Can a landlord force tenants to smoke at the far end of the property instead of on the tenant’s own outdoor patio?

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Can a landlord force tenants to smoke at the far end of the property instead of on the tenant’s own outdoor patio?

Landlord recently decided to change smoking policies regarding where outside we are allowed to smoke. When we moved in 3 years ago, we were told we could smoke on our patio. Constant rule changes are creating a stressful home environment. I’d like to know my legal rights pertaining to outdoor smoking and the lack of it being mentioned in my lease.

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You say that the rules or policies changed; therefore, the issue is, *can* the landlord make this change? For example, if the lease specifies that the tenants are bound by the house rule and that the landlord may change them more or less at will, it would seem that the landlord could clearly do this. Or if the landlord proposed new rules at the end of one lease term and you agreed to them by signing the lease, that would obligate you to them. Or  if it's a monto to month lease, the landlord can change the rules on 30 days notice, and your recourse, if you don't like them, is to move. The law does not guaranty any rights re: smoking; the issue is what you and the landlord have agreed to, and when and how the landlord may change the rules.


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