cooking smells

vroadrunnerJuly 6, 2013

I don't know if you experienced anything similar but i would like to hear your opinion.
I live in an apartment complex on the 3rd (top) floor. You would think that's great because there is nobody above us. Well, we have this lady living on the 2nd floor, not even directly under our apartment, but one to the side. Lately we started to notice horrible cooking smells coming through the walls that is in our bedroom. It's a horrible burning fat smell mixed with something like burning caramel smell. Sorry it's really hard to describe , but imagine someone is frying some food right beside your bed while you're trying to sleep. Yesterday we were just trying to go to bed. It was well past 11pm and of course even with the windows wide open we couldn't stand being in the room. So I walked downstairs and knocked on the door politely asking if she is cooking. Well, it turned out that she was making stew. Wow, really? 11:30 pm? Of course it didn't help that other neighbour was just passing by with a dog that interrupted our conversation and took that lady side. She was like - oh well, its summer so its understandable you cook late and btw it smells nice. Well she hasn't been in our bedroom and smell how NOT NICE it smells there. Let me tell you, it was no stew smell to me in our bedroom. I have also smelled similar smell in the morning around 5am and it turned out to be bacon. I'm just wondering if there is anything I can do about it because it's bothering us and we can not sleep. I would think that some people would have more common sense while living in apartment building and consider neighbours once in a while. I try not to use shower or toilet after 11pm and I'm pretty quiet during the day and i'm always in bed by 11pm the latest, don't have loud parties or music and I always help neighbours. Is it really too much to ask from others to be little reasonable while sharing living space with others? I'm not even gonna mention our strata, cause is a joke. We were struggling with leaky pipes for last 2 years that our previous mostly town house members were sabotaging for a long time. It seems that regular condo maintenance was neglected for years and now we have lots of problems with pipes, vents and drain backups. I don't really want to move, cause I like the area and you know how it goes sometimes, you go from the frying pan into open fire.....

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Unfortunately there really isnt anything you can do, I wish I had some advice for you, I'm on the 2nd floor of my building and the cigarettes smell like dirty ashtrays, I burn alot of incense to try to mask that odor, the smell even come up into my food pantry. Maybe others will have some advice for you, Good Luck..

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:04PM
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I understand your pain. We are currently dealing with an issue for the 1st time after living in our apartment for 30 years.

The new tenants downstairs from us(6 months) cook heavily spiced food and it is suffocating. They cook several curries and other odd things but also use HEAVY amounts of cayenne pepper. This results in a heavy, oily curry smell that is also acrid and bitter. It is quite unbearable to breath the fumes all the time.
I have resorted to putting Vicks on my nose or leaving our apartment.
I understand their food may taste great, but living in an upstairs apartment the fumes and odors are like how smoke rises. It comes in under our cabinets, floors and any open window and it gets into everything. Our carpets, rugs, drapes, furniture, walls, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, towels and even the window screens stink to high heaven now, thanks to their cooking for 4-5 hours a day. We have to keep our clothes in plastic bags in the closet.

The landlord tried to help by putting in a stronger fan over their stove but, thanks to terrible building design, the fan vents out right under our kitchen window and does no good IF they use it. So we have to keep all the windows closed and burn incense, candles, vinegar and water and use room spray constantly, plus wash curtains, screens, counter tops and vacuum 3-4 times a week to just temporarily lessen the smell in between their cooking sessions. And it never goes away.

Our property management company doesn't do anything to help so I have spoken to our city rental mediation group and they say that "disagreeable odors" are a infringement of our "right to quiet enjoyment" (just as loud noise is) and it has NOTHING to do with discrimination since the tenants are also an "ethnic" group. It would make no difference if someone was cooking cauliflower,chocolate chip cookies or bacon for hours every day.

Our issue is being addressed and we will mediate with the landlord for resolution. According to them, the landlord has to be "aware of his building limits" and has the right to notify people in advance of renting that "strong cooking odors" are not permitted. It also has to do with "destruction of property" as it will take a full replacement of several layers of paint, new carpeting,new blinds, new screens etc when the tenants move out. The odors are so strong that it is even in the paint on the OUTSIDE of the building.
Our apartment will also need repainting and possible new carpets, regardless if we move out or not, and he can hold the tenants downstairs accountable for the full cost.

So as far as people telling you there is nothing that can be done, that is not true. You have rights as an apartment tenant. We have been given bad or heavily opinionated advice from many people regarding our situation. Since the tenants involved in OUR situation are from an "ethnic minority" everyone thinks any action would be considered discrimination, but as I mentioned above, these types of situations have nothing to do with discrimination. Lots of people think the ONLY answer to tenant problems is to move which isn't always an option. Check to see if your city has a mediation board or group and talk to them. They may be able to help you, if your landlord won't, with the late night cooking issue.
Good luck

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 4:45PM
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I had this same problem, 25 years ago. I purchased an Ozone machine at that time. It was $,1200 at that time. Now with Ebay U can pick one up for 4 $200 to $250. Just B certain that U buy the one with the removable, washable Ozone plates, and not just an Ionizer. I now use them for smoke and even the non smokers R shocked that I smoke inside. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:42AM
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