I have a rental unit in a townhouse complex. The tenants are complaining
that the people across the sidewalk from them are smoking out on their
deck and the smoke is drifting into my unit through one sliding glass
door that the tenants like to keep open for ventilation. There is no
rule about smoking on the property. I talked to the owner of the other
unit but I don't think she'll do anything.
I'm trying to think of a solution involving fans or blowers, perhaps
combined with a cigarette smoke detector to automatically activate fans
that blow the smoke back towards the offenders. It's probably a 10 foot
distance between the decks.
This shows a similar pair of townhouse units and the problem: <
I'm thinking about this unit: <
http://www.vproducts.com/p-secondhand-smokedetector90.htm model 9040 connected to a large fan, i.e
<http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200460841_200460841>. I'd need to shield it all from weather somehow though the tenants could
bring it in if it's raining hard so just an outdoor umbrella would suffice.
Any other ideas for blowing the smoke back?
On Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:31:10 PM UTC-5, sms wrote:
and the smoke is drifting into my unit through one sliding glass door that
the tenants like to keep open for ventilation. There is no rule about smok
ing on the property. I talked to the owner of the other unit but I don't th
ink she'll do anything. I'm trying to think of a solution involving fans or
blowers, perhaps combined with a cigarette smoke detector to automatically
activate fans that blow the smoke back towards the offenders. It's probabl
y a 10 foot distance between the decks. This shows a similar pair of townho
use units and the problem: <
ing about this unit: < http://www.vproducts.com/p-secondhand-smokedetector9
0.htm> model 9040 connected to a large fan, i.e <http://www.northerntool.co m/shop/tools/product_200460841_200460841>. I'd need to shield it all from w eather somehow though the tenants could bring it in if it's raining hard so
just an outdoor umbrella would suffice. Any other ideas for blowing the sm
A fan anywhere in a window/door of your unit blowing in so that there is ou
tgoing pressure on the window on your deck. Any association rules about sm
You know those really gross No Smoking commercials, the ones where they
show the smokers with the holes in their throats? Project them on a screen
so the smokers have to watch them when they are smoking on the deck.
Just tell them the screen is there to block the smoke.
I can't see a good solution to this one except by telling YOUR tenants
to close the sliding door when their neighbors are smoking. That'll
keep the second hand smoke out of their unit.
If there's no rules about smoking in your condo, then they're not
breaking any rules. If your tenants are complaining about the second
hand smoke getting into their unit, it's up to them to close that
sliding door and maybe open a window or two on the other side of the
unit for ventilation.
In a situation like this, I think your tenants are being unreasonable.
Why CAN'T they close the sliding door? If it provides ventilation, why
can't a window or ceiling fan provide similar ventilation while the
sliding door is closed? They seem to be putting you in a situation
where you can't close their sliding door, and their neighbor's second
hand smoke is annoying them, and they want you to solve their problem.
Tell them to close the sliding door.
Your renters should insist that you install central air conditioning so that
they can close the door and have their anticipated and paid for quiet
enjoyment of the premises. I am amazed that you require them to live under
these horrendous circumstances. What happens if the next door neighbors
also fire up their charcoal broiler and start it with <shudder> starter
fluid? Yes, you must immediately install central air.
I would provide them a weatherproof outdoor fan to leave on their
deck, plus an outdoor remote control.With a weatherproof fan you don't
have to bring it in during the rain or fool around with an umbrella.
Lasko #4305 50" Outdoor Fan ($215)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Woods 32555 Outdoor Remote Control Outlet Converter Kit ($10)
When they smell smoke, click the remote to turn on the fan. If they
need more recourse than that, they need to find a new place to live.
You're right, and the automatic solution would not work anyway because
once the smoke was blown away the detector would turn off the fan and
then the smoke would start again. I'd need to build in some hysteresis.
The long term solution is to ban smoking in the entire complex which has
been done in other multi-unit housing areas. A document from the CDC
states "Apartment owners, managers, condominium associations, and public
housing authority boards may all adopt policies eliminating or
restricting smoking in multiunit housing facilities under their
control." <http://www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes/healthy_homes_manual_web.pdf .
Some cities in California have also enacted smoking bans in multi-unit
housing: "Thirteen cities and counties have banned smoking in all
existing and new multi-unit housing, with five more doing so in 2012,
according to the center. Thirteen of the cities listed in the report
have placed a smoking ban on 100 percent of new and existing multi-unit
It's too bad that the lack of common courtesy necessitates these sorts
You should have your city do the same instead of coming here and
acting like a crybaby. See if you can get BBQ, automobile exhaust,
cussing, farting and body odor outlawed while you're at it.
All are probably more dangerous than your tenants detecting a whiff of
The issue is that the smoker's behavior is inconsiderate and does
violate the HOA rules about creating a nuisance. The owner of the unit
screwed up by renting to smokers in the first place, a mistake she won't
I hate to escalate this whole thing, but the smokers are not only being
inconsiderate, they are devaluing my own property. If my tenants leave
and I rent the property out again I'll have to inform prospective
tenants of the smoke problem. If I sell the property I'll have to inform
prospective buyers about the problem.
Explain to your tenants that if they want the rights and priveledges
that come with being the master of their own home, they have to buy
their own home. As long as they're living in rent, they have to live
WITH other people, not all of whom are as considerate as they might be.
AND, not all renters would be as concerned about second hand smoke as
your tenants might be as well.
There are LOTS of issues that break out between tenants in the same
building. Playing stereos too loud, keeping pets that are potentially
dangerous to other tenant's pets (or even children), keeping their
apartment in such a mess that it becomes a breeding ground for insects
and pests like mice or other rodents... All of these things are
potential conflicts between tenants.
Your tenants need to understand that their neighbors have as much right
to smoke outside as they have to demand that sliding door be open to
provide ventilation, and so they can't have it both ways. Either close
that sliding doow when the neighbors are smoking or accept the fact that
the neighbor's second hand smoke is going to get into their apartment.
I think the idea of purchasing a second hand smoke detector and a fan is
foolish because as soon as your tenants move, or the offending tenants
move, that equipment will be useless. Better to spend the money on
something that will be of some benefit to the property both now and
after this issue blows over.
For the most part I agree with your comments, but that one is worthy of
further discussion. Yes, one tenant has as much right as the other but one
tenant's actions are impacting the other, while the reverse is not true.
One tenant has the right to smoke outside but the "output" of his actions
cross property lines and enter the personal space of the other. The other
tenant has just as much right to open his door but doing so in no way
impacts any one else - unless there is music, arguing, odors, etc.
involved. In that case, see the first sentence in this paragraph.
So the discussion point is: Why do the rights of someone whose actions
impact others hold equal weight with the rights of someone whose actions
impact no one else? In fact, one could discuss - not argue ;-) - that the
rights of the person whose actions impact others hold considerably more
weight since they may in fact prohibit the other person from exercising
their rights in an unencumbered manner.
Welllllllllllll, so the "virginal" lungs of the offended neighbor are
not polluted by.....car exhaust? burning trash? running lawn mowers? bbq
They can live in close community or they can move to 20 acres in the
country. Oops! 20 acres in the country might have blown dust from crop
cultivation, odors from livestock, noise from the highway or the county
fair. Mebbe Mt. Everest would work out better?
It might sound harsh, but it's not your problem. Best to let your
tenants and their neighbors handle it. If it impacts you financially,
like if a tenant leaves or if you lose a sale to a prospective buyer
because of the smoke, then you can do something. Get a written
statement from them and start sending the owner of the property next
door a monthly bill for loss of rental income.
When you sell, you are only obligated to give info about your property -
not a report on the habits of the neighbors.
Not true. Well it varies by state. But in most states you are required
to disclose the presence of any neighborhood nuisances that you're aware of.
I.e. when my mother and stepfather sold one house they were obligated to
inform the buyers that the adjacent shopping center (over a tall
concrete wall) did not abide by the city's noise ordinance and that
delivery trucks made very early deliveries to the supermarket. It didn't
matter that it was the city's fault for not enforcing its own ordinances
(despite repeated requests); the owner was aware of a problem with the
property and had to disclose the problem.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.