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Jastiger
Oct 11, 2008
Please report me if I'm being negative or complaining about something. Hell, just report any of my posts so a mod can double check I'm not breaking the statutes of limitations on my posting.

Me and my fiance live in a town home that is all on one floor. The way it is designed is so that our town home is all on the top floor while our neighbors are on the bottom floor. We do not have shared entrances, do not share utilities, or anything like that (as far as we know). We only share walls near the stairs when we enter our apartment, but that is it. Otherwise they are all below ground.

Ever since our neighbors have moved in we have noticed that our downstairs area began to smell...odd. When you first came into our apartment you could smell an ashy, smoky smell and we figured that it was either people outside smoking or the new neighbors downstairs. The thing was, we shared a wall down there so if they wanted to continue their habit and it stayed down there, we can live with that.

Lately though, we have begun to smell it in our entire town home. Like really bad. Like, we came home tonight from doing some shopping and immediately I started tearing up and sneezing and we're both getting head aches from the smell. Apparently we had a maintenance guy come into our place to look at our dishwasher and even he admitted it smelled of smoke in our place. In short, our town home is starting to smell like smoke and we hate it. Its starting to affect our well being.

The reason I write here is to seek out advice on what we can or cannot do in a situation like this. Its the weekend and the management office is closed until Monday, and we fear this problem will only get worse. The town homes we live in are actually rentals. They are nicer apartments that afford a town home feel, but they aren't owned by individuals. I checked with the office a few days ago and there don't seem to be any restrictions on which ones are smoking and which ones are non.

What kinds of actions have other goons taken in situations like this? Is there really any action we can take? Are we being over sensitive? Should we ask the neighbors to....stop smoking? The fiance thinks we should talk to them, but I have a hard time going down and telling someone to stop smoking because its bugging us. (I do wish they would, they have two very young girls, one of which is mentally handicapped. Its just poor parenting imo, but that's neither here nor there). Can management do anything about this?

One theory we had mentioned was that our ventilation system is "sucking up" the air from their place and spreading it into ours. Is this grounds for terminating a lease? Requiring new vent work (a huge undertaking I'm sure)? Thanks for the advice ahead of time, and please, do share your stories where other peoples' living conditions began to effect yours for some good anecdotal advice.

Edit: Meant to pick ASK and HELP tag! Can we please fix mods:(

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lazer_chicken
May 14, 2009

PEW PEW ZAP ZAP


Honestly, there's probably nothing you can do other than talk to the neighbors and ask them nicely to smoke outside (not likely). It's not illegal for them to smoke in their home.

My girlfriend had an apartment a few years ago with the same issue and the apartment office told her they couldn't do anything about it because they can't tell the guy he can't smoke in his own apartment.

I guess it's possible you may have some sort of local ordinance about cigarette smoke in apartments or something, but you're probably SOL. Definitely talk to both the neighbors and the office, but I don't believe either one has any legal requirement to do anything about it.

EDIT: Secondhand smoke has been getting a lot of media attention recently, so maybe we can look forward to better protections from stuff like this.

calbruc
Nov 15, 2007
Title text (optional; no images are allowed, only text)

My coworker's fiance got their landlord to offer up a different apartment on the cheap because their neighbors smoked and the HVAC was shared. There was also the cunning use of a newborn baby and the word "sue."

This was in Southern California, so YMMV.

nm
Jan 28, 2008

"I saw Minos the Space Judge holding a golden sceptre and passing sentence upon the Martians. There he presided, and around him the noble Space Prosecutors sought the firm justice of space law."

What state do you live in?

I suspect a lawyer may be able to help.

gum bichromate
Sep 4, 2006

~*~*~*~*~*~*~* I AM NOT A SLAVE! TO A BREED!! THAT DOESN'T EXIST!!! THE BEAUTIFUL PIBBLE, THE BEAUTIFUL PIBBLE
~*~*~*~*~*~*


Check your lease to see if it says anything about other residents' behavior disturbing your living situation.

An apartment complex I lived in had a (purposefully) vaguely-worded guarantee about being comfortable, safe, and satisfied in your apartment. This came in handy when one neighbor left their TV on top volume 24 hours a day in the apartment that shared a wall with our bedroom, and when some other neighbor who shared our hallway would concoct some horrid satan-dish that could only be described as fish and vomit deep fried in mouse urine, whose stench filled the whole building and stuck to your clothes and hair for days at a time. We took it up with the management, and their policy was first a verbal warning to the culprit, then if it continued, the complaint had to be submitted to the office in writing three times at least one week apart and it would be forwarded to the resident causing the problem. If it got to three letters sent, they lost their lease.

Even if your management office isn't as strict and helpful as my old one, I'm sure there is something in your lease about their half of the bargain being to provide a comfortable, or safe, or at least livable space in exchange for your rent. If someone is ruining that and they do nothing about it, you have plenty of reason to break you lease- which they don't want you to do. Just go talk with someone in the office on Monday.

MAJOR STRYkER
Jan 2, 2008

FIFTY THOUSAND PEOPLE USED TO LIVE HERE...

Jastiger posted:

I started tearing up and sneezing and we're both getting head aches from the smell.
What is wrong with you? Also, incense.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



Why is it when these threads get posted, the OP hasn't even attempted to speak with the person? It's absolutely amazing. I hope the lawyer suggestion above was a joke.

If you aren't a complete rear end in a top hat, you will try to talk to your neighbor before doing anything else.

Nathilus
Apr 4, 2002

I alone can see through the media bias.

I'm also stupid on a scale that can only be measured in Reddits.

Jastiger posted:

Like, we came home tonight from doing some shopping and immediately I started tearing up and sneezing and we're both getting head aches from the smell.

See a doctor! This should not be happening.

superv0zz
Jun 23, 2006

Touch it.

Nathilus posted:

See a doctor! This should not be happening.

A doctor? They're likely allergic to the smoke. The same thing happens to me when I go to my mothers house who is a heavy smoker.

Jastiger
Oct 11, 2008
Please report me if I'm being negative or complaining about something. Hell, just report any of my posts so a mod can double check I'm not breaking the statutes of limitations on my posting.

beejay posted:

Why is it when these threads get posted, the OP hasn't even attempted to speak with the person? It's absolutely amazing. I hope the lawyer suggestion above was a joke.

If you aren't a complete rear end in a top hat, you will try to talk to your neighbor before doing anything else.

I am not sure I want to go and speak to them about something like this,though. I see potential negative consequences if I go in and try to ask/tell someone to change their behavior in their own home. That is why I ask here to see if there are other possible non confrontational methods of taking care of this issue.

As for smoke, yeah I think we're just not used to it so it gives us headaches and causes me to sneeze and stuff. I do the same thing when I go out to my fiances grand parents house.

I live in Iowa and there is that clause in there about comfortable living. Do you think health reasons would be sufficient to justify action?

RevXwise
Aug 14, 2010



Well, I haven't seen it suggested so far, but what about buying an air purifier? It might not be the solution you're looking for, but a good air purifier is pretty much always a good investment.

I use this one, but I'm sure any others will work fine.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



You think there will be negative consequences for speaking to them face-to-face but not for going immediately above their heads? The gently caress? You said this is a townhouse, right? So if you go passive-aggressive on this, they will know it was you. Your neighbors will hate you and your landlord will hate you for making them get involved with this after you didn't even try to talk to them yourselves.


edit: Think about it this way. Imagine that whenever you wear your shoes in a particular downstairs room, your walking sounds extremely loud in their apartment, and you didn't know it. Would you prefer that the neighbors knocked on your door and informed you of this and asked you to take off your shoes, or would you rather that the landlord calls you and says they have received a complaint about noise?

You are sitting here stressing out about it and posting on the internet and trying to find clauses or laws or whatever, and you might be able to solve it in 5 minutes by just going down there and saying "hi, I'm your neighbor, I'm sure you probably don't even know it but we are getting cigarette smoke inside our apartment and we are both allergic to smoke." And then they say "oh my gosh I'm so sorry, we will smoke outside from now on." Or they say "gently caress you" and then you consider alternatives.

Richard M Nixon
Apr 26, 2009

"The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker."


Are you one of those people who, when you pass by someone on the street who is smoking, has to cover their face and cough/wheeze loudly so that everyone knows they loving DEATH STICKS are in the area and you can't tolerate it? I've had neighbors on both sides of me who smoke and it's not like the apartment turns into a haze of secondhand smoke, but the scent does travel some. I'd imagine that if you made something delicious involving cabbage that your neighbors would be able to smell that as well. If you honestly freak the gently caress out this much from simply smelling it through a floor, you really should go to a doctor immediately, because it isn't normal. If it's so big of a deal for you, then you should move somewhere else. Unless your contract has some stipulation about not smoking inside (and many do), you're poo poo out of luck. While it's unfortunate that you simply cannot stand the scent, you don't really have much ability to go and infringe on someone else's rights while they're in their own home. I realize that you feel like you're being infringed upon as well, but you need to realize that this is a cost that you pay for living in not-a-house. Speak with them and see if they would consider smoking on the porch or getting some kind of an odor neutralizer. If that fails, you should look into an ozone generator, which will make your house smell a little bit like chlorine, but in a nice way.

E: Let me emphasize that you want an ozone generator, not an air purifier. The purifier will work alright, but in my experience the ozone is what really does it.

johnny sack
Jan 30, 2004

One day, this team will play to their expectations...

Just not this year..


RevXwise posted:

Well, I haven't seen it suggested so far, but what about buying an air purifier? It might not be the solution you're looking for, but a good air purifier is pretty much always a good investment.

I use this one, but I'm sure any others will work fine.

Does this actually work well? I want an air purifier that can remove some cat dander and random cat fur and poo poo. My house gets dusty easily and with 2 cats + a dog, there is more than enough fur.

Maybe this deserves it's own thread but if anyone knows about this, please tell me.

brylcreem
Oct 29, 2007


In Denmark it's illegal for air conditioners to share air between apartments, so this shouldn't happen.

Of course, when my next door neighbour smokes on his balcony and the smoke drifts in through my (closed) windows, that doesn't really matter.

In short, my insulation sucks.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



By the way here's the last Ask/Tell "my neighbors smoke in an apartment building and I don't want to talk to them about it but I'll certainly alert the authorities!" thread, I hope this one turns out just as good!

Richard M Nixon
Apr 26, 2009

"The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker."


brylcreem posted:

In Denmark it's illegal for air conditioners to share air between apartments, so this shouldn't happen.

Of course, when my next door neighbour smokes on his balcony and the smoke drifts in through my (closed) windows, that doesn't really matter.

In short, my insulation sucks.
I don't think the OP is implying that he's on the same circulation system as his neighbors - I can't imagine how climate control would work like that. In the US, every apartment/townhome has their own AC unit outside and their own ducting, so nothing should travel like that. The OP is saying that the smell is just rising through the floorboards/his neighbor's ceiling.

brylcreem
Oct 29, 2007


Of course - we don't really use A/C in Denmark, anyway. I should have said ventilation.

Richard M Nixon
Apr 26, 2009

"The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker."


brylcreem posted:

Of course - we don't really use A/C in Denmark, anyway. I should have said ventilation.
I noticed that some folks in another thread mentioned shared ventilation in older apartments in the US, so I clearly don't know what the gently caress I'm talking about. If the OP's townhome somehow shares a connection with the downstairs townhome, that sucks a little bit more.

Jastiger
Oct 11, 2008
Please report me if I'm being negative or complaining about something. Hell, just report any of my posts so a mod can double check I'm not breaking the statutes of limitations on my posting.

The price I pay for living in not-a-house is to breathe in things that cause me discomfort and has possible health side effects? I mean, no, I'm not one of those people that coughs and wheezes, but that doesn't mean I should suddenly be subjected to it just because it exists. By this reasoning anyone that does anything untoward should automatically be given license to do it because you live in "not a house".

As for going and talking to him- and this was in that other thread thanks for linking it- I don't want to do it is because they are doing something completely legal and just in the eyes of the tenancy laws. They aren't blowing smoke IN my windows, they aren't intentionally doing it only when I'm home. That is the problem. I can't go down there and tell them to alter their lifestyle but at the same my lifestyle is being altered. Its a catch-22. This is why I want to go "over their head" because it would make ME the rear end in a top hat to go down there and tell them to change their ways.

Also in the last thread it seemed to be in only one room. Here I think its literally being circulated throughout our entire home. The last thing I want is for us to become the-people-with-stinky-clothes because our place is dusted a few times a day with cigarette smoke.

PT6A
Jan 5, 2006

Next time PT6A makes you want to buy him another red title, instead please donate to the Alberta Children's Hospital that he hates so much.

Jastiger posted:

This is why I want to go "over their head" because it would make ME the rear end in a top hat to go down there and tell them to change their ways.

It also makes you the rear end in a top hat to go over their head about it, you know.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



Ok I must be missing something. Why do you feel like it's wrong to ask them to alter their lifestyle but you think it's ok to make someone else ask them to do so?

Red Oktober
May 24, 2006

wiggly eyes!

Jastiger posted:

This is why I want to go "over their head" because it would make ME the rear end in a top hat to go down there and tell them to change their ways.

This will make you the rear end in a top hat who is telling them to change their ways, AND the rear end in a top hat who goes over their head. I mean, they're going to know it's for you, right?

Jastiger
Oct 11, 2008
Please report me if I'm being negative or complaining about something. Hell, just report any of my posts so a mod can double check I'm not breaking the statutes of limitations on my posting.

Well I don't see it as "going over their head" I guess. I mean its not like I'm saying "Hey mangement, go tell them not to smoke". I'm saying "Hey management is there anything I or we can do to fix this problem?" I see that as completely different.

dennyk
Jan 2, 2005

Cheese-Buyer's Remorse


My upstairs neighbor smokes inside sometimes and I can smell it in my condo. It's mildly annoying, but it's just one of those things you have to put up with when living in an apartment/townhouse/condo. (On the plus side, sometimes he cooks up steaks or a roast or something and my place smells like delicious roasting meat for hours... )

It could be worse; in one apartment I lived in, there was some problem with the chimney that resulted in the smoke from my upstairs neighbor's fireplace getting sucked down my chimney. Not just the odor; there was literally a haze of smoke filling my living room when I came home one night. I spent a good minute or two trying to figure out what the gently caress was on fire and was about to call the fire department when I noticed the stream of smoke coming out of the cracks in the fireplace flue.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



Jastiger posted:

Well I don't see it as "going over their head" I guess. I mean its not like I'm saying "Hey mangement, go tell them not to smoke". I'm saying "Hey management is there anything I or we can do to fix this problem?" I see that as completely different.

So what is this thread for? It's becoming increasingly hard to tell.

You said in the OP the reason you posted it is because it's the weekend and you can't wait until Monday to talk to management. The only answer is talk to your neighbors. Or I guess get a hotel if you are that terrified of human contact.

KarmaCandy
Jan 14, 2006


Jastiger posted:

Well I don't see it as "going over their head" I guess. I mean its not like I'm saying "Hey mangement, go tell them not to smoke". I'm saying "Hey management is there anything I or we can do to fix this problem?" I see that as completely different.

Someone suggested an air purifier and you just seemed to skip right over it. Have you actually tried using an air purifier or even just air fresheners to see if it improves the smell? That would be a very easy solution that would allow you both to continue to live your lives as is.

lazer_chicken
May 14, 2009

PEW PEW ZAP ZAP


Jastiger posted:

I can't go down there and tell them to alter their lifestyle but at the same my lifestyle is being altered. Its a catch-22. This is why I want to go "over their head" because it would make ME the rear end in a top hat to go down there and tell them to change their ways.

This is retarded. When you go talk to them, you don't approach them with the attitude that you're demanding them to change their ways. You approach them in a friendly way and you ask them if there's any way you two can work out an amiable solution. You know, sometimes people do things to help other people out even if they aren't obligated to. Maybe this neighbor will agree to smoke outside or something. But how the hell are they supposed to know it's even an issue unless you tell them?

I had a situation in my apartment once where my dog (20 pounds) was apparently much louder than I realized when she was chasing her squishy ball around. Our neighbors from below came to us and asked us what all the 'thud' noises were late at night. I had no idea that her running around was loud enough to be a nuisance, and from then on we were careful not to get her riled up late at night. Do you really think that situation would have played out better if the neighbors had gone straight to the apartment management or a lawyer or something?

Invalid Validation
Jan 13, 2008


Here's what will happen if you go talk to them about it: Cool dude, we'll try to smoke outside more often. Then within the next week they'll start smoking inside again. That's if you manage to have really cool neighbors. They won't be consciously trying to piss you off, but they'll still do it. The only thing you can do is talk to your landlord and see if they'll do anything. Most likely they won't, I'm sorry you have to learn the hard way people don't know that apartments/town homes aren't houses.

EdTheHead
Dec 29, 2008



Take up smoking. You'll develop a tolerance. The 2nd hand smoke won't bother you and you'll look cool as poo poo.

Factory Ten
Feb 8, 2010
'DON"T WORRY BRO, I'LL BE YOUR CREEPY INTERNET DETECTIVE WHITE KNIGHT WHEN YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT!!!! CALL 1800 WHITE DICK AND I'LL TRACK DOWN OLD PHOTOS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE MEAN TO YOU TODAY!!!!


OP: this is how you handle this. Since you probably dislike confrontation, leave them a note.

Leave them a note that is politely asking them to change their behavior. Do not leave it anonymously. Make sure they know its from you. They're going to know who its from, so be a man about it.

Put on the note that you "keep missing them because of your schedule". This is your excuse for leaving it as a note. Sure, its transparent bullshit but you have to perform this bit of kabuki to keep the social order afloat. In your note, offer to discuss it with them over coffee. They will most likely decline.

When they are still smoking in a few weeks, talk with your landlord or lawyer. Show them that you've made a good faith attempt to work things out with your neighbor. This will make you look better and improve your chances of a positive outcome.

KarmaCandy
Jan 14, 2006


Invalid Validation posted:

Here's what will happen if you go talk to them about it: Cool dude, we'll try to smoke outside more often. Then within the next week they'll start smoking inside again. That's if you manage to have really cool neighbors. They won't be consciously trying to piss you off, but they'll still do it. The only thing you can do is talk to your landlord and see if they'll do anything. Most likely they won't, I'm sorry you have to learn the hard way people don't know that apartments/town homes aren't houses.

Talking to the landlor isn't the only answer. Personally, I'd try the air purifier first and see if that resolves or makes the problem better. If it doesn't, perhaps you could talk to them and instead of asking them not to smoke, ask them to also try out an air purifier on their end. If they value their right to smoke, they might be willing to protect their right and spend some money to make the situation bearable for both of you before you go to manager and complain.

Genderfluid
Jun 18, 2009

my mom is a slut


Holy poo poo, OP, TALK TO YOUR loving NEIGHBORS. The WORST thing that will happen is that they tell you to go gently caress yourself and you go see management, which YOU ARE ALREADY PLANING TO DO. Best case scenario is they say "ok we'll smoke outside" which means you can stop being a huge baby about talking to people.

Sigma-X
Jun 17, 2005

"thats pretty much it, we all got high, it was sweet you should of been there"
"god damnt knuckles, your plan didn't do anything"


Talk to your neighbors. Explain the problem, and blame your rental manager for the issue, not them, but ask if they would be so kind as to smoke outside for the weekend until you can talk to your rental manager.

Then talk to your rental manager and calmly explain the problem. If your apartment manager does not offer an amicable solution, then rip a loving strip off them and investigate legal options. Keep your neighbors in the loop and keep the focus on how the rental management is screwing things up - it's your neighbors right to smoke in their home and you're not trying to take that away from them. If your rental manager is a douchebag the manager will most likely yell at the neighbors and deflect blame onto you, which is why you keep them in the loop.

Your neighbors aren't going to change their habits forever, especially if its cold there, but being polite and asking for temporary accommodation isn't going to piss anyone reasonable off.

In the event that your rental manager is a douchebag and you don't have legal protections, at that point I'd look into an air purifier. My parents have two giant rabbit air purifiers, one in their living room and one in their finished basement, and one of those going on high will completely eliminate the smoke from two giant cigars as they're smoked, and if there are 3 cigars the smoke is still quickly (within an hour or two, post-smoke) eliminated. I'd imagine these things would do a pretty decent job on the comparatively weaker cigarette smoke from next door.

WHY SEE ESS
Sep 12, 2006


You really should talk to your neighbours and ask them if they can do anything about the situation. The reason why is there is probably a 90 to 95 percent chance that a lawyer/police/landlord can do gently caress all about it. Smoke-Free Multi Unit dwellings are now starting to pop up in a few places, and I'm sure that in a couple of years to 5 to 10 a vast majority of multi unit places will be smoke free. However, for now you are most likely poo poo out of luck.

Basically it's not just that the first thing you should have done is talked to him/them, it's that it will most likely be your only hope.

Jastiger
Oct 11, 2008
Please report me if I'm being negative or complaining about something. Hell, just report any of my posts so a mod can double check I'm not breaking the statutes of limitations on my posting.

Fiance here... and I'm new to this so bear with me...

As far as air purifiers, we have invested in multiple candles and air fresheners designed to eliminate smoke odors, and they don't work. It is coming through our ventilation, especially when the heater turns on.

I feel that some of you believe this problem just started this past week or so. It has been going on for a couple months now. Like the OP said it started in the lower entrance to our home (where is lingers) and has gradually worked it's way up to our entire town home (through the ventilation).

We did have a maintenance guy come out and look at our furnace, this was about a week ago. He said he did see some leaks in the furnace that could be sucking up their air and distributing it to ours. He said he would come back the next day to fix it, but nothing yet ( but that's another story). So there is obviously something wrong with the building (which is managements responsibility)that is making their smoke come up to our home. This would make going to talk to the neighbors about stopping a minor complaint.

Our landlord has also stated to us these town homes are designed for individual use, meaning...do what you want it's your home... therefore we have no business going to the neighbors and asking them to stop smoking in their home. Like one of you put it, they might do it for a week then go back to smoking inside (especially since it's freaking cold here).

I guess what we are asking is, do you feel we have grounds to complain to management? And actually get something done (ie. new ventilation system)

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Loopyface
Mar 22, 2003


Jastiger posted:

...doctor bills...

Really?

Genderfluid
Jun 18, 2009

my mom is a slut


Jastiger posted:

Fiance here... and I'm new to this so bear with me...

As far as air purifiers, we have invested in multiple candles and air fresheners designed to eliminate smoke odors, and they don't work. It is coming through our ventilation, especially when the heater turns on.

I feel that some of you believe this problem just started this past week or so. It has been going on for a couple months now. Like the OP said it started in the lower entrance to our home (where is lingers) and has gradually worked it's way up to our entire town home (through the ventilation).

We did have a maintenance guy come out and look at our furnace, this was about a week ago. He said he did see some leaks in the furnace that could be sucking up their air and distributing it to ours. He said he would come back the next day to fix it, but nothing yet ( but that's another story). So there is obviously something wrong with the building (which is managements responsibility)that is making their smoke come up to our home. This would make going to talk to the neighbors about stopping a minor complaint.

Our landlord has also stated to us these town homes are designed for individual use, meaning...do what you want it's your home... therefore we have no business going to the neighbors and asking them to stop smoking in their home. Like one of you put it, they might do it for a week then go back to smoking inside (especially since it's freaking cold here).

I guess what we are asking is, do you feel we have grounds to complain to management? And actually get something done (ie. new ventilation system, new neighbors, lower rent ((them pay for our air purifiers, doctor bills)), etc.)

THERE IS LITERALLY NO DOWNSIDE TO TALKING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS. TALK WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS.

somethingawesomer
Nov 16, 2005



you might want to remove that, account sharing will get you banned.

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Platypus Farm
Jul 12, 2003

Francis is my name, and breeding is my game. All bow before the fertile smut-god!


Jastiger posted:


I guess what we are asking is, do you feel we have grounds to complain to management? And actually get something done (ie. new ventilation system, new neighbors, lower rent ((them pay for our air purifiers, doctor bills)), etc.)

You can complain to whomever you want, whenever you want. Nothing is going to happen because apartment management really can't do a whole lot. If something a neighbor is doing is really terrible, then go talk with them about it. If it isn't bad enough to talk to them about, then you're just whining on the internet.

Also, doctor bills? For what? You can't get sick from bad smells, and since it appears that one or both of you have spontaneous brain aneurysms, that would be a pre-existing condition that was not the fault of the management or the other tenant.

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