It may be the most unusual legal challenge you read this year, but one resident who lives in a Victorian home that was transformed into a block of flats, is to take legal action against her landlords over her neighbours cooking spicy food.
Joanna Cridlin, who has resided in her Wandsworth home for 40 years, has pleaded to the High Court that her neighbours in flats above her have forced her to endure chilli fumes caused by their spicy cooking. She claims that this has resulted in her “choking in her sleep” and “staggering to her balcony for breath”. She believes the cooking, which is interfering with her respiratory problems, should be treated as an ant social matter.
Although her problems are caused by her neighbours, she has launched legal action against her landlords, who she insists have ignored her requests to prevent the incidents. She feels they breached their duty of care to her by failing to provide a safe environment for their tenant. The defence has not been made public, but the action will go to court with the landlords defending their position on the matter.
Are Chillies toxic?
As strange as it seems, chillies can actually have adverse effects on people if exposed to their ‘fumes’. It is usually a symptom experienced when cooking hotter varieties of chilli, as sampled by a group of students who were subject to overwhelming fumes from the fabled Carolina reaper chilli (known as the hottest chilli available). The incident resulted in students being evacuated from their home when they presumed the fumes were a gas leak. Fire crews arrived on the scene and determined the cause of the students choking and coughing came from the chilli rather than gas.
Other incidents have been recorded, including a group of 10 people being treated for dizziness in Australia after being exposed to intense chilli fumes. The reason why chillies make people cough is because of a compound known as capsaicin. This compound stimulates a lot of senses; more so than nerves on your tongue. It can also affect membranes, mucus and tissues around your body. This is the reason why it can be felt near your nostrils, eyes, hands and throat when cooking them. This compound is what causes your body to react that way and, of course, the stronger the chilli, the stronger the reaction.
While it is unlikely that simply being exposed to chilli fumes would be enough for Miss Cridlin to win her legal battle, landlords do have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their residents. Other legal challenges we see, that are upheld, include failings like health and safety breaches which are more common.
If you have suffered an injury because of your landlord’s negligence, call Scott Rees & Co today for expert legal assistance. We operate a no win no fee policy, meaning that providing you are honest throughout the claim process, you won’t have to pay a penny.
Lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm on 0808 223 2773 and we also have a callback option on our website, where you can arrange a more convenient time for us to contact you.
1. Wikipedia, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Carolina_Reaper_pepper_pods.jpg