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[icon] Where there's smoke - Patti
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Subject:Where there's smoke
Time:02:16 pm
The building I live in, which is effectively a condo, has an interesting issue right now.

Several of the residents have complained that the hallway on the third floor smells of cigarette smoke. In my experience, there's a moderately strong smell of smoke in the hallway, but it doesn't permeate into my unit. I've not heard of anyone complaining that they smell smoke in their unit, only in the hallway.

The source of the smoke has been traced to one specific unit on the floor, which is occupied by a renter. It seems that he's a chain smoker and a militant smokers' rights advocate. There is nothing in his lease which prohibits smoking, nor is there anything in the HOA bylaws that does so. I'm sure there are provisions for maintaining the cleanliness of common spaces, though I haven't read them since I moved in.

If you were on the board of directors, what strategy would you adopt?
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ronsrants
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:20 pm (UTC)
Um...the do nothing strategy?

He hasn't broken any laws. You can socially shun him, but thats about all I see as being reasonable. Mind you, I intensely dislike smoke, but your talking about a 5 sec exposure as you walk by his door. Nothing to be actionable about in my book.

-R
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:21 pm (UTC)
Plus a negative impression for visitors and a potential impact to property value.
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greeklady
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:32 pm (UTC)
It makes me wonder if the owner of that unit is aware of the smoking. When I used to smoke, I always smoked out doors. When renting that was a condition too. I was never allowed to smoke indoors. I guess be thankful you wont have to wash the walls when they leave.

The common area such as elevators or hallways, I am shocked there are no smoking signs or something.

I would love to hear the resolution of this if there is one.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:35 pm (UTC)
Ah, I was imprecise. He's not smoking in the hallway. It's just that the smoke from his unit is permeating the hallway.

The owner knows, which is how we know there's nothing about it in his lease.
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jcdill
Subject:lease term?
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-27 07:10 am (UTC)
When is the lease up?

Is the unit owner happy with the tenant, or is the unit owner unhappy and eager to get a non-smoking tenant in the unit?

Are their any rent control or HOA rules about ending a lease, or can the unit owner / landlord simply refuse to renew the lease when it ends, and find another tenant?
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silveredboy
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:41 pm (UTC)
The general cleanliness aspect of his home, seems to be a logical starting point. If he was raising a lot of rats or cats or any animal, and the smell started getting out into the hall, it seems there would be cause to ask him to cease and desist or at least, to take measures to keep the smells inside his house. He has the right to smoke. But not to pollute the air for everybody else. It's his responsibility to contain his smoke or filter it so it doesn't make other people miserable, reduce their property values, etc.
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:44 pm (UTC)
I would lean towards the do nothing column. If I was going to do something, I would talk to the unit's owner about at a minimum changing the lease terms when it is next due.
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ts4z
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 09:45 pm (UTC)
I think you have three choices: do nothing; mediate; or change the HOA rules.

There's almost certainly a clause in his lease that says he has to obey the HOA rules, or pay fines. I know there's one in mine. The HOA is entitled to change its rules. It might come down to the HOA putting in a $X/day fine, and if the owner's lease is bad, maybe he has to eat it. Perhaps that's not the HOA's problem.

As far as mediation, someone (either the owner or HOA) could try and improve the ventilation.

If it was on my floor, and not bothering me, I'd do nothing. If it bothered me, I'd see what an HOA bylaws change took to do.
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wild_irises
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-27 12:01 am (UTC)
Wrong. There's an excellent fourth choice; spend the money on an air filter for the hallway. They're efficient, they're not hugely expensive, and they're the technological fix for balancing smokers' rights and other breathers' rights.
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andrewhime
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 10:00 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Do nothing.

I know that won't happen, but I remain hopeful.
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bittercrackbaby
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 10:27 pm (UTC)
If there are CC&R's that mandate that neighbors don't disturb each other that may be something to go on. However what if it's just a southeast asian renter that cooks with fish sauce?
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(Deleted comment)

rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 11:19 pm (UTC)
well, given that he's engaging in legal behavior that is not prohibited by contract, i'd suggest seeing if the condo association is interested in buying air filters or some other smell mitigation gear. i mean, if it was stinky microwaved fish (the bane of many an office kitchen) on a regular basis or something, it'd be the same sort of problem.

also, is the hallway cleaned by staff? if so, see if there are any cleaning things that can help mitigate the smell. (carpet? maybe a carpet deodorizer. for instance)
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 11:21 pm (UTC)
Concrete floor and ceiling-- it's an old warehouse. There are cleaners through once a week.
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grey_evil_twin
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-26 11:38 pm (UTC)
Do nothing. If you run into him, maybe ask him to open more windows in his flat, but it could only be a non official request.
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(Deleted comment)

jcdill
Subject:bofh?
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-08-27 07:07 am (UTC)
ronebofh wrote:

I would add some sort of anti-odor strategy for the hallway.

What sort of bofh answer is THAT?

Or maybe line his door with urinal cakes.

OK, that's better.
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[icon] Where there's smoke - Patti
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