odors from upstairs

techteacherMay 26, 2006

Does anyone have a resolution for extreme "cooking" etc odors from an upstairs apartment. This isn't normal yummy dinner smell or even delicious exotic cooking at dinner time. It is a constant malodorous stench that is permeating our clothes,furniture, carpets, even my quilting fabrics. The manager of the complex claims she cant even ask them to contain it a little ( use air cleaners, the cooking vent etc, that it could cause a lawsuit -ethnic rights etc.My real question is what about my rights -dont I have any -the usual malodorous smells clause in in our lease but they say thats for people cooking drugs and having dirty homes??? We have been here 3 years and have two other neighbors of the same ethnic persuasion who have not permeated the home like these new ones that just came in october.Even they seem surprised how the smell billows out when the door is opened. We hardly used heat all winter -which was great for the heat bill. We have the vents closed but it seems to still seep into our home, its like walking by a Thai restraunt! Summer is coming and we are both heart paitents and worried about using the air conditioner. The manager seems to think it wont be so bad in the summer because the cool air wont "cook" the odor. She gave me a bottle of stuff to spray -smells like the bath room at Port Authority in New York and I have air freshners all over the house and car freshners stuck in the vents. The manager also said she heard another tennant with the same problem found out about a coal filter to put in the heating system vent but it costs 200 $ and "she isnt providing that to people" Anyone else ever deal with this/ They also have very poor "respect" skills for people living upstairs stomping, rolling and dragging things at all hours and the child ...well we call her "Smarty Jones" enough said ..and that doesnt cover the yells cries and sceams at all hours also. I am seriously thinking of finding a lawyer.I am fair minded but it seems like I am the one giving and giving here ...whats your thoughts???

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What does your lease and the state laws say about these issues. In AZ, odors are considered nuisances if they leave the apartment. Law stipulates tanant to maintain housing in a clean and odor-free manner.

The noise is definitely an issue that is not "ethnic". And the malodourous stench could be considered (in AZ) the same as noise.

With two others of the same ethnicity that do NOT make this odor, the landlord is not going to have a problem with "discrimination", just poor cooks.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 6:58AM
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If the smells you are complaining about are cooking smells, you'll just have to get used to it or move elsewhere - what is the landlord supposed to do, tell them to stop cooking? Tell them to stop cooking whatever ethnic food they enjoy that you don't like the smell of? Surely you don't think that's reasonable. When we live in apartments we have to make certain compromises, and dealing with the fact that you may not enjoy the smell of your neighbor's cooking falls into that category. You can't really make an argument that the smell of edible food that's not to your liking can possibly fall under the "malodorous smells" clause which is as you noted designed to deal with symptoms of unsafe conditions such as drug cookers and those who never take out their trash, not the scent of foreign cusines.

You may have some recourse regarding the noise if it's outside of normal waking hours, depending on how your lease is written, but if it's during those hours, again you probably just have to deal with it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 2:32PM
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I've been working in the multihousing industry for 25 years now and I can tell you it does no good to use the office to "referee" your bouts with the neighbors. I have come to adjust to all these things. I have to enter apartments with these oders. I got used to them. Our Asian American friends love garlic...very strong I'll admit, but it's good for you. If you can't adjust, just stock up on air freshners.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 4:34PM
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Try an ozone machine. They have worked wonders. Its a tricky situation. It would not bring up a law suite to just mention the strong cooking smells.

It really just sucks. In my State you can't descriminate when applying for this problem or ask them to leave. BUT it drives away your other tenants. (not fair)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 10:01PM
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Wow some really great thoughts ... in Pa they say the odors situation is not adressable if it is not overpowering /abusive etc but by whose determiniantion is the real question. As for"cooking smell complaints" This is not just a case of not enjoying foreign cuizine. This is a strong constant odor that "roars" thru our home, lingers and hangs in the air and smells like rotting vegtables -in fact the trash remark sets me to thinking thats what it really smells like most of the time and it gets stronger at meal times so maybe its both. I have about 10 air freshners all over the apartment and plug ins and baskets of potpori and scented candles...its still overpowering at times.As for moving I certainly will not I have been here for some time and quite peacefully with many neighbors of all different walks of life and no one else has ever been this problematic. In fact a few other neighbors have recently expressed that since these people arrived they to have noticed a problem in their home so we may make it a group effort.To be honest I still dont think it will help as it seems many people have become afraid to stand up for themselves in this country for fear of insulting ethnic "rights" even know we supposedly have rights too! In our fear and trepdation we have become meek and powerless. I can fight fire with fire though, as summer approaches school gets out and I will be home alot more, I am very fond of corn beef and cabage, I cant eat it anymore but a simmering pot on the stove is after all expressing my ethnic cusine so I am sure i will be cooking it a few times a week and we just bought a grill so the sounds and smells of sizzling beef will be a joyous fragrence coming from MY home!! All kidding aside and in all reality the real adult answer is in the last response...which today by some odd coincidence a lady who sells the "ozone" machines which I really knew nothing about ironically came to my quilting class. She told me all about the machines and how they work. I had no idea they could deal with odors I thought they only worked for dusts and mold and stuff but she says they kill odors and dust mites and all sorts of stuff.Yes, they are a bit expensive but if it works its no more expensive then the portable a/c we were going to buy so we could keep our vents closed and still be cool in only one room. I am going to do some research and she has offered a 15 day trial to see if it works, if it does it will be a well spent 500 - 700 dollars!! Thanks for all your answers

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 11:09PM
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Ozone machines truely work wonders! I am a reltor also and recently sold a house that smelled like wet dog. It was so bad that you could smell it outside! It took 3-5 days to totally remove the smell. If you have a furnace run the fan to circulate the ozone. Also change your furnace filter when you start and finish.

I was shocked when I found out how expensive they are! Lucky for me the broker has bought them for this problem. It cost me nothing for the week or so I had it. With out that experience I would have never recomended it or thought of buying it.

Best of LUCK!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:51PM
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Hi..Nfllifer thanks for the "word up" on the ozone machine ...yes they are expensive the fancy one is about 799 but thats one for 3000 sq ft. I only have a 1000. They also offer one at about 500 -it will be worth it if it works to save my marraige and my property and my sanity. The lady who sells it even said she will give me a free trial period so I can see if it works with this smell. There are alot of factors one company told me I need to put it towards the air conditionar intake vent.I called the manager and she told me where it was - its in an odd place, but in the mean time while searching for why the smell is frequently strongest in the bathroom and center hall space my husband discoverd that the drop ceiling in the bath room has a huge cut open area and the floor above is clearly exposed nothing between use and them but wooden framing. (they installed venting and heaters in each individual apartment a few years ago so we can all be billed seperate for our gas use, guess they forsaw the current gas wars)anyway he is now on a tirade that that open space is one why we have the smell so strong, two, that an open area like that is a fire hazard and we need to have that confirmed by the fire inspector and he actually thinks that they will fix this. He may be right as to it allowing the smells to be stronger and it is probably why the water marks are on the ceiling they must get the floor wet with the kid a lot. but I think if they had not been able to leave it like that they wouldnt have because it was so easy to discover.
Back to the ozone -I need to research it more but I did read an article that says it can be bad for respritory illness actually I do have issues with that but I can just stay away from it when the strong cleaning setting is on i'll be out.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:55PM
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She can't tell people to stop that stupid cooking smell because they are non-White?

What kind of screwed up country is this. We bend over backwords for immigrant groups and ruin our own lifestyles.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 1:54AM
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Boy does this sound familier! We ended up moving due to the very same odor problem by the very same ethnic situation. Only difference was that we lived directly above the people (the source) and the odors came from a large open area in the wall for the plumbing. Absolutely nothing we could do about it nor the landlord. Spent literally hundreds on essential fragrance oils, but they didn't do the magic we had hoped for. Couldn't get rid of the source, and trying to cover it up just doesn't work. So, we moved with 3 months remaining on our lease, and yes, we did pay the landlord for those 3 months. NOTHING anyone can do about cooking odors, at least not here in MN. The last time I checked, that apartment still was not rented out.....what can I say? Wish I would have heard about the ozone machine.......we would have tried that first before moving. We feel (right or wrong) that we ended up paying for the results of someone elses choices.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 2:05PM
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OMG I am so glad to find some other people who are experiencing this! I am in a condo (apartment style) and I own my suite so I really don't want to move, but I need a solution asap! The smell only comes in to my BEDROOM of all places and at 11:00pm!! I have asked the other tenant to open their windows and use their stove vent but they continue to ignore me. I am about to slash my wrists I am so unhappy with my situation :(
Anyone find anything other than this ozone machine to fix the problem? I don't have $500 to buy one, but this is driving me crazy!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:12AM
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I feel your pain. I did not have problem with food odor but with cigarette smoking.

I was so worried about my health that I plunged in and purchased two Rabbit Air purifiers ($500+) and they work great on food odors. They are expensive but work very well. I love bacon and cook it often in the winter and within a day, the odor is gone. Please do your research on the ozone machines if you decide to purchase one.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:00PM
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