One day I began noticing a urine mixed with fowl odor in my closet but couldn’t pinpoint the source. In my other bedroom closet I became aware of the same smell; it was strongest around the little box that has a latch door to the water pipes in the wall.
There was a water pipe access in the first closet and I pointed my nose towards it; this was where the urine and fowl stench was concentrated.
My assumption was that the foul odor was related to the water pipes. I was told over the phone by a plumber that the likely cause was a crack in the pipe somewhere in the sewer line, and that a plumber could feed a camera through the pipes to locate the crack.
A technician from a disaster relief company said it was probably a dried up “trap” in the bathroom sink drain, possibly from a neighbor’s drain.
I spoke to the HOA secretary about these theories. Based on what he told me about a a complaint by another neighbor of a bad smell, I learned that the urine and fowl smell was originating from the unit between me and this other neighbor. The offensive stench was coming from Unit 2.
The odor, I also discovered, was detectable at some of my baseboard radiator vent openings. Outside I became aware that the nasty stench hung in the air in front of our units, and was seeping out of the open window of Unit 2.
What was Unit 2 doing to cause a urine and foul odor to come from my water pipes, air ducts and vents?
I called the police. The tenant in Unit 2 said that his roommate, who had difficulty walking, spent so much time in the bathroom, that he (the first man) did all his urinating and defecating in a paper cup. I HEARD him tell this to the police officer.
The officer told me that the inside of the unit was horrendous, stuff piled everywhere; the HOA had told me that the able bodied tenant didn’t take out his garbage. I heard the officer tell the tenant, “I’ve seen worse, but this is pretty bad.”
If you’ve been smelling urine or something foul seemingly coming from any air ducts, vents or water pipe accesses in your home-consider that it’s because your neighbor is a hoarder who allows urine and feces to accumulate. This filthy man always had his shirt tucked in and wore shiny black shoes. Do not let little things like this fool you.
The officer said he would not shake the man’s hand because the stench was so overwhelming on the man’s own body.
The police said that the intrusion of a feces stench into my home was not a criminal matter and that there was nothing they could do about it. They couldn’t even make the property owner (who was evasive) budge.
However, I went ballistic over this and three weeks later, the tenants were moved out and the property owner began operations to gut out the place. In a four-part series, I describe everything you need to do to MAKE this a police matter and get it resolved:
Can social services help?
How can your HOA help?
15 legal steps to take to rid the problem of a hoarding neighbor