What can I do if I live in an apartment and a neighbor smokes outside my balcony which causes me to have difficulty breathing due to my asthma?

The smoke comes inside my apartment and into my bedroom. The whole point of my opening my sliding door is to get fresh air, not to get second hand smoke and then have trouble breathing all night. I kindly asked them to stop smoking there and told them I have asthma and they didn’t say anything back, they just stared at me and continued to do it anyways. Is there anything I can do legally to get them to smoke anywhere besides outside the “walkway” that leads to my patio?

Asked on November 11, 2014 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am assuming that this is another tenant, correct?  There is a winning trend in California for those with this issue to bring suit against their landlords and neighbors, and win.  First start with your landlord.  File complaints.  You are being denied the use and enjoyment of your property under the lease (it is there and implied under the law, even if you do not have a written lease) and they have to make an effort to stop it. In California second hand smoke is considered a toxic contaminant so start the letter writing.  Good luck.

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