Urgent Advice Needed for Strong Cooking Odor

  1. Some of you may remember I wrote a post about my landlords renting the apt. downstairs from me to a couple that smokes (come to find out the woman is pregnant but that's besides the point...). My landlord lives on the premises and after some conversations, the smoking has lessened considerably. However, there is also an additional problem on top of this one that is a bit tricky, but thankfully it aggravates my landlord and her live-in BF as much as it does me, because we had a conversation about it.

    The neighbors are of spanish descent and cook with a VERY STRONG oil that they burn. I was only told by my LL that they burn it but am unsure of the process involved. The odor is so pungent that it travels throughout the house - under doors, through air vents, and through the cabinets. My apt is a replica layout so when they cook, my kitchen is enveloped. When they migrate to their bedroom mine is directly above. I can smell the odor through the air vent in my wall. I can't sleep. Right now my throat and eyes are still burning from last night's episode and I am at work! I know when I go home my apt. will still stink.

    My LL is on vacation and had a chat with them about the oil. They said they don't understand; it doesn't smell. I went downstairs last night and got the same response with a "We're cooking, I'm pregnant, It doesn't smell" response, and a door slammed in my face." I won't let them play the prejudiced card with me (and am sorry if that offends anyone; I am *very* offended living in their odors) and will probably end up getting myself killed for being confrontational. I am taking care of my LL's cat while they are on vacation this week and when I went downtairs to their apt. it reeked too.

    While I'm still looking into options (moving, exercising tenant rights if LL can't change the situation by withholding my rent in escrow), can anyone PLEASE recommend something I can do to neutralize this odor. I have tried baking soda, lysol spray, odor absorbing blocks under my cabinets and in my room, and nothing is working. I am desparate. If this smell starts imbedding into my clothes and designer bags I'm going to be so heartbroken, not to mention angry! I'm already angry and at my wits end. Why can't people be courteous? I don't leave my cat's dirty litter box in the hallway for them to smell, but maybe I should!!
  2. This is also a tricky cultural thing... to them, that might just be normal cooking smells, like baking bread, rather than anything repungent. I don't have any legal advice for you, but sorry you have to go through this! I had a roommate who loved to cook very greasy Mexican food and it made the whole house stink, so I empathize with your pain!
  3. Wow, that sounds horrible. I'm Cuban and have been around hispanic/Spanish cooking a lot and have noticed that the smell varies depending on what they're cooking, how it's done, etc. I've been to some people's houses that just smell HORRIBLE all the time and they really don't even notice it because it's normal to them and they're used to it. Maybe that's the case with your neighbors. I'm sorry I don't have any advice, I googled it and I found some stuff about sprays, etc. but I think that's more for one you have a centralized odor and can remove the source.
  4. Seems unfair that you should have to foot the bill, but an air purifier might help. If not.......move? :shrugs:
  5. IA with the air purfier suggestion. It works wonders. I live in a big house that's converted into apartments therefore cooking smells travel easily. from fried bacon on the weekend to spaghetti and sauce in the evening, I know all my neighbours diets, lol! I just have to switch ont he purifier to do away with any smells
  6. Any suggestions on a purifier? Do you put one in every room or just get one for one room only?
  7. Sharper Image has some really nice ones that aren't too obscene in price. You could call their customer service and see what they suggest for the size apartment you have. My inclination is to say get two smaller ones: one for the living room/kitchen area and definitely one in the bedroom.

    Just remembered: QVC carries gobs of them in a variety of sizes and prices, but I'd still call Sharper Image to get an idea of what size you need. The CSR's at QVC don't know that sort of information too readily....
  8. ITA....air purifier is probably your best bet.

    Hard situation, I don't think legally there's much your LL can do, they are allowed to cook in their own apartment, even if everyone else thinks it reeks.
  9. They are allowed to cook, I agree, but what they are doing is burning off the oil. I have never seen it done, but I think that instead of dumping the remaining oils into the garbage, they turn up the heat really high on the stove and burn it off instead. I could smell their cooking in my kitchen last night while typing on my laptop. All of a sudden the odor became really strong. My eyes and throat started to burn, I began sweating and was having trouble catching my breath. I have allergies and borderline asthma. I went downstairs to talk to them and when they opened their back door (which is in their kitchen) I could see the husband removing the pot from the stove. It was steaming and the odor was super pungent. I think at that point they had finished the cooking and were burning off the extra oil.

    Correct me if I'm wrong. I never asked the LL to explain what "burning the oil" meant when we discussed the odor before they left for vacation. They simply said, "They are burning the oil. We don't mind if they cook, but don't burn the oil." I know that the smell is killing my LL's BF, and she lives and breathes for him. That may be enough for her to keep on hounding them. In the meantime, I will look into the air purifiers and perhaps get something in writing from my doc that it is affecting my health. I know my LL would not spend the money for air purifiers for my apt, but if I position my case as a health issue and get it in writing she may have no choice. I will deduct it from my rent if necessary.

    Thanks for your input folks!
  10. ^^^OMG, I have never heard of that...that would ruin your pans, too....very strange!
  11. Burning oil sounds like a fire hazard to me.
  12. Unfortunately living in a multi-person dwelling can be hard. I am President of my homeowner's association and had a person recently complain of something similar. A family of East Indian descent purchased the condo downstairs from him recently. He's upset because they cook curries and the smell permeates his condo. I explained to him that as a Board, we cannot tell them to stop cooking, so this is a tough one, especially when you are dealing with people of different ethnicities.

    The problem with moving is that you don't know if you are moving to a new situation that involves noise, smoking or cooking smells either. I feel for you though, it's a tough situation. If I were you, I'd be moving though, because if the neighbor is pregnant, you're going to have a crying baby in that situation in a few months too. In the mean time, start documenting how the smoke and cooking smells are hurting you medically. You may need those later.
  13. ITA! I would think the LL could make this a point in some way. Burning oil intentionally just seems dangerous!
  14. I use scented candles when I am cooking rather strong smelling Filipino foods.. that seems to help a bit.... and of course, the air purifier...