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Curry Odor issue from Tenant/Roommate

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Junior Member
Hi- I'm renting out one of the rooms in my house located in Washington, DC. The new person who's renting is fond of making curry. I notice that the smell has taken over the entire house. Hours of airing out, febreezing and degreasing the kitchen didn't completely get rid of the smell. I also started getting itchy throat/allergy symptoms as a reaction to the smell. After reading more about curry, I'm learning that it can potentially be a difficult smell to get rid of which may require repainting, recarpeting and replacing cabinets and drapes. The tricky thing is my roommate/tenant is from India and he has a 6 month lease. The ideal is to have him not cook curry inside the house although he's more than welcome to bring curry food over. I also have a portable stovethat can be used outdoors. I'm wondering if any landlord has every dealt with this especially when you live with the tenant in a situation where you're directly impacted. I'm unsure as to express my concern over the impact of his cooking on the condition of the house and how it triggers my allergy without sounding insensitive about it. My preference is for him to not cook the curry inside but I'm not sure if that's being unreasonable in anyway...but then again it's almost similar to having someone who has a pet who can't keep the pet odor under control to a point that it's disturbing occupants in the home. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


Senior Member
From what you've posted it sounds like there's nothing you can do legally. He's a room mate with a lease and cooking is allowed. Your best bet is to tell him about the odor issue and ask that he cook less curry. Perhaps you can show him some recipes. Be diplomatic.

Good luck


Senior Member
You might want to install another more powerful vent opposite the stove or above it. Insist that it be used while cooking. Explain that the smell is irritating to you, and that this will help eliminate the odor. You will then have a choice between a noisy home or a smelly one.


Senior Member
I read thru this twice, just to make sure I wasn’t missing something.
Does the rental agreement/lease specify that he has cooking privileges? Unless the rental agreement/lease restricts what he can cook, he can cook and eat whatever he wants (although I know curry has a strong odor – so do many other foods, some of which I bet you cook yourself).

You’ve done research, cleaned and degreased, and now you come to a legal message board alluding to permanent damage and expense resulting from the curry odor. :rolleyes: (That’s a bit much.) The one thing you haven’t done is talk to him and explain that you have a bad reaction to curry. He may or may not agree to stop cooking curry in the place he pays to live in.

You can get another vent (as suggested), remind him to air the place out after cooking, and use air fresheners. Next time you rent the room out to someone, be specific about what they can/cannot cook - although that will lessen your prospects.

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