Do I have any Rights (Smoking Neighbors)

  1. I am renting an apt. in a three family house. My landlord lives in the basement, there is an apt. above her, and I am on the top floor. I have been a good, consistent tenant for a long time. My rent is under market and the neighborhood is safe.

    Last month, the tenants below me moved out and new ones moved in. They are smokers. I didn't even realize it at first until my apt. started smelling like smoke when they are home. The front and back hallway, our common areas, reek of smoke. My landlord is more protected than I am because living in the basement underground provides insulation. I have to go down to her apt. to get to the laundry room and the smell isn't discernable there, but going through the back hallway to get to her place can be unbearable with the smell.

    I had two conversations with my landlord so far. I know she hates smoke, so it surprised me that she rented to smokers. Her answer was that she could not let the apartment sit vacant for long because she has a mortgage to pay. She said she would speak to the tenants about cutting back or going outside but as I sit here in my kitchen there is a smokey smell that is driving me insane. Cutting back is relative to the number of cigarettes they are each smoking per day, and I doubt they are going to go outside with winter right around the corner.

    I am an ex-smoker and a health and fitness fanatic. I am furious that I am being subjected to second hand smoke. Smoke can travel through hallways, under doors, and through vents. It is not confined exclusively to the smokers living quarters.

    I reside in MA, and have tried online searches to determine if I have any rights or recourse as a renter but nothing comes up. Tomorrow I plan to try to contact the board of health in my area.

    If anyone has suggestions or information, I sure would appreciate it!
     
  2. arg, I feel for you. The smoke makes me literally sick, I hate it. Sorry, but I'm no help. =(
     
  3. smoke makes me feel sick. ;[
     
  4. wow...I'm not sure if you do.....would it be considered discrimination if she asked them to stop?
    My suggestion for the time being would be to invest in one of those air purifier things.
    Maybe call a lawyer and ask?
     
  5. Basic courtesy would suggest that smoking in common areas such as hallways is just plain rude. I smoke and would never do that - space that people share is off limits for smoking in my opinion. If the landlord rented to them knowing that they smoked, I doubt she can do anything now about them smoking inside their apartment - it would be different if she had advertised the place as no smoking and it had that in the lease - then she could actually take legal action. Your best bet would be to check with the city or town health department I think, and for the landlord to tell them that smoking in the common areas is not allowed. I hope the situation can be worked out.
     
  6. Gosh, that's tough. I don't think your landlord can do much.
     
  7. They are not smoking in the common areas; the smoke from their apt. is traveling under the door into the shared hallway and from there, into my apt.

    The thing is, the landlord knowingly rented to smokers knowing I am a non-smoker. She is putting my own health at risk. If I do purchase an air purifying machine, I expect I should be able to deduct it from my rent. With all of the health risks surrounding second hand smoke I feel I should have more rights than my smoking neighbors. I am beyond annoyed!
     
  8. Well , to be fair , smokers have rights too . At least they should , seeing it IS legal and the government makes a crapload of money from the taxes off cigarettes .

    That's kind of the downside to living in an apartment , though ? You can't control other peoples actions ! I hated living in apartments for reasons such as these... you never know what kind of neighbors you will have ! At least they are not cooking meth next to you ( I had that happen once ) .

    Honestly , I think if you expect anything from your landlord , you're having false hopes ... or anything from the tenents for that matter . really they are'nt doing anything wrong . They rented an apartment , they pay the rent , they told the landlord they smoke .

    They are protected under the law too ! ... Thus far . If it is that bothersome to you I suggest you find an apartment that strictly prohibits smoking altogether , because legally , there is nothing you can do about it .
     
  9. from what I have experienced.. if there is no law regarding smoking in the apt premises, tenants have the right to smoke and cannot really be stopped unless a rule has been made.. unfortunately, for the ppl around them, it sucks....
     
  10. I'm afraid this was my experience too. I was on the 2nd floor of a 3 story condo (renting it with a roomie) and the man below us had a really cool yellow Ferrari but smoked cigars. :push: And this was the early 1990s before they became super cool again. Cool or not, they stunk and there wasn't any rule against smoking in the condo association.
     
  11. What a bummer. Do you think it is possible this landlord is trying to force you out so they can rent the apartment for a higher rent? I know this happens a lot, especially in rent-controlled properties. That LL must be desperate to rent to smokers. It is really, really hard to get a smoke smell out of carpets and walls. Also cigarette smoke stains paint over time. It will cost a lot to get that place liveable for a non smoker once those people move out. It makes me think that there is something else going on with that LL....

    If there are no anti-smoking laws on the books in MA, your only recourse would probably be to claim you are disabled (ie. smoke allergy or respiratory illness like asthma) and then file some kind of ADA claim. That would probably not sit well with the LL though.

    I read also that this is a house that has been converted into apartments. Is the property ZONED for apartments or is it on one electric meter? It may very well be that the LL is not claiming the rental income on their taxes so that may be another leverage point.
     
  12. Most apartment ads here say "No smoking" so I don't think it would be.
     
  13. We have one room in our townhouse that occasionally smells of smoke from the neighbors. It is only once in a while, so I don't know why it occurs on some days and not on others. I would like to find an air purifier to help with this. I really hate it.
     
  14. omg i so feel you.. my tenants (we have a 5bd house and only my parents and i, so we rented out the other 3 room) all smoke.. and they do it in their room.. which is totally disgusting.. and everytime they open their door to go to the restroom, laundry, or kitchen, it REEKS and i nearly have a total vomit attack cuz i seriously cannot tolerate it.. i even tell my dad to smoke outside, i don't allow him to smoke inside. so annoying.

    i don't know what to tell you.. i know as a landlord, bills need to be paid, and such.. maybe you and/or your landlord can be actively seeking others to replace the smokers? good luck..
     
  15. I'm not sure Roo but that thought crossed my mind. My apt. isn't rent controlled. Sorry if my OP implied that. I live in a town that's considered rather affluent in this area, so to find a three b/r apt. for the rent I pay is unheard of. The LL is known for keeping rent under market for her good tenants. She has only raised it once in all the years I've been here and it is still well under market. If she really wanted to force me out she would have raised my rent again in August when the lease came up for renewal but she didn't.

    Yes, I believe it is zoned because there are two electric meters and two gas meters. Her meters control her apt. and the smokers' apt. My utilities are separate; theirs are included with their rent.

    I completely agree with you about how desparate she must be. Just last month a contractor was here doing work on the downstairs apt. before the smoking tenants moved in, and she made him go outside to smoke! He came upstairs to do some work for me and said she always gives him grief about quitting the disgusting habit (They are friends.). I couldn't believe she would rent to smokers. The apt. is much more updated than mine and she's going to have to spend a lot of money to make it liveable for the next tenants. The contractor told me that she told him she considers me a good tenant.

    The contractor mentioned that she wants to update my apt. which would be difficult while I'm still living here. If that's the reason, it would have been easier to just raise my rent in August versus accept smoking tenants into the nicer apt. I really don't know what's going on but it certainly stinks (literally, LOL!).