What can be done when a neighbor’s cigarette smoke enters your vents and you’re an asthmatic,but the landlord won’t help?

I live in an apartment complex and have had serious heath concerns arise due to a building issue that is not being addressed. My upstairs neighbor is a heavy smoker and second hand smoke enters my vents every time she lights up. I am a severe asthmatic and have been victim of asthma attacks in my apartment due to the second hand smoke. I know every time she lights up. I have been asking management to address the issue for almost 4 months and they have ignored my concerns. I now have a 1 month old who is also falling victim to this unclean air issue in our home.

Asked on January 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Many states have enacted laws that deal with second hand smoke coming from another tenant's apartment and the landlord's obligation to rectify the situation.  It all falls under a warranty of habitability and your right to enjoy your apartment.  The court's have to weigh your right against your neighbor's right and that is not always an easy thing to do.  I would consult with an attorney in your area on the matter and consider bringing an action in landlord tenant court to have your landlord or the management company at least try and fix the problem here.  What you will request is to pay your rent in to court for the time that the problem continues to exist.  Not paying them rent gets their attention quickly and court orders directing the repair of the problem - if it can be repaired - also work well.  If they can not fix the problem to the satisfaction of the court then you may be able to get out of your lease.  Good luck to you.


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