not like it's crack.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 10:20AM
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my grandmother was a union organizer, an award winning teacher, a vocal member of the Eastern Star...and a hemp grower for 40 years after it was criminalized. stupid, lazy, irresponsible people suck. a drug cannot suck any more than a rock can...and since I'm fairly sure you used either caffiene or sucrose this morning...don't twit our use, and I won't twit yours.

I DO think it's incredibly rude for them not to be considerate...but I think it's just as rude of the people whose apartments emit clouds of hairspray, curry gas, or glade air freshener.

Aello...I used to be dorm staff, and managed to make a fair go-between between ignorant or fearfull, and the chronically oblivious...and a wake-up call is definately in order.

a note under the door that says 'the cops were by today, you might want to either chill, or move the party' does wonders. if they DO figure out who sent the note, it makes you look like a cool lady who is trying to protect them...actually, there's always that slim chance that if they KNEW your husband was asthmatic, and genuinely bothered by their treats, they would contain it on their own. people who are jerks by nature tend to gravitate towards other drugs... beer, for one ;)

most of my coworkers are surprised to find out that I use TOBACCO, and the only ones who suspect my affinity for hemp flowers are the ones whose understanding goes beyond the media impression of stoners (I'm anything but) and notice that there's a copy of Terrence McKenna's 'food of the gods' sitting next to my copy of CS Lewis's commentaries on George MacDonald on my desk ;)

:) there's an old chestnut that my right to liberty ends at the tip of your nose- I think that applies here. if they get mouthy= toss a handful of Pringles through the doorway, and escape while they're distracted ;)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 12:00PM
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That is one of the problems of living in an apartment complex. Maybe the move to a separate/private house/cottage should be considered. If that is something you choose not to do, I think your neighbors "habit" needs to be tolerated. They are doing it in the privacy of their own "home". Noone wants to feel that they live in a Big Brother society. No, I don't smoke pot, but I do believe that pot is a relatively mild drug compared to methamphetamine or heroin. I respect the right to privacy in your own personal space.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:58PM
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LOL Chinacat, I agree. I think that is a excellent way to handle the situation. The cops can't search any apts without a warrant also, so just because they are called, doesn't mean they will neccesarily do anything about it. Or ask them to put a towel under the door, so it won't get into your apt. Problem easily solved.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 9:03PM
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If it were me, I'd take the diplomatic approach first. They may not be aware, or they may not care and could be the kind of people you don't want to get annoyed. In any case, have the manager post a sign saying:

1) Marijuana smells have been regularly noticed and are bothering people with allergies.
2) Management would prefer the people responsible to take steps to eliminate the problem so that it doesn't get reported to the police by someone.

Hopefully, they'll take the hint, and no one has to be the "bad guy."

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 3:05AM
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It's illegal and instantly mind-altering. I take decaf...

I'm an HR professional and love terminating employees who fail the drug test.

It's useless.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 9:01PM
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LOL Chinacat re: Pringles.

After the chat with management, if there's still a problem, maybe the anonymous sign you put up could mention the asthma and recommend putting a towel on the door, combining others' suggestions. I agree with Chinacat that my rights stop where they affect another person, and theirs when it affects me.

mdv--I understand that marijuana is illegal and that failing a drug test can lead to termination (I don't smoke out myself), but taking PLEASURE in firing someone is NOT something I would advertise, except maybe at an S&M club.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:10AM
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They do it to themselves.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Karma comes back.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 10:20AM
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I don't use illegal drugs...that being said, I worked as a financial/banking manager for many years. I would not nor have ever derived pleasure from terminating any employee. The ones I terminated had usually done something that compromised the financial well-being of the company and rightly deserved being terminated. I felt relieved to no longer have them in our employ, but "love terminating them"...not in this life thankyouverymuch.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 2:24PM
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:) DH refers to them as Yurt-Toting, frisbee-chucking Cheeto monkies, thanks to the wonderful film PCU.

MDV is also featured in the movie- I just can't make up my mind if she's the red headed sandalista, or the female university president ;)

as a long term fan of Mary Jane, I find stoner culture less amusing than most people- but then again, I find a difference between absurdist, and just plain stupid (monty python is funny. Fear of a Black Hat is funny. Pooty Tang, and Kids in the Hall are not, despite my husband's best efforts to convince me otherwise)

honestly, I was raised that because we WILL be persecuted, we need to carry ourselves with more dignity than the rest of the population. I did a pretty good job of instillin that in the college kids I wing-sat during my time at university (it started out with a wing mother who couldn't bring herself to say 'prophylactic' much less the generic term for such things. I took over the 'uncomfortable talks' part of the job, and it only took two years for her to come around to the idea that 'wherever two of you are gathered together in My name' might mean that there were more important things to do than sit in church)

maybe I'll do a pottiquette website for the new generation- an un-preppy handbook ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 4:01PM
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Aello--what ever happened?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:53PM
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I've been in the same situation, however it din't bother me enough to do anything. Would a rolled up towel inside your own door, do anything to keep the fumes from coming in to yur apartment?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 9:05AM
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Again, thank you for all your input!

The neighbours have become much more considerate about their smoking habit (and no legal action needed, as hoped). To tell you the truth, we went away for a few days (before calling anyone) and came back to find that one of the roommates was moving out.

They were obviously the problem, because since he left that day, there has only been a mild smoke smell once in a blue moon - and I'm fairly sure that the others have been doing it on the balcony or something.

Now... if only the same people wouldn't let their two dogs urinate all over their apartment. How do I know? Well, 1. They never walk the dogs really, and 2. with the hot summer weather the entire wing of the floor smells of it and in the most recent hot days, it's coming under the door and it's making our place smell.

I probably sound like a really picky person, but I don't think I am! I have lived in 4 different apartment type accomodations in the past and have never been bothered by anyone else's smells or noises. These guys are just bad neighbours overall I guess...

Now to figure out how to fix the urine...

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 7:05PM
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too bad the dogs aren't going with the roomate...

that's one I would complain to the manager about- that's his company's carpet that's beeing messed up, and chronic staining can get into the sub floor, and will cost more of the year's rent than most people want to shell out.

I think that people who aren't picky have low standards, myself- you're paying more rent to live some place that's not a dump. if there were more picky people, there would be fewer messes in the world.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 1:02PM
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I am having a similiar problem here is my situation. I live a apartment complex and been there for 16months, I just renewed my lease two months ago. I have two neighbors on the top floor. About two months ago we started to smell a very strong odor coming from our main bathroom. This happened atleast once a day. Then it started to happen frequently. Then the ordor would be coming from our other bathroom as well. Well both bathrooms are on the same side of the apartment and on that side we have one neighbor, so we know its coming from their home, plus they just moved in two months ago. So we kinda have a idea of who is smoking what in their bathroom cuz their bathroom is lined up with ours. So me and my wife are figuring out the best approach into how to handles this problem cuz it gotten to the point that our entire apartment was filled with the smell. I have three small children and am very angry at this whole situaiton. So we decided to contact management, they informed me that there is nothing they can do that, if is bothering me that I should contact the Police. Well my thought at that point was well your mangagement you should call the police. Or take measures to prevent that smell from coming over to my side of the apartment. So a week past and I come home and as soon as I open the door I get hit with the smell. So I politely walk over and knock on there door and when they open the door you can see smoke coming out and the smell is very strong. The person that opened the door you can tell he was having a good time, his eyes were red and glossy. So I tell him can you please not smoke what ever it is your smoking in your bathroom because we can smell it and it is filling up my apartment and he said ok no problem. As I leave that place I realized that he may be doing other stuff besides marijuanna in that home becasue people are constantly in and out of there veryday and they have a infant child that lives in that home too. So a couple of days go by and all day the smell was in my home. My wife and kids where there at the time, so as soon as I got home I called the police.I told the dispatch aobut the situaiton and they said they will send someone over. I called around 8pm that night and waited 830 came and gone, then 930 came and gone, 1030 came and gone. I called severly times only to hear that someone is on there way. 1230 came and I was like you know what cancle my call dont send anyone obviously your not going to do anything. One time the dispatch said that is a non emergency that is why it is taking longer for someone to get over there, and I was like and this is not a emergency, she was like well is someone hurt, are your kids hurt, I said no they are sleeping but it is still a emergency, the Dispatch then said someone already went over there and talked to the tenant.I told the dispatch how is that when I didnt even tell you which apartment it was to begin with, so then she said well I dont know what exaclty happened in the report and also they cant really go and talk to the tenant without probably cause, then I said exactly that is why I called the police so that they can come to my apartment and smell what I am smell and there is your probable cause. she then said do you want me to resend the officer out there and I said yes send them now. So thirty minutes later a officer shows up and I said come in and he immediatly said whooah yep some is smoking somewhere. So I take to both bathrooms and it is twice as strong there. he then said I will be back,I am going to talk to the neighbors. well thirty mins pass and officers are coming atleast 7 squad cars showed up and people started coming out of that apartment in hand cuffs. One officer came over and got a report from me. I asked did find some drugs there his reply was there was drugs everywhere. So my biggest concern now is the neighbors know it was me that called because I went over to ask them to stop cuz my complex could not do it themselves. I fear for the safety of my family while I am at work. So I call the next day to speak to a manger about the situaiton. I asked what simple questions such as what is the protocol for this problem, I am worried for my famliy safety. He was sarcastic and said well we cant put a cop at your door step 24/7 to make sure your safe, well I didnt ask that I wanted to make sure that they will not return. He then said if they show up knocking at your door to call the police, and I am like I know that already, so we argued and he told me to mind my own business and that they are handling it. So now I dont know what direction to go with my problem. Someone please help!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 12:27PM
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Say what? Paragraphs are a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 11:57AM
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Seven additional squad cars showing up when responding officer calls for backup usually indicates something pretty big. Since the officer said there were 'drugs everywhere', it's a good possibility they must've had enough pot to warrant a distributing charge, or there were harder drugs found. Weapons often go along with that kind of lifestyle.

First, don't look to the manager to be able to supply you with information as to how to protect your family. Realistically, he can't. We're property owners (or managers), not cops. Any tenant can go off on anyone at anytime outside the confines of the law. Any time that happens, it becomes a matter for law enforcement to handle. (As an aside, once there is documentation of illegal activity -such as a police report- then getting someone out is a lot easier. Especially if it goes to court.) I would encourage you to drop by the local police station and discuss your concerns with them about your family's safety. There is nothing wrong with that. And if you or anyone in your family is harassed or feels threatened, call the police out immediately.

Second, about the tenants returning and manager telling you MYOB, it was being handled. I personally don't get the manager's nasty attitude. But nobody reasonable wants that kind of activity going on in their property. Only bad things come along with it. (Maybe he's testy because owners discovered there were complaints that he didn't follow up on and now Mgr is in hot water. Could be a lot of things going on behind the scenes you're not aware of. Or, could be he's just a grouch.) But he also shouldn't be discussing one tenant's status with others. I wouldn't. I'm not defending the tenant that got busted here. It's a matter of a private contract between two parties, and what transpires is not up for discussion among parties not on that contract. But with regard to it being "handled", illegal activity is usually included in standard lease language as grounds for eviction. And if they won't voluntarily turn over possession of the unit, eviction is a process that takes some time. (In my County courts are backed up in that area enough that what typically takes 4 weeks start to finish is at the 6 week mark.) I'd interpret the 'it's being handled' comment as Mgmt is taking some kind of action to get them out. Hopefully.

I don't like to encourage people to break their lease, but if Mgmt does not give them the boot for a drug bust, then it's probably best you start looking elsewhere. And take a copy of the police report with you for next LL to see. (In towns where my rentals are located if police have been called to the house I can pick up a copy of the report for free or no more than a few $ from the station.) Explain to prospective LL you are not in the habit of breaking leases, but you simply cannot subject your family to that kind of environment and mgmt was unwilling to rid the complex of the criminal activity.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Dealing with smells from neighbors is a common problem of apartment living. You just have to deal or not live in an apartment. An air purifier works wonders though.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:12AM
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Get an air filter, get some caulk seal your place better, or move to an apartment that is not part of a complex, there are plenty of them out there. Apartment life means you have to deal with other people. If your husband's health is being affected, then you should move to a smoke free place or a complex with a smoke free building. Calling the police in my opinion amounts to expecting everyone else to adhere to your beliefs. If you really must do something then post an anomynous note as someone else mentioned - but to get someone else arrested, which could lead to them losing their job or having their kids taken away or thrown out of their home - Is that really necessary?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:13PM
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@ quietrenter

Don't you realize what you are saying? This is not just a smell, if I smell what they are smoking, well i breath that thing. I don't want to do drugs.
Well, I cannot stop breathing, and that's = to I'm forced to breath theig drugs. I'm paying for my apartement, not to breath drugs but to have a place to live. This is a big problem.
Well, for people who have that problem, try to find out where the smell come, go to the police station or call. tell them the exact location and they probably look out for the pusher. And at the same time if you're lucky they will arrest your neighbor while he is purchasing his drugs.
The last janitor I had here, smoke a lot of marijuana, and he rent apartment only to people who smoke drugs. Well he's not a janitor anymore :) glad that we have police officers.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:31AM
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What to do when the annoying smell is crack?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 3:57PM
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