My house stinks
April 27, 2015 12:35 PM   Subscribe

My apartment started smelling like garbage last week and I can't make it go away. What is happening?!

I am a pretty fastidious person. Last week I started to notice a garbage smell in the house. I scrubbed the bathroom, did a deep clean of the cat's litter box, and washed the kitchen floors. I also took out the garbage, which smelled just like normal garbage. I usually take the garbage out once every few days. This smell is like... vague rotting meat, ammonia, garbage smell. Like someone left a bag of trash in the sun for a day or two.

This smell seems to mostly be concentrated in my bedroom, I think? But my house is small - 650 sq ft - and I smell it everywhere. I have opened up every single window and aired it out. It smelled great! Then, about an hour after closing up the house again... it's back. Candles do nothing but make it smell like vanilla scented garbage.

I have a landlord who isn't the best at caring about stuff. Is there something I can do to get her to fix the problem? I am sensitive, and this smell is actually keeping me awake at night. It's the first thing I smell in the morning and is interfering with my enjoyment of my home.

I have no open food except for a lonely sweet potato that I bought two days ago and a watermelon that is about 5 days old. I smelled both and they smell like nothing. I have one plant; it also smells like nothing. I have a cat, and she is not any stinkier than usual, nor is it possible that she killed a mouse or something and dragged it under the bed. She would have caused a lot more fanfare if she found a mouse; you should see her wood roach parties when one of those bad boys gets in from outside.

Also, this may not be related, but I have an ant problem and an intermittent cricket issue in my bathroom. They're coming in through the bathtub drain. Small ones that don't really matter (I'm not that bothered by them) but I have read that ants in the drains can be related to a faulty plumbing system. And perhaps relatedly, I had a VERY bad clog in my bathtub two weeks ago. They almost had to dig up the floors to get it out, the "plumber" said (he is just my landlord's boyfriend and he's not really a real plumber). But he was able to get the pipes working again using some kind of contraption he rented. The pipes have always been bad here, and the "plumber" said that it was working better than it ever has in the past four years, and although I haven't lived here that long I know he's right - the tub FINALLY drains. It has never drained properly since I moved in, and when I moved in, the tub was actually full of water from the old tenants. Could he have broken or burst something during that, and could that be causing this rotting smell? I wonder this because the shower is just on the other side of my bed, and the smell is worst when I try to sleep at night (but like I said, it's bad everywhere).

Thoughts? Suggestions? What can I say to my landlord to get this actually looked at?
posted by sockermom to Home & Garden (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it possible something died in your walls? Like a mouse or something?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:39 PM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

Could it be a dead mouse in the walls or under the floorboards? If so, it takes about 3 weeks for the smell to go away.
posted by cecic at 12:40 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sounds like a drainage issue. I'd start there.
posted by turkeyphant at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, my first thought was "dead rodent in the walls." Also, the few times this has happened in my house (I swear I, too, am a fastidious person! Most of the time!) it's turned out to be some rotting food/leftovers/dirty dish I had hidden for some reason. Once in my office it was a dirty Tupperware container from lunch that had gotten kicked to the back of the drawer. Once at my house it was a dirty soup bowl I'd shoved under the sink in a hurry because I was having company. If you rule out dead animals, it could be worthwhile to hunt around for random nasty foods in hidden places.
posted by witchen at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely dead something in the wall. Just give it a few days and it'll take care of itself. Nasty though.
posted by greta simone at 12:44 PM on April 27, 2015

We had a landlord treat for mice and one of the things he did was place glue boards, one of which ended up in the pan drawer under the oven. We hunted down the smell for a couple days until I pulled the drawer all the way out and found a mummifying mouse way back there, stuck to the board. It was gross.
posted by jquinby at 12:45 PM on April 27, 2015

Response by poster: Wouldn't my boyfriend's dog (beagle mix) be going INSANE if the walls held a $TASTYDEADTHING in them? She isn't really reacting at all to the smell. Is there any way to get her to pinpoint the source of the odor?

And it's definitely not rotting food or leftovers. I only eat in the kitchen, and my kitchen is spotless. I am a clean freak.
posted by sockermom at 12:46 PM on April 27, 2015

If it's not one of the more likely answers you'll get, do you have a microwave? When I had a stink it turned out to be the cooked broccoli I'd forgotten about. I tore the place apart trying to find the source of the smell. It took days.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have noticed this a couple of times in my kitchen. It seems to have been something in the drain because after I poured some white vinegar down the drown, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinsed it with hot water, the smell went away.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 12:48 PM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

Definitely sounds like dead rodent in the wall. I think the dog would respond to a live rodent more than a dead one, as that dead meat is rancid.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:49 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

My primary culprit for a situation like that, if you live in an apartment, is plumbing - either a roof vent isn't venting or one of your pipes that is curved to prevent bubbles of sewer gas isn't doing its job.

The last time it happened to me in an apartment, it was roof vent not venting and drain water + sewer gas was getting drawn up into my sink when the upstairs neighbor ran a bunch of water in his sink. I just happened to walk by as it rose up almost but not quite into my sink and I saw it catch the light. (I didn't do anything and a couple days later I came home from work and the sink was dry but coated in black funk that had clearly risen almost all the way to the top.)
posted by Lyn Never at 12:52 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

Does the house have a crawlspace? In an old house, twice I had to deal with opossums that died beneath the house.
posted by ShooBoo at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2015

How old is the plumbing? I've seen drain pipes rot completely away, so that the draining water ends up under the house instead of the septic system. Pretty smelly. If there's an accessible crawlspace you might want to shine a flashlight under there.

Also, it's an apartment? Might it be something the neighbors haven't attended to?
posted by natteringnabob at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

uh. drain* not drown.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:00 PM on April 27, 2015

This happened in an apartment that Mr. OrangeDisk rented years and years ago, and it turned out to be the garbage disposal. He thought that because he never disposed of stuff in it (because he didn't cook) that there was no reason to run it. But those things get dirty, and presumably previous tenants had used it. He ran it with dish soap and hot water, and the smell instantly got significantly better. He bought some sort of garbage disposal cleaner at the grocery store and that cleared up the problem completely.
posted by OrangeDisk at 1:03 PM on April 27, 2015

Also, this may not be related, but I have an ant problem and an intermittent cricket issue in my bathroom. They're coming in through the bathtub drain. Small ones that don't really matter (I'm not that bothered by them) but I have read that ants in the drains can be related to a faulty plumbing system.

What often happens is that a drippy pipe or something creates a damp spot within the walls somewhere, and then it stagnates and festers and creates a foul garbagey smell and incidentally also gives ants or roaches a happy (for them) little oasis. Water being water, it finds its own path to where it wants to collect, so this spot might not be directly adjacent to the weak part of the pipe.
posted by desuetude at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: Nthing it's a drain/pipe issue. The "plumber" has rammed a hole somewhere, and now you need a real one. I'm so certain about this (having just lived through it)that if I'm wrong, I'll eat your hat.
posted by whowearsthepants at 1:08 PM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

When a similar thing happened to me I eventually discovered an onion in a drawer was rotting from the bottom; the rest of the onion looked fine so we never thought to check it. Nobody ever suspects the onion.

Look on the bottom of things, is my point.
posted by bondcliff at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

If it's not plumbing...This happened to me recently and it was driving me crazy. It turned out to be a bag of dog treats. They weren't rotting or anything, they just stank so bad that the whole condo smelled. I sealed the bag up well and put them in my pantry. The next day I walked into my pantry and the smell was so strong I threw the whole bag of dog treats away (sorry, puppy!). And now the smell is gone.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2015

Response by poster: Awesome. If it's likely that it is a drainage issue, what the heck do I say to my landlord to get her to fix it? Note that I've lived without a washer/dryer since I moved in because the existing unit spills moldy water into my clothing and make them stink and leaves black streaks all over them; she contends that "they smell and look fine" (they don't), so I just dropped it.

I am now looking for the "magic words" that will get her to say "oh no something is actually wrong; I'll send someone real over to take a look."

Finally, wouldn't the PIPES smell or the drain smell? The smell isn't really from the drains; it's from the wall. It's really strong when I put my face up to the little door in the wall that I presume leads to the shower pipes (the door that the "plumber" insisted didn't exist, which is why he wanted to rip up the floor two weeks ago) - I saw it after I moved the bed after posting this question to see if there was in fact a dead present left by my cat under there, because I realized I was assuming she hadn't when it was, in fact, possible. She hasn't.

Yup, I threw out all my onions on Friday because I know sometimes onions get creepy from the inside out. Didn't help. I really have no food that isn't sealed or in the fridge except the aforementioned lonely potato and whole watermelon. I promise that it is NOT food.
posted by sockermom at 1:16 PM on April 27, 2015

I would also check for rotting onions or potatoes, if you store them. I can't believe how awful they smell. If not that, I would check for plumbing issues.
posted by sarajane at 1:17 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: what the heck do I say to my landlord to get her to fix it?

From everything you have reported, I think the best course of action is to give notice and move out. They sound seriously unmotivated to make real repairs and pretty unconcerned with tenant happiness, too. Now, I understand that there are probably a thousand real-life reasons it's not easy to just give notice and move, so in that case I would probably call a real plumber for an analysis of the situation and deduct the cost from your rent.

I am sorry you are going through this, it sound awful.
posted by kate blank at 1:19 PM on April 27, 2015 [9 favorites]

This does sound pretty awful. In your situation I would contact my local tenant's rights association; they will be able to tell you what remedies are available and may provide advice about what to say to get the landlords to pay attention.

But this is going to be tough; as you can see above from our answers no one can tell what is wrong if they aren't looking at the actual problem. If you're feeling brave I suppose you could open up the smelly door and see what is behind it..
In the meantime you might consider odor-absorbers rather than coverers. So think baking soda or kitty litter.
Kitty litter was useful for us when we had a dead skunk in the crawl space. (Of course if you do reduce the smell that makes your landlord even less likely to take action, so ymmv).

Oh also a quick Google suggests several ways to clean mold out of a washing machine, so you might see if some proactive effort there could solve that issue.
posted by nat at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ack I meant to say deducting repair costs from your rent is absolutely not legal everywhere in the US. It varies strongly by state and municipality. Please check with a local tenants rights organization before you try this or anything similar.
posted by nat at 1:29 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's really strong when I put my face up to the little door in the wall that I presume leads to the shower pipes.

Sounds like it's time to open up that door.
posted by sam_harms at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had this happen! The dishwasher at my rental is crappy so I hand wash my dishes. Water backed up in the washer and just sat and ... grew things. The house smelled like one of the circles of hell. I almost fainted when I thought to fling open the washer and the pung came roaring out. I bailed it out while fully kitted out in rubber gloves and swabbed the whole thing with bleach.

My sister forgot to empty her rainbow vacuum cleaner that filters everything into a pan of water that absolutely must be emptied. The smell was indescribable.
posted by Allee Katze at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2015

Make sure to check under the refrigerator as well. I found a dead mouse under mine once.
posted by nolnacs at 1:34 PM on April 27, 2015

Best answer: If the plumbing job burst the drain pipe you would have a short term benefit of having a well running drain. However, that water is draining somewhere that it should not. It will cause rot, mold, and bad smells. The insects have found a fine place to breed, and an access point into your apartment.

What is underneath your bathtub? Is it a solid foundation, a basement, a crawl space, or someone else's apartment? That is where the water is going and the smell is coming from. Depending on the nature of the building and other factors, this could get progressive more serious.

In order to get some attention from your landlord, the words to use might be flood, rot, mildew, damage, and decay.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you run water (hot or cold, doesn't matter) in the shower/tub for awhile, does that clear out the stench? Some of that water may be accumulating in wherever it is, and if you flush it out or dilute it by showering/bathing then that helps you narrow down culprits.
posted by resurrexit at 1:49 PM on April 27, 2015

The ammonia thing makes me think cat urine. Our cat had peed into the stove (!) and the smell was horrible but diffuse that we couldn't locate it for weeks. Unfortunately that meant urinary tract difficulties that were severe, so I hope it isn't that.
posted by wnissen at 1:52 PM on April 27, 2015

If your landlord doesn't turn white and start making calls as soon as you say "leak in the plumbing", you should start looking for a new place asap. There are few things that damage a building as fast as a broken drain.
posted by bonehead at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

what the heck do I say to my landlord to get her to fix it

There are no magic words, unless you can (on your own) find a problem so bad you can call the city on her (which still doesn't force her to have the money or inclination to repair - worst case scenario she does nothing and the building gets condemned, though that would at least break your lease for you). If she tells you gross-streaked clothes are "fine" it's likely there's not much you can do. At best, if you can discover the source you might figure out a trick that keeps the issue at bay.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2015

Do you have a garbage disposal? Try dumping some of this or one of these down the sink and running it. You might need to do it twice.
posted by bowmaniac at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2015

Response by poster: I'm moving soon so that's fine. I'm a little worried she's going to try to pin this on me and keep my hefty security deposit. She's already bullied me into staying an extra month and paying rent (the subject of another post I assume). I've taken great care of this place and the plumbing has always been a problem. Now I'm pretty confident it's the plumbing. I'll email her again (she will not respond to calls) and say "rot" and "decay" and also will go back to the lawyer that I consulted with when she made me extend my lease by a month.

Thankfully no one lives below me, so this isn't ruining someone else's life too.

Also running the water makes it go away for a short while. Bingo.
posted by sockermom at 2:08 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you put the plug in the drain, maybe that will keep the smell away until *fingers crossed* this gets fixed.
posted by kitcat at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm voting for gross drains, too, and my suggestion for the magic word is "health hazard." Or perhaps "bio-hazard." My garbage disposal will occasionally grow gross slime on the interior rubber mouth part, and just putting bleach in the drain won't work--I have to scrub it out by hand. I would describe the smell exactly as you have. Dead animals smell quite . . . singular. If you've smelled on before, it would be unmistakable.
posted by feste at 2:40 PM on April 27, 2015

Check the refrigerator drain/evaporator pan.

Weeks before a terrible garbage smell, our cats kicked open the freezer one weekend while we were away. We tossed the food, sand thought that was the end of that.

Nearly 6 weeks later, and unidentifiable garbage smell appeared. I don't know why it took so long to smell, but the unwanted defrost and my water usage cleaning the freezer created a mess. The delay between incident and smell made it difficult to figure out. Especially because it smelled worse in the bedroom next to the kitchen.

Turns out refrigerators have evaporating/drain pans (sometimes removable, ours wasn't) and over the intervening weeks, it became a host for terrible smelly moldy things. The cleanup was a nightmare.

Anyway, hopefully this isn't the cause, but I haven't seen this possible offender mentioned yet, and wanted to warn of the evils lurking behind the fridge.
posted by bindr at 2:52 PM on April 27, 2015

Landlord here. Although not related to my places The Smell of a dead rodent in the walls is quite different than "garbage smells." *
A garbage smell when I've encountered it : IS WATER 1. the plumbing 2. a roof leak that's slowly rotting the roof structure/related walls.
Water is especially concerning as there are types of mold some of which are dangerous.**

* a friend who horded assundry items, to a goat-trail level, convinced me to help in removal. He had several dead rats. A smell I'll never forget or relate to anything but a dead animal.

** I've only encountered "black mold" once--the adjoining townhouse owners had a brother-in-law type repair to their roof which caused run off into the walls it my unit's kitchen area (with no running water pipes nearby.)
There was no notable wall damage or leakage. I went to the 2-story roof, saw the shabby repair and called my guy. The damage was extensive ($5000 iirc) which was paid by the neighbor's homeowner insurance~~part of the $$ went to my carpenter who had to wait around several days and argue his points with the neighbor's Insurance people. Carpenter also found the adjoining area, side-back kitchen walls, were slightly spongy...had to be torn out, where black mold was found. Pretty traumatic as my tenant was pregnant. She had to be rehoused as the sheetrock, insulation and 2"x4" structure was removed.
Other Garbage Smells I've encounter were non-draining garbage disposals and dishwashers. These a pretty easily tracked down.
posted by Twist at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh bindr's comment above reminds me: if you have an interior 'air conditioning' closet [usually used in conjunction with the heat for your apartment--this would be electric heat] the condensation from the ac goes through a pvc tube and drains outside.
Bacteria and fungi commonly build up in the pvc tube...You'd likely only smell this during hot months, when the water taken from your interior air is not draining due to bacteria build up.*
You can check to see if there've been problems in the past, you'll see staining on the wood platform supporting the interior ac evaporator coil [this is a large metal unit in your ac closet.]
Most tenant's note this problem by finding the carpet around the ac closet wet.

If you've got a water line going to your frig's icemaker (or condensation run off to the pan beneath your frig as bindr noted above) these are easily checked by moving the appliance away from the wall. These will also create a Garage Type smell.

* I use my SCUBA air tank to blow these out usually in June and again in August.
posted by Twist at 3:26 PM on April 27, 2015

If you already know there is mold in the washer/dryer, how about putting some bleach in the drum and running it on the hot cycle? Can't hurt.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:46 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Very possibly a dead rodent in the walls. Call an exterminator to come help.
posted by Yellow78 at 3:57 PM on April 27, 2015

A plumbing pipe break causing sewage to accumulate under our house smelled EXACTLY like garbage.
posted by raspberrE at 5:52 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you use re-usable grocery bags? Once I unloaded all of my groceries, and then put my reusable bags away in the closet, neglecting to notice that I left a head of garlic at the bottom of one of them. I have a lot of reusable bags so I have no idea how long it was in there before it turned and got as stinky as it did. It took me a LONG time to discover the source of the smell (I seriously thought someone might have died!).
posted by pazazygeek at 5:57 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

We just went through something similar a few weeks ago. Thought it was the garbage can (left wrapper for raw meat in the can overnight, it got warm). Scrubbed the can and the floors, and the smell got worse. Even showed up upstairs, which is a different AC (turns out there is a vent that connects the upstairs and downstairs hallways). We feared a rodent had died in a vent.

Turns out it was "Dirty Sock Syndrome". It's pretty common with modern air conditioners - bacteria feed on the oil and other various crud on the AC cooling coils (skin cells, anything else picked up by air current) and smells bad. It usually shows up when you first start to use the AC again, especially if the use is intermittent.

After much cursing of generations of "DIY, good-enough" repair projects done by the previous owner, I was able to get access to the coils and spritz them down with diluted bleach. Hey presto, no more stink.

It also supposedly will go away after running your AC for a few days (took more than a week).
posted by yggdrasil at 9:36 AM on April 28, 2015

> If your landlord doesn't turn white and start making calls as soon as you say "leak in the plumbing", you should start looking for a new place asap. There are few things that damage a building as fast as a broken drain.

Seconded, vehemently. You already said that you're leaving soon, so that's good. But seriously, WTF, water progresses from "merely" stench and bugs into structural damage, but that's utterly preventable unless one is determined to be a complete twit about it.
posted by desuetude at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2015

Left field answer, but i had a shitty landlord like this at a rental house.

The garbage smell WAS GARBAGE. The landlord eventually did this to us, but had quit paying trash pickup on the previous tenants. They FILLED the attic with garbage bags so that they wouldn't have to pay to dump it. There was like, 25 up there. And it was a tiny attic.

The roof leaked a bit, creating garbage tea, and the entire house smelled like this.

The owners friend "plumber" and shit really remind me of that place, as does the lack of caring about problems that could actually be terrible.

The house eventually did leak badly all over the place and they just didn't care. All they cared about was keeping the house looking barely nice enough to rent so they could cycle through 1 year leases with new tenants forever.

That problem was just the tip of the iceberg. That house ruined a lot of my stuff, and i eventually woke up with a mouse tangled in my hair.
posted by emptythought at 12:28 PM on April 28, 2015

Response by poster: Well, it's not my neighbors doing anything weird with their garbage, but they asked me if I smelled it today, so that was interesting. We both have the smell; theirs is in their kitchen (next to my bathroom) and mine is in my bedroom (also next to my bathroom, on the other side). Landlord won't respond to me and I don't know if they contacted her. It is starting to smell outside, too - I noticed it when I got home from work today. It rained pretty hard today and I wonder if that's making whatever it is worse.

Also when I moved in I did everything I could to fix the washer/dryer mold problem before I even called her (causing my friends to call me crazy because "that's why you rent, so you don't have to deal with this stuff"), because I didn't want to be a problem tenant. I couldn't fix it, her "plumber" friend couldn't fix it, they both said it was in my head because the previous tenants didn't complain about it, and I haven't touched it since (although the door remains ajar so that more mold doesn't accumulate).

It's not the air conditioning; I haven't used that yet this year, and the heat has been off for awhile.

Looks like it's time for a lawyer, which should be a fun way to spend my time. Any tips to make sure that I don't start to smell like garbage as my clothes and my self just end up sitting in this stink? Or any tips for how to get a good night's sleep despite the stench?
posted by sockermom at 8:23 PM on April 30, 2015

Also when I moved in I did everything I could to fix the washer/dryer mold problem before I even called her (causing my friends to call me crazy because "that's why you rent, so you don't have to deal with this stuff"), because I didn't want to be a problem tenant. I couldn't fix it, her "plumber" friend couldn't fix it, they both said it was in my head because the previous tenants didn't complain about it, and I haven't touched it since (although the door remains ajar so that more mold doesn't accumulate).

Oh god this is giving me like, PTSD flashbacks. This is EXACTLY the kind of stuff it started with.

That "Well no one else complained about *insert obviously, objectively fucked up thing* so it must be YOU" is the laziest gaslighting slumlord bullshit.


I had actually missed the part mentioning the washing machines when i wrote my original post because i just blasted it out after reading the question and your second update. I had my own version of the moldy washing machine thing with a junky fridge that would slowly ice over the coils and stop cooling the fridge portion, and only freeze. Exact same "well the previous people didn't have a problem with it" routine and just ugh.

Also, after reading your update about the smell that included said washing machine bit, i'm convinced this is a fairly far along grey or black water leak within the wall with plenty of mold/rot. I lived in a place a long time ago where this happened. In the end, they had to rip out a lot of plumbing and do a ton of repairs and did it the way a little kid forced to turn off his nintendo and take out the garbage would. Grumpily, like they shouldn't have to, and with many delays.

You'd be surprised at how easy it generally is to break the lease when there's serious habitability problems. We were really afraid at the time that the smells and a lot of the other general failure of the place would just be blamed on us, as the landlord tried to... but since then i've realized and heard first hand account of how it really doesn't go that way.

Any tips to make sure that I don't start to smell like garbage as my clothes and my self just end up sitting in this stink?

Nope, i moved out of my place like this 3 years ago almost exactly to the day(just showed up on timehop! heh). Occasionally i still pull a sweater out of a stack it's been entombed in for a season and get a whiff of that godawful garbage and mouse shit/dead mouse smell again. Once your stuff stinks, certain stuff will stink forever. Especially if there's polyester involved. Hell, some band tshirts i loved that have been through the laundry 5 or even 10 times since then occasionally vaguely smell like it just a little bit.

This is one my biggest regrets of the whole thing. I straight up had to throw out a lot of stuff i liked because it just wouldn't stop smelling like that. And years later, some things still clearly smell like that. Not strongly, and if i wear them for a few hours you can't smell it anymore, but if they've been in a box/drawer/buried for a while or ESPECIALLY sealed up in some kind of ziplock clothes bag or garbage bag type situation then... there's that goddamn smell again.
posted by emptythought at 4:20 AM on May 1, 2015

Response by poster: Her "plumber" woke me up by letting himself in to my apartment at 8 am, unannounced, no notice. I was sleeping and he gave me such a scare that I asked him to leave. Now she says there's nothing she can do because I refused his help. Awesome. When I said that I needed notice she claimed that I never asked for an exact time before (notice isn't the same thing as a time, but ok).

I feel taken advantage of and bullied. What can I do to ensure that this problem doesn't take up my precious time emotional energy at this point? Is given up hope of having the smell resolved.
posted by sockermom at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2015

I feel taken advantage of and bullied. What can I do to ensure that this problem doesn't take up my precious time emotional energy at this point?

Have you contacted your local tenants' rights association? Getting information doesn't oblige you to get litigious. I find that knowing the options gives me peace, even/especially when I decide to let something go. The "boyfriend" (I mean, "plumber") charade is ridiculous. Knowing there's a way to turn landlord antics into a viable paper trail can be comforting, even if you decide not to learn and practice those skills this time around.

I've given up hope of having the smell resolved.

If you can borrow a strong dehumidifier for the rest of your time there, that might reduce the lasting impact on the clothing and furniture you plan to move.
posted by wonton endangerment at 9:07 PM on May 12, 2015

"Her "plumber" woke me up by letting himself in to my apartment at 8 am, unannounced, no notice. "

Get out get out get out!
posted by Yowser at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

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