“Am I The Jerk For Refusing To Alter My Cooking Habits At Home For A Neighbor?”


Dealing with neighbors can be hard sometimes. Especially when you live in close proximity to each other, like in an apartment building. Loud noises and unpleasant smells are the most common complaints. So, it’s important that all residents are mindful of other people living in the building.

The author of this story got into a disagreement with their entitled neighbors over their late-night cooking. The OP asked the Internet whether their cooking after 9 PM was such a jerk move like the neighbor claimed. The couple claimed that the smells coming from the OP’s apartment were so unpleasant that they should stop cooking at night. What was the Internet’s verdict? Read below.

Some say that the biggest downside of living in an apartment complex is having to deal with difficult neighbors

Image credits: wirestock / Envato (not the actual photo)

This woman asked her neighbor to stop cooking in the evenings because the smell bothered her and her husband

Image credits: Vitor Monthay / Unsplash (not the actual photo)

Image credits: OpticalInfusion

The OP gave more context in the comments


Sometimes, cooking odors can be just as upsetting as smoke, incense, or garbage

Image credits: Conscious Design / Unsplash (not the actual photo)

Neighbors can be annoying in many different ways. Some stomp around in their apartments like giants, others listen to music at 2 AM, and some smoke or cook curry with their windows open.

Some food odors can be especially unpleasant and spread throughout a small space like an apartment. These include fried onions, fish paste, and spices like curry, cumin, and ginger. And while cooking at home is a basic everyday activity, it can make some neighbors mad.

But is it appropriate to get mad at neighbors and request they stop cooking? Experts say that it depends on the severity of the problem. Are the smells becoming a nuisance? If yes, then the neighbor might file a complaint to the landlord.

“A nuisance is an action or event that interferes with a tenant’s ability to [get] quiet enjoyment of the rental,” founder of RentPrep, Stephen Michael White, writes. Technically, nobody can tell what a person can and can’t do in their home. Still, if the cooking odors “are so invasive or irritating that the effect on other tenants is significant,” the landlord might decide to take action against that tenant.

Still, the first step should be having a conversation with the neighbor who’s the culprit of the smells. If that doesn’t work, then they should ask the landlord to handle the problem. Real Estate Attorney Dean Roberts recommends the neighbors put their complaint in writing – an email or a letter.

Neighbors should think about these five things before complaining to their landlord

Image credits: Christian Lue / Unsplash (not the actual photo)

It might be hard to determine whether the cooking odors coming from a person’s apartment count as a nuisance or not. RentPrep recommends neighbors consider these questions before taking any sort of action:

  • Are the cooking odors strong during preparation but then fade afterward?
  • Are the cooking odors emitted daily? Weekly? Infrequently?
  • Can you smell the cooking odors in the common areas, such as the hallways?
  • Have you had more than one complaint from more than one tenant?
  • Does the cooking odor linger in the neighboring apartment long after preparation is over?

Based on these factors, landlords might try taking the tenant causing the trouble to court. But before that, the landlord might also try reasoning with the person: by asking them to cook with windows open, use an exhaust fan, and so on.

Most people said the OP was not the jerk and had a little chat with the OP in the comments

The general consensus was NTA

But some thought the OP could be more thoughtful

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