Renter sickened by fumes from apartment next door concerned about meth lab

A renter, sickened by fumes from a neighboring apartment, raises some important questions about methamphetamine addiction and meth labs.

“I live in a tiny, one bedroom apartment. I know, for a fact that my next door neighbor gets high on “something”, but not sure what. He’s always acting paranoid, and jumping around, and really nervous all the time. He keeps is apartment dark, and the windows covered up all the time. He’s always spying out the window at me, when I’m coming and going to work, and he steps out his front door to put his ear to my door, to listen in on my conversations with my company, or phone calls. He doesn’t work, but his wife does. About once a month or sometimes every couple of weeks, I smell something HORRIBLE coming from his apartment. Whatever it is, comes through the vents into my apartment, and I start gagging from the smell. I even get nose bleeds when the smell comes through the vents. I know he smokes cigarettes, but this is much worse than that. But I haven’t said anything, or done anything, because I just simply didn’t know for sure what it was…..but I’m becoming convinced that it must be Meth. Whatever it is…they’re trying to “mask” the odor with a lot of cigarettes or cigar smoke…..I think. The only way I can describe this smell is….burning cat litter and tons of cigarettes….CHEAP, NASTY CIGARETTES. So…I’m just not too sure. Please help. Thanks.”

What concerns me the most about your situation is the fact that you’re getting nosebleeds because of the fumes coming from your neighbor’s apartment!  If I were you, I’d be talking to my doctor about that, asap! I would also move out of there, as soon as possible! The less exposure you have to whatever it is that’s causing your health problems, the better off your health will be!

I don’t know if your neighbor is a meth or other drug user or what kind of fumes are coming in to your apartment, however much of what you’ve described certainly fits the profile of someone addicted to meth.  Paranoid behavior and nervous energy are common behavior signs of meth addiction.  Continued use of methamphetamine plays tricks on the mind, causing users to believe that everyone is a cop or they’re working with the cops or they’re going to report them to the cops.  They may also exhibit other signs of paranoid behavior, such as worrying that others are trying to steal from them. Never confront someone that you suspect of being a meth addict. They can be very unpredictable and can become violent, if they feel threatened.  On the other hand, someone who is mentally ill can also exhibit  paranoid behavior. Keeping windows covered to keep prying eyes from seeing them or what’s inside their  home is another common behavior among meth users, meth cooks, or others with mental illnesses involving paranoid thinking. So, whether they’re a meth addict or just mentally ill,  remaining calm around them is wise.  Don’t move quickly around them and keep your voice low and calm if you speak to them. You don’t want to ramp up their already heightened fears. Doing that will only put them on the defensive and that will create a dangerous situation for you.

Regarding the smell you’ve described, I’ve never heard of a meth lab smelling like  “nasty cigarettes” or the smell of cigars or burning cat litter, however I suppose it’s possible. What I suspect is that your neighbor is  smoking meth in the apartment. Some have described the smell of meth smoke as a sweet smell mixed with a small of cigarettes. Others have described it as having a mild smell of cat urine. Still others describe it as a sweet smell combined with the smell of burning plastic.  I guess the way meth-smoke smells would depend on how it was manufactured (different methods use different ingredients) and the person who’s describing the smell.

Besides going to see your doctor, I would also be speaking to the police about it.  Obviously, you can’t do that from your house, because of your neighbor’s eavesdropping on your conversations, but I would either call them from someone else’s house or go to the police station or Sheriff’s office to tell them what’s been going on.

Hope this info, helps! Stay safe and good luck!


  1. Hope says

    I am a renter and was astonished the other week when my neighbor asked if she knew anyone who she could sell some crystal Meth to, to make rent! My husband told her to leave us alone. Ever since, she started to cause major problems. We told our landlord right away, and he said he would evict her. We thought all was well until today, when he knocked on our door to tell us that he had “a good talk and told her to clean up.” Then proceeded to tell us that “the neighbor thinks we [as a couple] fight to much.” and that he had gotten a complaint once. This woman [the neighbor] has 2 cats in a “PET FREE” apartment, has had random people move in & out. Each time there has been a physical altercation causing our neighbor to throw out the current roommate, just to find a new one days later & begin the same string of events to occur once again, this has been happening since the day we began to live here. This happens even though we were told “sub leasing” is also not allowed. Lastly & most importantly we signed a “NO TOLERANCE illegal substance Policy”. Not only has she admitted she smokes meth and crack, she does so freely to the point where her fumes somehow enter our living area, causing us illness Lack of sleep & serious fighting. This comes just as our kitchen sink exploded and the furnace has yet to turn on this winter. Our lease isn’t up until July! What do I do?!

    • says

      Call the police and report your neighbor, as soon as possible! I’d also contact your local news media (newspapers, television stations,) and tell them you’d like to speak to an investigative reporter. Tell them your story and ask them if they would investigate the situation. If your landlord is choosing to ignore the situation and the rules they set, then their feet should be held to the fire. You’re paying rent to live there in return for having a safe place to live. Call the district attorney’s office and tell them about your situation too! If I were you, I’d move out asap and let the landlord take me to court for the remainder of the lease. In my opinion and I’m not a lawyer, your landlord has breached your lease contract and you should not be held responsible for the remainder of your lease. You should ask a lawyer about that and also tell them the fumes have caused you to become ill!

  2. Deborah Griffin says

    My story is almost exactly like those posted on your website. The demonstrated paranoia and eavsdropping along with horrible unidentified fumes and lots of foot traffic in and out all hours of the day and night. Excessive use of air freshner to cover up the fumes and what I believe to be purposeful use of toxic fumes in an attempt to be vindictive because the people next door to my apartment are aware that I have called the police; complained to management; called the D.A.’s office and called an investigative reporter!! I also live in a one bedroom studio. I am elderly and do not have funds to move anyhwere else. No one seems to be willing to do anything about the drug use next door. I have two little birds that I am in a constant race to protect by shuffling them in and out of my apartment, to and from the vet’s office. I have been in the E.R. once after the fumes sent my blood pressure through the roof. I have reported all of this and no one does anything. The police say they need evidence to get a search warrant. They have also told me to quit calling them!! It is no wonder there is so much Meth production!! No one does anything t o these sick people!!

    • says

      The police told you to stop calling them? Jeeez. Call the state police and the DEA, if need be, and let them know what’s going on. Someone from law enforcement needs to put that meth lab operator out of business, before someone gets hurt! You are in a dangerous situation! Sigh. You should move out of there, if at all possible. At the very least, open some windows in your apartment to lessen the chemical concentration in the house. I’d call or email the local newspaper(s) and t.v. stations and let them know what’s going on and the response you’ve gotten from the police department, too.

  3. Carri says

    Same situation here. Someone started a huge meth lab in my building around Xmas. I ended up in the ER from the fumes. Almost ended up in the ER a second time. Management won’t do a thing. Police and Fire dept claim they can’t find it. I am sitting here breathing meth fumes as I write this. The entire building doesn’t smell right and they, too, use tons of air freshener to try to cover it up and it doesn’t work. The place has become a toxic nitemare. I’m trying to move, but it could take awhile. No one takes it seriously that these are highly poisonous and deadly toxic fumes. People can die from them, and they can also blow up the building with them. I don’t know if this is the tenant directly under me or under and one over, but I’m getting hit with the stuff. When they make it, you can smell the battery acid, sulpher, acetone, ammonia. And the bathroom smells like something is burning. Then you smell this sweet solvent, meth. Why doesn’t any law enforcement take this seriously?

  4. says

    Why do cops ignore calls about meth labs? It could have to do with their budget.Meth labs are expensive to clean up after, so if a police department doesn’t have clean up money, they may ignore a meth lab call. A tight budget can also mean there are fewer cops on the force, so they don’t have enough man/woman power to respond to every call (especially an expensive and time consuming one, like a meth lab situation). Unfortunately, that means that the health and safety of innocent people, like you, at risk. Try to open up some windows to let some fresh air in to your apartment, until you can move out of there or find someone to stay with. The fresh air will help to lessen the chemical concentration in your apartment. Did you tell the hospital that you got sick from the fumes in your building and that you suspect it’s from a meth lab?

    • Betty says

      I live in a apartment building that has eight apartments in it. I have been smelling some very strong also, that burns my eyes, nose, eyes, throat, and lungs. Now my lungs burn all the time. I think my lungs are damaged. I have called the manager, the police, but they say they can’t smell it. The smell is so bad it makes me gag. I am on disability and cannot afford to move. I get so upset that the manager and police will not do anything, likw evict everyone.

      • kim says

        I feel for you guys as this is what I am enduring at the moment and its terrible. I also cant use my bathroom as the plumbing is off gassing fumes from the chemicals that the women next door is pouring down the drain!! And a sweet strong aerosol like odour is coming from a vent in their garden, My clothes and furniture smell of this chemical, have had to throw out so much stuff of mine its heart breaking. And the police and environmental health keep saying it smells of spices? And wont do a chemical test! And keep telling me to draw a line under it!! My cat has also been to the vets and I to the doctor for chest problems!! Trying to move also but it does not happen that quickly… The man next door has arrogantly admitted it when I confronted him about it : he said ‘I will stop making the drugs when I feel like it!! And also added that he would not get caught’ I told the police this and they still say this does not prove he is doing this!! Its a joke!!

        • says

          If the police aren’t responding to your concerns, contact other law enforcement agencies including federal law enforcement agencies. You can also contact your local and federal health departments and environmental protection groups, both local and federal. If you can, move in with a friend or relative, until you can get out of that situation. Your health and the health of your pet are in danger, if your neighbor is making meth. If you have no choice but to stay there, open your windows as much as possible, and plan your fire escape route in case you need to get out of there quickly. The chemicals used to make meth are highly volatile!

          • KCM says

            I am in the same boat. I live in apartment building that has several meth labs in it. I’ve moved three times within the building and each time I am directly below a 24/7 meth lab. No one lives in the unit; it is simply being used as a 24/7 lab. The people running it actually live in another unit on the other side of the building (so obvious!) I am currently saving enough money to get the heck out of here and will pay on two leases until this first one runs out, and I have to throw out my things and start clean over again because no matter how often I clean, black soot and solvent smells cover everything I own. No more multi-unit dwellings for me. Crooked management in cahoots with crooked residents abounds! Because of how many of these I have run into, I’m starting to think that property owners should not hire property management companies to run their buildings because the on-site managers are using their vacant rooms as fake-rented spots where they make meth. It’s a bad scene.

  5. shirley gibson says

    I have the same issue living in a duplex. Now it seems like the people next door are making it all day because they need more and more or using and selling? I have the same symptoms as everyone else and the fumes even continue to burn my eyes when I leave here. Constant bitter taste in my mouth. I will be moving in about 9 days if all goes as planned and my loan closes. Noone believes me and I might as well had Goober and Gomer come out to investigate as this sorry fire dept. and cops here. The landlady says I am crazy and will not even come out here to smell when the fumes are really bad but yet told me to call her then. Her son about 40 has completely rotted teeth and unless he has a medical condition then what does that say? The couple next door are loser painters who now only work partime if they are even working at that job. Maybe delivering the drugs because that is how it is done now to avoid the traffic here. I do hope that this landlady who either lives in wallyworld or is in on this knows that she is responsible if anything happens to me, a fire or explosion or contamination to all I own. I think the fire dept and cops need to take responsibility as well. This is in the little town in Baxter tn.

  6. Adelle says

    This is my second time living in this exact situaltion and I can’t afford to move! I’m in total hell! The aweful, “burning chemical” smell, burning lungs, eyes, nose, even skin. The cops know less about it than my Grandma. The neighbors are trying to intimidate me out of the building as they had done with other people. I’m in one of the last couple of apartments left that isn’t occupied by their friends. These people wake me up all night, hitting the walls just under the bedroom. And here’s something my friends and family think I’m crazy for… I’ve been seeing the neighbors and their friends out, around town, many, many of the places I go, on the road, at the movies, at the park, and this is a big city!

    • Cynthia says

      Sounds like you are gang targeted. It’s a major problem in this country. They are taking over government Apts. A woman has a child with a learning disability be ause she did drugs and can’t stop. Now she gets disability for her child and works her 20 hr week and brings in a boyfriend or husband who deals drugs and plays games online and learns hacking and they run off anybody who moves in the complex who does not do drugs. They destroy and vandalize the car and shoot meth chemicals through the dryer hose from outside and they destroy everything you have and they start using GPS on u and start following you around town…. We live in a sad world where we take care of the drug dealers and throw out honest disabled people and hard working minimum wage workers who are trying to keep what they have honestly worked for…You can not win. If u call the police, they know it before they arrive. If you go to the police department, they know you are there. Sickening. I have been though it and I too could not afford to move…so I was homeless until I got into low income housing in next little town over….Then guess what happened? Same thing but almost killed me this time. The government and FBI better get off their asses and go to work to clean our streets now or they will take over….Seriously!!!

  7. frances says

    I just moved from beside a neighbor that cooked meth made me sick ,fast heart beat, nervous and lots of other bad things as well. I reported it to police nothing ever happened except these people still cooked.. So I had to move and with the luck I have I have discovered a few months ago that behind me on the next street A METH LAB , I couldn’t belive it .. It is Ten times worse, I reported it to police nothing has happened . It stopped for Two nights and the Third night about 12:00 a.m. we heard a gun shot in the back street where this house is , scared me to death, They didn’t no It me made the report, I think they wanted everyone to hear they were not afraid of police.. So I was wondering if there are some kind of mask that would help me at night ? I was also thinking maybe a big electric fan in my back yard where the air condition is blowing this stuff away as much as possible ..Until I can move again….I am desperate …..

  8. gloria says

    I live in a apartment complex I too have a heavy meth user next to me the cops were called this weekend and they came arrested one person. I thought good now my hallway will be clean smelling again wrong its still here . I called the cops they sent a rookie that doesn’t know what meth smells like and told me meth doesn’t smell like cat urine anymore and left. I have 1 1/2 lung that works and if cops aren’t going to do anything who do I call?? I cant move I have a year lease and no money to move. No the druggies need to move.

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