charged for cooking spicy food

ksandhyavAugust 15, 2005

I lived in an apartment for one year and nine months. After vacating I received a letter from the apartment office charging me for $783. The two main charges were:

1. Extreme smell of curry powder, apartment had to be sealed $575

2. Apartment had to be fogged twice $150

The other charges were reasonable and hence not mentioning. I am a clean person and I have maintained my apartment as clean as possible but being charged for my cooking is something that I am finding it hard to believe. I called the apartment manager and she accused me equivalent to a smoker who damages the aparment with smoking habits. Is she right? This is the first time I have been in a situation like this. Need guidance.

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What does your lease say?

If you cook with much oil, the smell will get into the walls and need to be painted, but only you would know if that is what happened.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 10:56AM
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All I'll say is that when I rented, my whole place smelled like curry from the renters around me. I wish I had an apt where the smell didn't penetrate the walls. Check the lease, but I'd think cooking is a basic necesssity of life, even with ethnic flare, unlike smoking, so how would one be liable if a place does not practice discrimination?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 1:03PM
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curry does indeed tend to be a tenacious scent

and some people find it really offensive. of course, they also tend to be the kind of people who refer to people who COOK curries as 'stinking pakis' behind their back, eh?

now- I'm a smoker, smoke tobacco outside, smoke the green stuff inside, and even I know that I'm going to be the last one to smell EITHER on my person or in my house.

but the idea that they had to fog your apartment twice and use a primer-sealer anywhere but the kitchen?

I think you're being discriminated against, and you might want to contact your local agencies to see if this can be contested.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 2:44PM
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I spent 14 years managing an apartment building.

What in the heck were they fogging for? "Fogging" only kills spiders that every house has. There is no such thing as a happy flower field, cover smells you don't like fogger.

Pay the charges that you know are reasonable and don't pay the two you mentioned here. They will drop it but if they don't, it is small claims court and you don't need a lawyer. All you will have to do is stand there and the judge will laugh them out of court.

This is a case of they think you are dumb. Does your lease say you will leave the apartment smelling like it did before you moved it? I doubt it, they have no grounds to stand on but are trying to bully you.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 7:49PM
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I wouldn't pay it either! That is ridiculous. Unless "no cooking with curry" is specified on your lease, there is nothing they can do about. I agree with Gammy, let them try to take you to court. Every apt keeps the "smell" of the last tenant for awhile, whether that be perfume, cooking oils, etc. I'm sure if they paint and clean the carpets, which I'm sure they have to do anyways, the smell will be gone or almost gone. good luck, I would definitely fight em' on this one.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 4:49PM
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"Discrimination"? Hmmmmm..... that is a pretty strong remark. Someone cooks with curry and some of you have already made the assumption that this must be an 'ethnic' thing (everyone has ethnicity, by the way - no one race or skin color has the market on this) and must be discrimination. With thinking like that, it is no wonder that we have not moved farther ahead in living together in this big melting pot.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 8:26AM
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Over N Under, Chinacat didn't mean "Discrimination" as in ethnic background. It was meant as this landlord is discriminating over smells.

For example, had the apartment smelled of cigarettes and the landlord is a smoker he wouldn't notice it or say anything about it. This landlord must not like the smell of curry so he is discriminating against the left over odor of it and trying to take advantage of this lady with those really dumb, not a leg to stand on, extra fees.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 12:28PM
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actually, Gam, I'd have to admit that statement was inclusive of both your point and Under's...

for them to SPECIFY 'curry' rather than 'cooking odors' amounts to a racial slur ro me...hence my dig at the landlord.

but that's just based on my own experience, that most people have strong emotional responses to certain smells- smells that remind them of security, or poverty, or love, or abuse...and are more than capable of linking that feeling to a person carrying that smell without ever realizing it.

but nanna used to let me listen to Lenny Bruce- so cynicism is in my blood, eh?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 3:47PM
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No way would i pay for lingering cooking smells due to normal use of the kitchen, unless the lease had some specific clause about curry, and even then such a clause might not be legal. Especially if you are of an ethnicity that uses curry in the cooking. I would also ask what kind of fogging they are talking about, i've never heard of fogging for odors, only for bugs.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 3:21PM
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Hiya. I know it seems discriminatory but the curry smell can be so prohibitive to anyone wanting to rent. I am married to an indian man and for several reasons we decided to move in with his mum. Oh my God! the smell is unbelievable. You can go there at midnight and it smells like someone is cooking at that exact time! Once you have stepped in the house you come out smelling like curry. And its not just curry but an old oil smell as well because the ingredients are fried together. It goes everywhere: carpets, drapes, cupboards, closets, allllll of your clothes and body.

In my hopes to avoid smelling like this at ALL costs, I am currently trying to find ways of de-currying the house but everything I have read so far seems to indicate that this is not possible. So I can see why the manger of your flat would possibly want compensation. It is an oppressive, eye-watering, gagging, persistent smell.

ps: sorry if I sound harsh but until you have walked into the putrid smell of old oil, curry and incense you just can't know.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 7:55AM
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bajanicky...actually, what you're experiencing is just the Asia Minor equivilent of 'old folks smell'...

every culture has a variation on it.

burnt cooking- especially in cultures who fry or boil things, does indeed get everywhere. and old people either don't smell it, or find it comforting, not to mention that scrubbing the kitchen down is often beyond them.

if you think the old curry funk is bad- you should try boiled cabbage and burnt coffee. or beer and tobacco and cheap corn oil.

drapery needs to be replaced, or washed with an ounce of TSP (a degreasing solvent) in the wash water, then left out in the sun for three days or as long as a week- but dont' be surprised if they fall apart on you, and need to be replaced.

the TSP works pretty well on the kitchen grease- we bought a house from a nice italian family, and were kind of surprised to discover that the wood was oak, not walnut- the dark wasn't stain, but this incredible film that took me several months of soaking, and in some places, scraping with the back of a butter knife, to get rid of it.

kitty litter (the old clay based kind) and 'activated charcoal' (from a pet shop- the kind for aquarium filters that comes in bags is fine) half and half either in open trays, or in 1-pound deli tubs with holes punched in the top stuck under couches and such also help.

the carpet is tough- repeated sprinklings with baking soda (need a good vacuum to get it all out- or you will have a nice foam produced when you try and get the carpet cleaned) do work.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 11:19AM
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I would write a letter and say 'due to ill equiped ventilattion, blah blah blah'

Again the fogging thing is BS. That's an extermination term, you would never fog a place for odors. Additionally, a coat of paint will soak up the scents of food - and normally multi-unit buildings over 4 are required to paint each year.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 1:50AM
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