Is there anything I can possible do if my apartment management can’t help stop the smoke from cigarettes that seeps into our apartment?

The building is supposed to be a smoke-free building. I spoke to management the first week my spouse and I moved into the apartment 5 months ago but they said there’s nothing they can do about it because smoking is not illegal; I would have to seek out the neighbors and tell them to myself to not smoke in the building. I barely see my neighbors as we all have different schedules, so I’ve never been able to talk to them. Also, when our balcony doors are open, smoke always enters the apartment making us have to close the balcony door-it’s becoming very frustrating not being able to enjoy my home.

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the leases or house rules (which are adopted or made effectively part of the leases) state that the building is a smoke free building, then the landlord *can* take action--it can enforce those lease terms or rules against any tenants who smoke, including by, if necessary, eviction.

Also, if your lease states that the building is a smoke free building and the landlord does not take action to provide that, especially after notice by you of smoking in the building, you would have grounds to do one or more of the following: 1) sue for monetary compensation, for the landlord's breach of the lease; 2) seek a court order directing the landlord to take action to enforce smoke free rules; or 3) terminate the lease without penalty and move out.

Even if your lease does not contain any smoke free terms or rules, if the landlord represented (or promised) to you, before you signed the lease, that the building was smoke free  and did so in order to induce you to sign the lease, you may have an action based in fraud against the landlord for the fact that this representation was a lie. Such an action could again give you the right to monetary compensation and/or to move out early.

From what you write, there is a good chance you have enforceable rights; you should meet with a landlord-tenant attorney to discuss your options.


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