Neighbor's smell entering our apartment!!!

BonniCOctober 30, 2004

I have this problem, and my husband and I are having a dispute about how to handle it.

We live in a gorgeous apartment complex. We live on the second floor of two, but for some reason, we have always had BAD neighbors below us. The previous tenants played LOUD music during the day and used a smoker grill (that would fill our apartment with smoke if we neglected to close the windows).

We could LIVE with that, even though we did not like it.

Now we have an middle aged woman living with her sickly and older brother. He obviously has cleanliness problems because our guest bathroom (the hall outside the bathroom, the laundry room which is next to the bathroom, and even the spare bedroom across the hall from the bathroom) has been smelling BAD lately. It smells like an unclean older person, like a combination of vomit, uncleanliness, urine and excrement.

Obviously the woman has been aware of the smell because on two occasions my guest bathroom smelled like I had JUST cleaned with bleach (how much bleach did she use to cause MY bathroom to smell like it??)

However, all the cleaning will not eliminate the smell if you don't get to the source of it.

We have tried to use air fresheners, and we had FOUR of the Glade Oil Warmers in our apartment (one in the bathroom, hallway, laundry room and second bedroom) but occasionally the smell OVER POWERS even those.

I want to complain to management (but my husband and I BOTH know they do little about complaints received). I thought about going downstairs and speaking to this woman or calling the local health department, but my husband is adamant about me "causing trouble". I hate having to live like this. I don't understand why I should smell that when I pay $1,450 a month in rent (plus EVERY utility you can think of). These apartment are not cheaply made, and normal daily noise is not a problem. Neither have smells been a problem.

What would all of YOU do?? (Let's assume management will do nothing!!)

I really need some advice here. I am so tired of wondering if the smell is going to be in the bathroom when our guest show up!!

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Oh!! And one more thing.. when they first moved in, my husband discovered a ROACH!!! Also, in talking to one of my neighbors, who did not smell the odors, they also found a roach. I keep my home immaculate and so does my friend. In the five years we have lived here, we never saw a roach... only when the smelly neighbors moved in.

The smelly neighbors did get the exterminator in... but what does that say about them?? smells, roaches?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 6:44PM
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I burn incense. It pretty much takes care of odors.

If I wasn't the incense type, I'd move out if my being bothered by things I couldn't control outweighed the convenience of staying put. First, though, I'd bring it to the management's attention that I plan to move out if they don't address the odor issue, and wish them luck in renting out the place to anyone else.

Fifteen years ago, when I was a college student lacking maturity, I might have worn heavy shoes and clunked around at odd hours to drive the stinky folks out.

If I had disposable income and didn't want to move, I might offer to hire a professional to take care of the stink for the folks downstairs.

There would probably need to be more than one complaint to summon the health department. The situation as it stands doesn't seem grievous enough.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 4:30AM
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Ask the woman if she needs HELP! And then find her some.

It is possible that she is caring for him without any relief or outside help ... she could very well be overwhelmed and doing the best she can.

Check your state and local agencies to see if they profide home health care or even a weekly cleaning lady.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 9:07AM
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As lazygardens said, ask her if she needs help.

Because you smelled bleach odds are she is doing the best she can.

If you can't help for one reason or another. Sometimes all it takes to change the day of a care giver, is a "Hi, how are you today?"

Imagine her life before you judge her.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 3:14PM
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lazygardens put it much nicer than I would have...

I wonder if you would do as well in her position.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 10:57AM
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I would talk to management. As long as the source of the smell is not in your apt., you shouldn't have to smell it. This is not a judgment of the source. In a way, the privacy of both you and your neighbors is being infringed upon. You should be able to keep smells to yourself.

Being neighborly to these people is a given, but as far as pointing out that it smells and/or offering to help with it....first of all, you can't *definitely* say that they are causing the odor. You might offer to help based on the fact that you've noticed the brother is sick, but of course, not on the basis that he smells. So this neighborliness is not likely to solve your smell problem.

I'm curious as to why you can smell anything coming from your neighbor's apt, unless the windows are open in both. I used to smell cigarette smoke from a neighbor, which was annoying but additionally it causes me health issues (and longterm, doesn't it give everyone health issues). So I said something to the housing dept. They pointed out to me that they couldn't stop my neighbors from smoking (and for different reasons, perhaps your neighbors will always smell) However, the housing dept. *was* concerned about the fact that I could detect smells from another apt. They sent a carpenter and we finally figured out that the wall of a closet separating my apt. from the neighbor was damaged somehow and "leaking" the air between the two. They were interested in fixing it due to the fire hazard I don't know what kind of building you live in (I guess if it's a woodframe, the fire hazard thing is probably not applicable), but maybe the simple existence of a connection between your two units would be an issue that would interest your underactive housing management. While the exchange of air is an acute annoyance to you right now because of the odor, this transfer must go both ways. Undetectable germs that might come from you and your husband could endanger the health of the "sickly" brother or the oily residue emanating from your Glade air fresheners may bother his lungs. So correcting this is not only in your best interest.

The single roach wouldn't worry me too much.... keep sticky traps in corners if you are still concerned -- then you'll have specimens to show management. Or you'll have blank traps to give you peace of mind. Good luck - hope things improve!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 1:19AM
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A wise man once said: "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away AND you've got their shoes!"

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 3:45PM
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I too have the same problem in a small studio. The neighboor directly next to my door smokes cigarettes and "misc." I purchased a door sweep and some rubber weatherstipping type stuff at the home depot. It comes in a box -- 17' worth. Total cost was like $8.00. Has anyone had success with simliar efforts?


    Bookmark   January 12, 2005 at 10:56PM
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Did the door sweep and weatherstripping solve the problem?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 2:18AM
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I am sympathetic to someone caring for an eldery person and would recommend that the OP tell the manager asap about the problem so that a solution can be worked out for everyone's benefit. That saintly sister needs a lot of help and possibly a new living situation.

If those odors are present, that apartment is being damaged by that tenant and her brother. That's not fair to the owner (who will ultimately suffer financial loss) or the OP (who is losing the enjoyment of her home). There are so many agencies who can help.

About the roach: Good advice to set traps so you can determine if the building is being infested.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 12:19PM
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In fact -- after a week of use with the rubber weather seal and the door sweep... it has provided great results! Not only has the fix cut down on ambient noise from the hallway, it has also DRAMATICALLY (and i can't stress that enough!) reduced any smells from cooking and next door neighbors smoke. I can still smell it a TINY bit sometimes if its HEAVY smoke or HEAVY cooking but nothing at all like before! Get a Glade Plug-in in your favorite scent and youre good to go. I had family over this weekend and they said everything smelled great inside (third party review :)

Your results may vary depending on your door, width of gap, and amount of "smell" Home Depot had a variety of different sizes of the weather sealing and it required NO drilling ... all self-stick and has held well so far! I'm pretty pleased.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2005 at 11:26PM
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I live next to a Brazilian family of four in a split one bedroom. I live alone. Apparently we share the same supply/return duct for heat because they start cooking at 10am and eat dinner at 5 or 6 pm. I have lit incense in the hallway and the fire alarms have gone off and that doesn't help. I'm at the point where i have to turn off my heat when they start to cook "X" stink meat and dishes. I'm pretty worldly with food but this smells like garbage out of a NYC dumpster all day long. I need this stink out too, suggestions are welcome.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 3:40AM
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Room air purifier. I was given an EdenPure G-7 (for 3000 sq ft), does an excellent job but have only had it a couple months. That solution would be worth researching before purchase, there are so many out there. (Allergy sites are pretty good.)

Natural Magic or Citrus Magic tubs. Lowe's, Home Depot (both near cleaning supplies), small hardware or paint stores. Doesn't mask odors, absorbs it. I've mentioned I use in rentals I'm showing all the time. Leaves them neutral odor-wise, so feels fresh. It's generally 1 tub per 400 square feet, I'd at least double or triple at first.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:48PM
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id start with expanding foam inbetween their ceiling and floorboards also gaps inbetween studded walls, holes for pipes and wires, plastic sheeting over the floor boards with silicone around the sides, door (brush) draught strips and door and window (foam) draught strips on every window and door. put fabric softeners and febreeze and etc on radiators in hallways and in your apartment, maybe even shake n vac too. plug in airfresheners a must

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:41AM
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I happened to encounter that kind of neighbor 2 years ago. To be honest, I don't relay my sentiments to the management so I go directly to the door of my neighbor and told him about my concern in a friendly way. He apologised for it and I just tell him that its okay for as long as the sound is tolerable.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:52PM
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